By Damian Fanelli
So I was watching High Fidelity last night, and when Dick (the bald guy who works at John Cusack's record store) mentioned the trailblazing Irish punk band Stiff Little Fingers in a scene, I decided to hit the interwebs and see what ol' Bruce Foxton is up to these days.
Foxton, of course, was one third of The Jam before becoming Stiff Little Fingers' bassist for 15 years.
It turns out Foxton released his second solo album, and first since 1984, earlier this month via Universal. What's even more interesting is that the album, Back in the Room, was recorded at Paul Weller's Black Barn studio, and Weller, Foxton's former Jam bandmate, appears on three tracks.
My fellow Jam fans know this is a big deal. It means Weller and Foxton's renewed friendship is in full swing.
After The Jam split up in 1982, Weller and Foxton went decades without speaking, eventually bumping into each other backstage at a Who show in 2006. They chatted, hugged and decided to keep in touch, eventually growing considerably closer in 2009, when Foxton's wife and Weller's father died just months apart.
In 2010, Foxton's bass and backing vocals turned up on two tracks ("Fast Car/Slow Traffic" and "She Speaks") on Weller's Wake Up the Nation album, marking the first time the pair recorded together since The Jam's finale, 1982's The Gift. "It was really interesting to hear Bruce playing on it," Weller said on his website. "You can instantly tell it's him." (Weller is right, BTW — and it's great to hear.)
Weller and Foxton performed together a few times in 2010, hitting unsuspecting Weller fans with The Jam's "The Eton Rifles" at the Albert Hall and at a benefit show in the band's hometown of Woking, a London suburb.
And now there's Foxton's new album, on which Weller plays guitar, piano, recorder and glockenspiel. "It was great working with him," Foxton told Mojo. "He just experimented, and came up with some really nice parts, as he always does."
The album, which sounds a bit like Setting Sons- or Sound Affects-era Jam, was partly financed via PledgeMusic, a crowdfunding website.
Anyway, keep the album on your radar! It sure as hell went under mine until last night. It's available on iTunes, Amazon, etc. To keep up with Foxton, visit brucefoxton.com.