So last week, I spent an unhealthy amount of time talking about how The Smiths played an important role in my my early adolescent identity and how that indirectly led me to the Mod thing. I figure I should probably follow that up with how I discovered the band that would replace The Smiths at that stage in my life.
In the 8th grade, after I was put on the correct path towards Modtopia (a story for a future blog post), what little I knew about Mods was all I talked about to anyone who would listen. (And as you can tell, things haven't changed since.) I felt like I had discovered something that NO ONE else in the world knew about... well, at least no one at Giano Intermediate School.
So imagine my surprise when, after blathering on and on about how Mods wore army jackets before punks to this kid in home room, he responded that his older brother was a Mod! At first, I thought that this guy was completely lost on what I was talking about. How could his older brother be a Mod? They were extinct as far as I knew. Then, he went on to tell me that his older brother was even fan of a band called The Jam. THE JAM?? Now I knew this kid was mixed up!
Now, let's journey back to the late '80s when this conversation took place. Ahh... the late '80s, a time when guys wanted the Richard Marx hairstyle, 'bad' still meant 'good', and this song was a hit:
In addition to this song, the term 'jam' could also be used in the following contexts: "Hey man, I wanna mack on those girls. Let's jam!" and "Have you heard the new Pebbles song, Mercedes Boy? That jam is bad!" Also, Lisa Lisa and the Cult JAM were HUGE. So, this kid talking about his alleged Mod older brother who liked a band called The Jam just didn't sit right with me.
The following week, this same kid showed up in his older brother's red sweatshirt with the following logo in puffy white lettering:
The next time I came across The Jam was almost a year later, when I was a freshman in high school. I was record shopping at Aron's Records on Melrose, when I came across The Jam's This is the Modern World LP.
So, I bought it, along with my first Specials LP and first Madness LP (but I'll save those for a future ska post) and brought it to my grandmother's where I was staying. Early in the 9th grade, I still associated Mod music with a more punky/new wave sound, so when I heard those first chords and Paul Weller shouting, "THIS IS THE MAW-UN WOOLD," I was sold!