Joe Jackson

Joe Jackson

"I think that even the most rootless traveler sometimes has to put his foot down somewhere familiar," says Joe Jackson. "You can't only go forward. Sometimes it's healthy to look back."Quite a statement for an artist who's not known for repeating himself. So it's all the more impressive that Jackson has chosen to renew an old collaboration on his new album. The 11-song collection reunites Jackson with the scrappy band that accompanied him on the trilogy of LP's - Look Sharp, I'm The Man, and Beat Crazy - that first established him as a major artist in 1979/80.Volume 4 - whose release coincides with the 25th anniversary of the recording of Jackson's landmark debut Look Sharp - is a stunning comeback for one of the classic bands of the post-punk era: Jackson (vocals and keyboards), Gary Sanford (guitar), Graham Maby (bass), and Dave Houghton (drums). Produced by Jackson, the album strongly echoes the band's early work, without straining to imitate it. The all-new compositions merge the early albums' raw rock'n'roll energy and barbed lyrical wit with the emotional depth and musical sophistication of Joe's later work.Volume 4 is a bracing blend of sonic adrenaline, lyrical insight and sterling song craft. As on the early albums, the Joe Jackson Band put their distinctive stamp on an assortment of styles, from the jangling melodic pop of "Still Alive" to the jazzy, hyperactive "Fairy Dust" and the greasy funk of "Dirty Martini". Tunes such as "Awkward Age", the retro glam-rock anthem "Little Bit Stupid" and the ska-pop excursion "Thugz R Us" are among the catchiest Jackson's written, reveling in the spiky humor which has always been a key element in his songwriting. "Take It Like a Man" and "Bright Grey" show that the band can rock at least as hard as they ever did, while three more introspective songs ("Chrome," "Blue Flame," and "Love at First Light") show a sensitivity and maturity only hinted at in 1979.Jackson seems as surprised as anyone that the reunion has occurred at all, let alone yielded such stellar results. "I never thought this would happen," says Jackson, who is based in New York but keeps a house in his hometown of Portsmouth, England. "But at some point it struck me that 2003 would be our 25th anniversary - which was quite a staggering thought! I started to wonder if some kind of reunion might be fun, and the more I thought about it, the more appealing it seemed. At that point, I had about six finished songs, and I realised they'd all work well with that band, so I started getting excited about the idea of a new album. Next I sat down with each of the band members to see how they felt about it, and they were so enthusiastic that at that point it seemed silly not to do it!"Former classical prodigy Jackson was already a young musical veteran (with a resume that included the Royal Academy of Music, the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, musical directorship of a Playboy Club, and a proto-punk band called Arms and Legs) when Look Sharp was released into the charged post-punk atmosphere of January 1979. The album's hard-hitting, melodically concise tunes and passionately articulate lyrics struck a responsive chord on both sides of the Atlantic. The Jackson/Sanford/Maby/Houghton lineup was remarkably productive, refining its approach on I'm The Man and stretching into new sonic territory with Beat Crazy. When they weren't in the studio, the band toured almost continuously."We were together for a much shorter time than I realised," Jackson notes. "We got together in the summer of '78, recorded Look Sharp in August, and just kept going through to the end of 1980. We toured very hard, but then again, we were very young and it was an adventure. This was all heady stuff, because so much of it was new - traveling internationally, playing bigger places, being on TV. It's kind of like you've gone through a war; you'll always have that bond because of what you've experienced together."Despite their success, Jackson chose to put the band to rest and move on to new musical challenges: the ahead-of-its-time swing project Jumpin' Jive (1981), the sophisticated urban pop of Night and Day (1982) and Body and Soul (1984), the stripped-down, live-to-two-track Big World (1986), the majestic, semi-autobiographical Blaze of Glory (1989), the more mainstream but still idiosyncratic Laughter and Lust (1991), the gentle, soul-searching Night Music (1994), the innovative song-cycle based on the Seven Deadly Sins, Heaven and Hell (1997), and the album Joe considers his best, Night and Day II (2000). There have been two live albums (Live 1980-86 in 1987 and Summer in the City - Live in New York in 2001) and Jackson has also distinguished himself with scores for several films, including Francis Ford Coppola's Tucker and James Bridges' Mike's Murder, and two albums of instrumental music, Will Power (1987) and the non-traditional, non-orchestral Symphony No. 1, which won the 2001 Grammy award for Best Pop Instrumental Album. In 1999, Jackson published a well-received book, A Cure For Gravity, which he describes as "a book about music thinly disguised as a memoir."After Jackson reassembled his former cohorts in the UK, it didn't take long for the musicians to tap into their old chemistry. "We did seven small warm-up gigs in England, just to sort of get our juices flowing," Jackson explains. "By the third or fourth, we were just flying. These guys blew me away, they played so great."That chemistry continued to produce sparks when the quartet began recording Volume 4 at Ridge Farm in Surrey, England. "The recording process was fast, fun, and easy, which isn't always the case," says Jackson. "We recorded in ten days, about the same time as Look Sharp. We did it completely without computers - no ProTools, no sequencers, none of that stuff. Just live to 24-track analog tape. I overdubbed some of the piano parts, but most of the songs are 2nd or 3rd takes.""I've been intrigued by the idea of nostalgia lately, and there's a nostalgic element to this project, even to some of the songs," Jackson says. "That's something that surprised me, because I'm not a very nostalgic person. But now my feeling is that it's a healthy thing as long as you know what you're doing and don't get trapped in it - sort of like a recreational drug. I could never have done this ten or fifteen years ago, because then I was more concerned with moving on. But now I'm at a point where I'm comfortable with what I've done and with where I am now, and this just feels right".There's nothing nostalgic about the artist's enthusiasm for Volume 4. I've got to say I love this album, and it feels very special to me. It's always special when something you never thought would happen happens, and then turns out even better than you imagined; I mean, how often does that happen?! It's not quite like picking up where we left off, but it doesn't feel like twenty years have gone by, either. It almost feels like we took three or four years off and then came back to make the killer fourth album. I think this is the best thing we've done."Jackson is equally excited about the prospect of hitting the road with his old compatriots. "We're gonna do quite a big tour, and hopefully go to some places that we never got to the first time around, like Australia and Japan. I think we're all really enthused about going on the road, and it's very sweet to have this opportunity again."Source:
It's all about the money.More Joe Jackson quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]
I'm never going to let nobody take those kids. They Michael's kids. They have no right to try to take those kids. It's going to be a big mess over that.More Joe Jackson quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]

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