We dive into the vaults of Far Out to look back for a moment between two punk icons, Paul Weller and Joan Jett.
It’s fair to say that the seventies were a pretty divided musical era. It was a decade where two genres would stretch the musical spectrum to the breaking point, as the era of brilliant disco was soon secured by punk.
This meant that while half the country might have brought their flares and platforms to the dance floor, in 1977 the other half would rip their skinny jeans with a razor blade. A confusing concept for those not in the know and apparently Tom Snyder needed expert help to decipher it. Enter the new faces of Joan Jett and Paul Weller.
In addition to the now iconic faces of The Jam and The Runaways, Snyder – much like his style of personal, hard-hitting questions and reflections – also invited live music promoter Bill Graham, rock critic Robert Gilberth and producer. / director Kim Fowley.
The scene was very interesting as the trio of mature men Graham, Gilberth and Snyder watched Fowley with a heavy dose of cynicism as the producer tried to explain the prominence of punk and the ethos that permeated the ‘new vague ”. While he spoke of the energy of possessed punk bands as a liberating aspect of their art, he also noted that people were tired of artificial and complex expressions. They wanted immediacy.
It was clearly something that had not resonated with Snyder. While the New York punk scene has arguably been boiling since 1975, the prominence of punk in 1978 across the world meant that the host of Tomorrow with Tom Snyder was already discussing “new wave”.
Joan Jett had been with the Runaways since 1975 and had made a name for herself on both sides of the pond as a formidable singer. While Paul Weller was the outspoken frontman of The Jam which had just found critical success with their debut album In the city Last year. It was this outspokenness that saw Weller pulled from The Jam’s first U.S. tour to appear as the show’s panelist.
After the introductions (and later some ‘four!’ Fixes), Tom Snyder turns to The Jam singer and asks, “He’d rather be known as a ‘new wave’ artist because ‘punk rock is a label. invented and exploited by the music press. Is it true, did we make it up? Weller is unwilling to blame Snyder himself, but suggests the term has been abused and needs to be considered.
“Punk rock is a big flashy sign that sells raw materials while the ‘new wave’ is an attitude.” He then goes on to detail his vision of the “new wave” attitude, suggesting that it represents disenfranchised youth who have spent too much time without being recognized. He goes on to examine the issues facing working class children in his environment and says that the main purpose of The Jam’s music is an expression of “truth” and “oneness.”
Snyder then turns to the dynamic Joan Jett and asks if the American “new wave” was the same as the British new wave. Jett admits that American bands were copying English bands but quickly points out that The Runaways was a band long before she first came to London in 1976.
Snyder asks, “Do you object to being called a ‘punk rocker’?” Jett replies, “That’s really a media term.” She concludes that the Runaways are also just a product of her environment.
As our interviewer returns with confusion of what the future might contain permeating every pore of his face, the host tries to capture the fragility of youth with their mortality as superstars. He told Weller, “The day will come when you will be enormously successful… But won’t you be part of the establishment?” Will there be someone on your heels?
The future Modfather showed his full potential Don with his response as he rightly replies, “I hope so. There has to be something else to take your place or things just get stale, which has happened over the past seven years.
He continued, “Ten years from now, or whatever, an eighteen year old kid is going to pick up a guitar and say, I don’t like The Jam. This is the establishment. And do his own thing. It is the evolution of music. ”
You can watch the full show below as Tomorrow with Tom Snyder invites Joan Jett and Paul Weller to help him define the “new wave” in 1978. The two stars enter the show around 24 minutes.