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Rick Buckler at the launch of his autobiography. Photograph: Wokingmatters

I last encountered Rick Buckler almost three years ago when he unveiled an abstract sculpture  – three carved pieces of wood – honouring the Jam  in a Town Called Malice, aka Woking. Around 100 Jam fans turned up to witness the event, coming from far and wide. Now the former Jam drummer’s autobiography, That’s Entertainment: My Life in The Jam, has quickly shot up the Amazon bestseller charts, and yesterday, before his official book launch in London in the evening, Buckler had appeared on BBC Breakfast in the course of around 60 interviews in recent days. There is clearly still a hunger out there for inside info about one of the great British bands.

Buckler tackles the nub of the matter right at the start of the book: why did the Jam split up at the height of their success and fame in 1982? It left him feeling “unemployed. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I had no plans in place.” But if he feels any bitterness about it, he doesn’t let it show in the book, which is nevertheless an essential addition to Jam literature, and of interest to Woking residents, too.

Rick Buckler book coverAs he says, “the Woking connection is something that seems to continue to intrigue Jam fans”.  He points out that a few years ago Jam tours were organised around the town to tie with a book launch and the Wake Up Woking charity, taking in Woking Working Men’s Club, where the band played some of its early gigs, Sheerwater school – now Bishop David Brown – where early musical friendships were forged, and Stanley Road, where Paul Weller’s home once stood. However, these days, he says, Woking is “almost unrecognisable”. Sheerwater’s Birch and Pines pub is still there, though. For now, anyway. For Buckler, jobs before the Jam after leaving school included Herbert Machine Tools in Boundary Road, and a big Woking employer, the James Walker works. He also recounts how the band was due to play a gig in Guildford on the night of the IRA pub bombings, and a gig at Coldingley prison in Bisley which resulted in their pictures appearing in the Woking News and Mail.

Most of the book is taken up with the rise of the Jam, including that moment when ‘Going Underground’ went straight in at no 1, an achievement reminiscent of the Beatles.  Just like the Fab Four, the Jam broke up at the height of their fame. Will the three of them ever perform together again? Buckler and bassist Bruce Foxton did so to great success in From The Jam, for several years. Nowadays Rick Buckler manages a band called The Brompton Mix, but at the end of his book he talks about the possibilities of a Jam reunion. “The fans would love to see the Jam reform and there have been occasions over the years when approaches from promoters and agents have been made … but what I think generally happens is that the first person they approach is Paul and then Paul says ‘No’ and it doesn’t go any further. As far as Bruce and I are concerned, there is no doubt that we would do it. The person they need to persuade is Paul and no one has been able to do that.”

Buckler, who still lives close to Woking, says he understands Paul Weller’s position, in that he still has his own musical career, so why would he want or need to reform the Jam, even though he does now include Jam songs in his performances. And three blokes of a certain age trying to recapture the fire and fury of a young band in its heyday? It may still happen one day, it may not. The brilliance – and the beat – of songs like ‘Down in the Tube Station at Midnight’, ‘Going Underground’, ‘That’s Entertainment’, and ‘Town Called Malice’, however, lives on.

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