The popular summer retro festival Jack Up The ’80s is expanding to include a new event for the first time over Easter.
On Good Friday From The Jam, led by original Jam bassist Bruce Foxton are supported by Three Minute Heroes are at Medina Leisure Centre.
And then the following night it’s the turn of Big Country, with support from Kevin 17.
The Scottish rockers, famous for their anthems In A Big Country, Fields of Fire, Look Away and many more have become a popular live draw.
The band had seemingly split after the tragic death of talismanic frontman Stuart Adamson in 2001. However, they reformed to mark their 25th anniversary in 2007, and have been a going concern again since 2010.
Co-founder and guitarist Bruce Watson has played on the island many times over the course of his career – including at the Isle of Wight Festival with both Big Country and The Skids, who he is also a member of these days.
‘We’re out on the road all the time - I’m on the road more than I’m at home,’ he tells The Guide.
‘On this tour we’re still celebrating the 35th anniversary of the first album, The Crossing, so we’re doing that, some of the hits and a few of the album tracks.’
Since 2010, Bruce’s son Jamie has also been in the band on guitar, and in 2013 they released an album, The Journey, with long-standing friend Mike Peters on vocals. Mike has since devoted his time to his original band The Alarm and Simon Hough has taken the vocal reins.
So is a new album on the horizon?
‘Basically I’ve been co-writing and producing albums for The Skids and Jamie and I have been writing our own songs as well.
‘The rest of the guys, when we’re not doing Big Country, they’ve got their own things, so we’re all busy, there’s just been no room in the diary to do anything. But you never know, hopefully in the future...’
What’s it like having Jamie in the band?
‘He’s grown up with the music of Big Country and The Skids, he’s always known it, and he’s played it practically since he was born. He knew the stuff, and he does a great job.
‘He looks after me and he gets me up in the morning,’ Bruce jokes.
The Journey was the first, and so far only album, without Stuart.
‘He’ll always be there in our hearts anyway,’ says Bruce of his old friend.
‘And Tony (Butler, co-founder and bassist) isn’t in the band anymore – he’s retired, so we’ve got new guys in the band, but it’s the songs that are the stars, not the band.
‘As long as we do the songs justice, that’s the main thing.’
‘I think with anything new people are a bit wary, they’re used to the recordings of the songs from way back in the day, like “I’m not sure about this,” but if they come along and enjoy themselves, that’s great, if not, that’s fine as well.
‘But we’re getting good audiences and the banter between us and the audience is always good – it’s going well.’
JACK UP THE WEEKEND
Newport, Isle of Wight