The Jam broke through in a big way in 1977 starting the year playing
pubs and clubs, including Leighton Buzzard's Hunt Hotel twice. Within a
few months, they were headlining at Hammersmith Odeon and at Friars
Aylesbury where they remained the only band to play a matinee show. As
the band got bigger and bigger, they kept loyal to Friars playing
further gigs in 1978 and in 1979. By the spring of 1980, The Jam
achieved, in Going Underground, the first single to go straight to the
top of the charts since Slade in 1973.
Much to everyone's
surprise and pleasure, The Jam, influenced by the annual Friars
Aylesbury poll results, came back one more time in 1980 and took the place
apart. This was very much a band of the people and the Aylesbury people
took them too their hearts. After the Jam split in 1982, Paul Weller's
Respond record label's package tour came to Friars in 1983 maintaining
the Jam link with Friars.
were a true people's band and were always welcome at Friars.
They remained the only band to ever play a matinee performance
(in November 1977). They never forgot Friars and played
here when the venue had outgrown them culminating in the
'secret' 1980 gig when they were huge. It was no surprise how
well they performed in the annual Friars members polls and this
had a direct influence on them playing Friars when they were in
the arena league.
A lot of people went there
(to Friars), it was a good venue. It was like Guildford Civic which was
an important venue for local people. Woking is about seven miles away
but Guildford Civic attracted a lot of musical interest because it had a
great reputation...much the same as Friars.
We knew it was a proper music venue.....We
were very reluctant to give up those sorts of venues [like Friars] and
we did secret gigs and went back to The Marquee and the smaller venues
because they were so much fun to play. We didn't want to detach
ourselves from the audiences too much [in a bigger venue] so it was good
to go back and do some of those places.
Rick Buckler accepting the Friars Heroes Award on behalf of The Jam,
Guildford, February 2009
Picture: Mike O'Connor
The Jam's history at Friars