JAM JAR 72*

There’s a really good piece over on The Quietus today about JJ72‘s first album, as well as an interview with frontman Mark Greaney that’s worth reading.

I can’t believe that this album is ten years old. It’s one of the first times in my life that I’ve felt like I’m getting old. I absolutely adored JJ72 when it was released.  I Tipp-Exed their name on my schoolbag, bought the t-shirts and even (only half-jokingly) referred to a classmate whose brother was friends with the drummer as ‘Fergal’s friend’s sister’. I remember queuing up outside the Olympia in the freezing snow a few days before my 17th birthday and seeing them for the first time, and again, when they supported the Manics in Smithfield later that summer. They were a band that I was religiously devoted to, in the way that only a teenager who wants to avoid their homework and spend hours copying lyrics onto their A4 refill pads can be.

Nowadays it’s cool to dismiss them as also-rans or never-weres. But that first album remains one of my favourite Irish records ever. ‘Oxygen’, ‘Long Way South’ and ‘October Swimmer’ are just great songs. I’m going to listen to it tonight, and remember what it was like to fall in love with a band when you’re 16.

EDIT: This is extremely sad, but I also just remembered that I wrote a letter – yes, a letter – to Lakota, their label at the time, to ask them to send me something signed. Did I get a reply? Did I ‘eck. Lakota, you owe me!

*Back in the day,  I was told on good authority (the friend of a friend of a friend who was friends with Mark’s sister’s friend) that the JJ stood for ‘Jam Jar’ as there were 72 jam jars lining the walls of the art room they used to practice in at school. Somehow I doubt it, but I suppose it’s as likely as any other explanation…

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6 responses to this post.

  1. I remember I was a bit of an obsessive back in the day. I went to see them in London, Manchester and Limerick as well as Dublin. I got all the album and singles and paid far too much for the original October Swimmer single, which I still have. I remember seeing them for the first time at the first Witnness and the last time at The Village when they were supposedly on the cusp of releasing their third album.

    Reply

    • Posted by Lauren on September 28, 2010 at 4:52 pm

      I remember that Village gig JJ, although I didn’t go to it for some reason. As far as I recall, they were giving away 7″ singles of ‘She’s Gone/Coming Home’ to everyone that attended, weren’t they? Gutted to have missed it, I would have gone if I’d bloody known it was their last one.

      Reply

  2. Hope you don’t think I’m dismissing them! I appreciate a lot of people like/d them, they weren’t my cup of tae at the time. That Quietus piece is really good though. Made me almost wish I *did* like them, just to have a great nostalgic swoon, a bit like you’ve done!

    Reply

    • Posted by Lauren on September 28, 2010 at 5:20 pm

      Not at all, Nay! It’s funny, I haven’t thought of that band in a long time, and one article brings back a lot of nice memories.

      Reply

  3. Posted by RH on October 7, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    I was at those gigs too – terrifying how long ago it was. I think we found out on our way to the JJ Olympia gig that they’d been announced as support for the Manics in Smithfield (the following May iirc?), it was a great night, enjoying it while knowing more was just around the corner.

    Reply

    • Posted by Lauren on October 7, 2010 at 4:56 pm

      Hi Rob – I must dig out my ticket stub for that Manics gig. I’m almost sure it was 2001 as they were touring Know Your Enemy at the time, I think. And that JJ gig was definitely February 2001. Really good gig, I remember Mark Greaney smashed his guitar at the end and threw it into the crowd. Impressive rock ‘n’ roll behaviour to a 16 year old ;-)

      Reply

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