SUIT YOURSELF INTERVIEWS AUTHOR IAN STONE - TO BE SOMEONE.
To be someone by Ian Stone is a book about the authors five year obsession with the band The Jam when they were at their peak. We catch up with him whist he's doing the rounds promoting to talk about his life, growing up in the turbulent times of the early 80's and his love for the modernist legends.
Hi Ian can you tell us a little about yourself, where you come from and your early musical influences.
My name is Ian Stone. I was bought up in a Jewish family in Harlesden and then latterly West Hendon in North West London. The earliest music I remember listening to was my Grandmothers record of Fiddler on the Roof when i was about 4 years old. Most of the music in my house were light classics that my dad used to listen to. He was a big fan of Mario Lanza the Italian tenor. As I got older, I started listening to soul music and I also liked Glam rock. And then I heard the Sex Pistols and everything changed .
Can you tell us about the first time you experienced the Jam’s music and how it impacted your life
I used to listen to John Peel’s show on Radio 1. He played In The City and I felt like I’d been smacked in the head. I was fourteen years old and I was hooked.
This soon became a 5 year obsession with the band, without going into too much detail can you give us a insight into this period of your life
My home life was a bit messy. My parents were going through an acrimonious divorce so I either went out and followed Arsenal round the country or I stayed in my room and listened to The Jam. I hoovered up everything they ever released. After eighteen months of persistent teenage moping and moaning, my Mother gave in and let me go and see the band.
Did you ever get to meet the band?
After gigs, if you managed to avoid the security guys and hung about for long enough, the band would often come out and sign autographs and pose for pictures. I met them a few times this way but I wouldn’t say they were meaningful conversations. They were more ‘great gig Paul’, ‘thanks’ type exchanges. It was still thrilling though.
Could you tell us about a particular favourite moment
Definitely the first time i saw them at the Music Machine in December 1978. I’ve never been more excited for any event in my life and it didn’t disappoint. Being ten feet from the stage when the boys came out and launched into It’s Too Bad was the most exciting moment of my life.
Obviously the band were mods, did you become part of the scene yourself?
My two mates went to the Carnaby Cavern on Carnaby St and bought three button suits and Jam shoes. I couldn’t afford that but I cobbled together a look of sorts. I was never totally committed to the mod style, I was more into the music than anything else. But I do like my clothes to look good.
Can you remember what it was like living in the UK during this period.
Shit. Just unrelenting shit. The mood in the country was violent, grey and angry. It was a bad time. I think we sort of hated ourselves as a country. Any country that elects Margaret Thatcher can’t think much of itself can it.
What prompted you to write the book?
It was my missus. She casually suggested that I write a book about The Jam and that period. I didn’t need much persuading. I’d been to the Somerset House exhibition the year before and the memories had come flooding back and I thought ‘why not’
Writing about such an iconic band must have stirred quite a few feelings of youth, especially the music, do you have a favourite track/ album?
It was great listening to the music again. Weller was an unbelievably good songwriter and the songs still stand up today. It’s almost impossible to choose a favourite track but if i had to, it would be a toss up between Modern World and Tube Station. The opening line of this is The Modern World blew my mind. ‘What Kind of Fool do you think I am?’ is so brilliant. I love how he’s up for a row. As for Tube station, I love the imagery of it and how it’s about London. All Mod Cons was and remains my favourite album
And a favourite gig....
One of the ones at The Brighton Centre. The whole trip down to Brighton was fantastic and the gig was everything I hoped it would be.
Where can our readers buy the book and or find out more information?
It’s proved quite popular since it came out last week. Right now the only place it’s available is Amazon but the other major booksellers should have it in the next few days.
Lastly, ultimately the book is a snapshot of your history with one of the biggest bands in the UK, if you could step back in that time and come back with one piece of memorabilia from it what would it be?
Paul used to wear a really nice black leather jacket at some gigs. I’d love to have that.
Ian's book can be bought in hardback or a Kindle version from HERE