Joe Jackson Reunites “Sharp” Band - Rolling Stone
Home Music Music News

Joe Jackson Reunites “Sharp” Band

Group to reconvene after twenty years for new album, tour

Although he vowed it would never happen, Joe Jackson is reuniting
his original rock band for a new studio recording and twenty-fifth
anniversary tour next spring. The band — Jackson (piano, vocals),
Graham Maby (bass), Gary Sanford (guitar) and Dave Houghton (drums)
— created Jackson’s classic late-Seventies albums Look
and I’m the Man.

“It sort of hit me a few months ago that next year would be
twenty-five years since Look Sharp, and once I got over
the shock and picked myself up off the floor I started to think
about a possible reunion,” says Jackson. “We can all play a lot
better than we ever could back then, and I’m a much better writer
and singer. And we’re not fat — I’ve still got a thirty-two-inch

The band performed its last gig on December 15th, 1980, in
Utrecht, Netherlands, parting ways shortly after the release of
Beat Crazy, its third album. Since then, Sanford has
played with Joan Armatrading, Aztec Camera and the late Kirsty
MacColl; Maby has played with Natalie Merchant, They Might Be
Giants and on and off with Jackson; and Houghton has kept a low
profile in the South of England.

“I think that you need to get to a certain point of maturity to
be able to indulge in nostalgia,” says Jackson of the reunion. “Ten
years ago I would have laughed at the idea, because I was still

Jackson promises the new album will be “high-energy, fun and
definitely in the spirit of the first couple of albums — without
trying to recreate it. We’ve all evolved and matured and the music
will reflect that.” He is nearly done writing the fourteen-song
record, his first commercial release since 2000’s Night and Day

Although song titles and label details are nebulous, he and the
band will begin recording in the U.K. this October.

Assessing the band’s capabilities, Jackson says, “Graham plays
better than ever, Dave plays the same or better than he ever did,
and Gary probably has the easiest job. The guitar is not the lead
instrument and never was, so as long as he doesn’t play worse,
which is a pretty safe bet, we’ll be fine. Gary was always, in my
estimation, overqualified.”

For the ensuing worldwide tour, Jackson intends to work some of
his newer material into the set. “It’s an intriguing idea to bring
post-Beat Crazy stuff to these guys,” he says. “In recent
tours I’ve re-worked my old songs with newer players, but this will
allow me to do the exact opposite. For awhile I was really sick of
[Look Sharp‘s breakout hit]’Is She Really Going Out With
Him,’ but now I like it again. I really still love [I’m the
‘s] ‘Different for Girls’ and fast ones like [Look
‘s] ‘Got the Time,’ and we’ll be playing all of those on

Popular on Rolling Stone


Powered by
Arrow Created with Sketch. Calendar Created with Sketch. Path Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. Plus Created with Sketch. minus Created with Sketch.