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Weller Plays Jam!

Weller Plays Jam
Paul Weller speaks about bringing back Jam classics at his gigs!

03 July 2008 - Paul Weller has been dipping into his back catalogue – as well as playing the odd unexpected cover at his recent shows.

At his intimate London gig as part of the iTunes Festival on 2 July, Paul Weller played a spontaneous cover of All You Need Is Love by The Beatles and surprised fans with The Jam’s hit Eton Rifles.

Speaking exclusively to 6 Music before the gig, the Modfather explained why he has rarely revisited his former band’s old material.

The former Jam front man said that his decision was not for any profound reasons, but because he never thought they would fit into his set lists.

He also explained how his attitude to the classic songs has changed with time: “Sometimes you need some kinda of opening really, for me anyway, to play some of these old songs. I think about them in a different way these days.”

And that it wasn’t always easy for Weller to revisit old material: “For a while I couldn’t play some of the old songs, I just couldn’t get my head around it and now I can sort of play them against the new songs and it sounds alright to me, it sounds ok.”

Thanks to the band The Rifles prompting Weller to play Eton Riffles before the encore, he is now lining up a few more tracks from his former band’s back catalogue.

“Yeah. We’ve already started talking about it with me and the band,” Weller explained, “because we’re going to Australia in August, which I’ve not been to for 23 years or something mad - so I’ve got to put some old songs in for the Aussies or I’ll probably get lynched.”

He revealed that people will be able to make requests about what Jam songs they want to hear during his upcoming shows, but at this stage he would not divulge any more information on that.

Weller told 6 Music: “We’ve just started drawing up a shortlist of songs and it’s kinda exciting I think, because I can sort of see now to make them that different, but I can also see how to make them into our sound as well.”

Number One Album

Weller has had a mammoth year, turning 50 and releasing a double album 22 Dreams in June, which went to number one.

Despite being thrilled with its success, Weller explained that the prospect of reaching number one and making a profit was not the singer’s intention when he set out to make the record.

He said: “I wasn’t thinking of any commercial aspects when I started making this last year and if anything I was trying to make it as indulgent as possible really and it just seems funny, in a nice way, that it has really connected with people and people like it. I was very pleasantly surprised and pleased to be number one, it was brilliant.”

Live Shows

Finally, Weller reflected on the success of his album which he feels has been reflected in his live shows.

Telling 6 Music about the positive reactions he has been getting to the new material, Weller said: “It has been great actually. Most songs actually start to take on a different life when you play them live.

“It was great because we did the tour before the album came out so obviously people hadn’t heard of most of the songs anyway, so that’s always a challenge.

“But I think it’s a testament to the strength of the songs, because people are still reacting to the things they haven’t heard before.”

Weller is taking his live show to Europe and after dates in Cork, Milan, Serbia and Spain he'll be back in the UK to play Osborne House on the Isle of Wight on 26 July.

Georgie Rogers (BBC)

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