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Paul Weller Feature From Channel 4 News!

Paul Weller returns to politics - with a small 'p'
By: Stephanie West

In a rare television interview to coincide with the release of his tenth solo album, the modfather talks to Stephanie West about reuniting with members of The Jam and how Britain has become a "nanny state".

Paul Weller rarely gives interviews on camera, he says he doesn't like talking about his songs, and prefers to let his lyrics do the talking for him.

But he sat down with Channel 4 News to talk about his tenth solo album, which comes nearly three decades after he disbanded The Jam. And as he gets ready to tour with it, many critics are hailing Wake Up the Nation as one of the modfather's best to date, universally giving it five stars.

The singer, now 51, has dedicated the album to his late father, John, who'd been his manager since the young Weller started playing in a band, aged just 14.

His dad, who Weller often described as his best friend, died last year, but for close on four decades he'd steered his rocker son through all his musical incarnations, including The Jam, The Style Council and nearly 20 years as a solo artist.

The album also features the singer's old bandmate from The Jam, Bruce Foxton, playing bass on a couple of the tracks.

After virtually no contact since the band split, the singer told us he contacted old bandmate after hearing that Foxton's wife was unwell.

"It just felt like the right time to do it," says Weller, "we were both losing loved ones and mortality comes into question, and it was born out of that."

The modfather says his latest album is about politics with a small "p", including how he feels about the "nanny state" he believes Britain has now become.

He avoids talking about party politics these days, having had his fingers burnt in the 80s, he says. But when asked about David Cameron saying he liked Eton Rifles, a little bit of his old anger emerges.

"It's about class war, inspired by a right to work march from Liverpool going past Eton College. Some of the chaps came out to jeer. I took that scenario and made a song out of it... it's a microcosm of class.

"If you can't take the time or intellect to see what the song's about - you haven't got much chance of running the country, have you?" he muses.

The Full Interview

There is an edited version of this interview that was broadcast at the Channel 4 site.


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John Weller Obituary From The Independent...

For thirty years, John Weller managed the career of his son Paul, through the salad days and success of The Jam in the Seventies and early Eighties, the ups and downs of The Style Council and Paul’s re-emergence as a solo artist in the Nineties. Theirs was a unique father-son relationship in the music industry, built on John’s unwavering belief in Paul’s talent and shared values like hard work and pragmatism.

John could be blunt, and once refused to have lunch in a record company’s executive dining room, remarking to the managing director: “I didn’t come here to eat, I came to do business.” But his bark was worse than his bite.

John’s success was all the more remarkable since he started in his forties after years working in factories, on building sites and driving a taxi. When The Jam signed to Polydor in February 1977, for a £6,000 advance and a six per cent royalty rate, John admitted he didn’t have a bank account and asked for cash instead of a cheque. A&R man Chris Parry duly we…

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Yet there all similarity ends, for singer-guitarist Natt has inherited the exotic beauty of his mother – former Wham! and Style Council backing singer Dee C Lee – rather than the famously angular features of his father.

‘Everybody always goes, “Luckily he took after his mum…”’ laughs Natt, whose mother is from France and St Lucia and whose great-great grandma was Japanese. Hence Natt’s fascination for Japan, where he moved in 2006 for a year to learn the language.

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