From: News Of The World
PAUL WELLER has hit out at the current music scene, slamming pop stars for being "safe and boring".
The legendary singer reckons that, 35 years after he began with The Jam, he's still making more exciting music than today's current crop of bands. He has just released adventurous new album Wake Up The Nation, which has had universal praise from critics and fans. And he admits its title is a dig at today's dull scene.
"Music is in such a safe and boring place now," Weller tells Rated. "Everyone is toeing the line. It's hard for bands to get a record deal because the music industry is collapsing, and radio only plays safe songs, so bands are scared to experiment. There needs to be a musical revolution from somewhere. I'm an old git, and it's time the younger generation knocked it all down.
"The title track of the record came about from me ranting about the state of Britain and music. I thought I'd better make the kind of impassioned record I wasn't hearing from the current musicians."
Weller, 52, insists that music can still change the world if young musicians get angry enough.
"Being in a band is a fine and noble calling," he says. "It's not only entertaining, you get to impart knowledge, ideas and attitudes if you want. Music changed my world - it made me realise that I didn't have to work in a factory. Music can still do that, but it saddens me that bands come and go so fast these days - they make one great record and you never hear from them again. We've become very short term."
Despite such fiery talk, Weller denies that Wake Up The Nation is a political record. The former Labour Party campaigner admits he's got "very little" interest in current politics.
"All politicians are the same these days," he sighs. "They make little difference to our lives. I vote Labour out of loyalty, but it makes no odds who's in charge any more."
Weller admits he got stuck in a rut before parting with his long-term backing band five years ago. "I was making music, but I wasn't fired up," he says. "I'd hemmed myself in with barriers, but I wrote some new types of songs that felt like a crack in the sky appearing. I realised I was the only one who'd created those boundaries. I'm on a roll and, after this record, the possibilities are endless."
Weller reveals he wants to write with singer Richard Hawley and dance duo Amorphous Androgynous, adding: "The one real idea I've got for my next record is to make it even more experimental!"
Surprisingly, he revisited the past by reuniting with The Jam's bassist Bruce Foxton on two songs on Wake Up The Nation, for the first time since the trio split in 1982. The pair played on stage at London's Royal Albert Hall last month.
"That was a lovely moment," he smiles. "Bruce got a lot of love from the crowd, and I really got off on that. But there's no way The Jam will ever reform. I'm not interested in comebacks, and can't see myself making contact with Rick Buckler, because there's not much love lost there."
Friendly and polite, Weller is far from the grumpy bloke he's sometimes portrayed as - which he thinks might be down to being shy.
"I was painfully shy when I was a kid," he admits. "I'm more confident now, I just give less of a f*** what others think!"
But he will not be showing off his new album at Glastonbury later this month. "I'm not a massive festival lover," he explains.
"It only takes some rain to make everyone in the crowd miserable and a change of wind can ruin the sound on stage. I don't like feeling so out of control. Not that indoor gigs are perfect... "I hate not being able to smoke on stage any more," he laughs. "There's a time and a place for the smoking ban, but it should be lifted at pubs and gigs. It's sad how us smokers are treated now - we've become the new junkies!"