The Jam’s music is one of the main reasons that I am on the path I am on today. Throughout a lot of my teenage years they were the most important band in my life with ‘Away from the numbers’ being the seminal defining track. That track defines my outlook on life in a nutshell, wanting to be far away from the rat race, not conforming to rigid systems and social norms and generally shunning mainstream society. I never could follow the whole mod identity though, because surely to me that is conforming in itself? Regardless of that, even though they weren’t active at the time of my youth (Paul was well in to his solo career by then) they were easily my favourite and most influential band for a fair while. Most people much preferred the ‘trendy’ indie music of the time, but I’ve never been one to follow the crowd. The Jam’s music really defined a lot of what I felt at the time; all that energy and anger but with an outlook for change and productivity. I fit the mould perfectly to be a long time Jam fan and I always will be, regardless of moving on to more contemporary music tastes in general.
I began to move away from what Paul Weller was putting out musically over the years. I listened to the vast majority of his popular Style council tracks and a lot of his solo work too, but I think I was at the wrong age in my life to really relate to it and appreciate it to it’s full extent.
I have just very recently started looking him back up online and read a couple of articles about Weller the person instead of just focusing on the music. I find that Paul himself is often extremely angry and in many interviews I see him saying that most people don’t like him anyway. There are some stories of his prickly nature and him completely ruining the social vibe that I find really amusing. Such as being in the back seat of a car and shouting to the driver to “turn that shit off” only to be told that it was him on the radio singing ‘The Changingman’, or when Paulo Hewit finally snapped on him because he had spent all night moaning about how “crap” computers and the internet were. He also managed to silence everyone when out for drinks one day by glaring and demanding “Where’s my fucking change, Gary?” and starting a scene..even though Gary had not even paid and finished with the drinks order yet. It’s these types of stories that myself, and I’m sure others who are fairly highly strung with perfectionist or OCD type tendencies can find pretty hilarious because of the relatability. Even if you don’t say it you sure as hell think it!
I’m sure that, minus the ego, Mr Weller is a solid, decent hardworking guy and that there is much about him that is simply misunderstood. I do still find it hard to believe, from personal experience, how a nice person can take so much abuse, shit and anger for simply not being happy, or being an ‘individual’ and not a proper part of the group, so possibly this is something he’s experienced too.
I also never realised just how much the guy likes a drink! I love the story of him and his friend Stephen Cradock getting so smashed as young teens that they ended up laying flat out in the middle of the road roaring with laughter as the cars swerved around them. Must have been some night. A memorable video I came across was this drunk scene from 2008 with Paul and his missus. It’s just too funny!
Paul Weller made it from an extremely young age. He has made his money now so it’s really up to him what he wants to do. He does look as though his heavy lifestyle looks to have possibly taken a pretty heavy toll on him physically maybe. He has the means to support himself however and he can do whatever the hell he likes really..although it’s possible it might not be the greatest example for his kids. Long life the modfather!