Been to a couple of nice gigs this week. Tuesday at the 100 Club for the new album launch from Deborah Bonham's band. Deborah was in fine form, as always, and she's surely Englands own Janis Joplin but the reason for this post is to spread the word about possibly the finest blue eyed soul singer of 'em all, well those that are still around (Mr Marriott would have loved him), James Hunter. He raised the roof (not really) at his sell out gig at the Borderline last night. It was great to see so many "faces" that I hadn't seen in a while and as for the music it just doesn't get any better than this. JH and his super tight band produced sweet soul music as you've never heard before (yeah, he's that good) from a white guy!. This was classic "mod" stuff with Hammond, horns and the like and a voice that really is Sam Cooke, Bobby Bland, Ray Charles and Smokey Robinson and the rest all rolled into one. Not forgetting James own musicianship playing blistering lead guitar with more than a shade of Ike Turner thrown in. May be retro to some people but still very relevant in 2008. Last night was merely a warm up gig for yet another US tour where they seem to appreciate this type of thing more than us. Check out the web site and have a look at the cv. He's played with the best (Aretha and co) but more to the point they've played with him! JH (the other one)
Soaud's interview, months ago
Q: Yesterday you were in the studio with Paul Weller. How is it to collaborate with him?
A: He is someone very spontaneous and I like that. He told me he discovered my albums and he said he adored one of my songs - "Ghir Enta" ("I only love you") - and he made a version of it, which is magnificent...It made me happy to meet a legend like him who is so nice, who has such a drive to make music. Yesterday, we worked until three in the morning. We were tired but he didn't want to leave the studio. He had an idea and he wanted to follow it to the end. Check Paul Weller news to read the following.
... maximum downloads limits exploded! Style council and the 1998 boots are now available on other sites... with the good artwork! Thanx a lot to Neil and Manu! :)
Too much things to say... So, Let's say, we've just grown up with that man like some did with the Small Faces (Hi John!). It's a birthday in our life too. "We ain't that young anymore but show a little faith, there's magic in the night..." It's, I borrow John that formula, a part of our DNA. Jam gave me an attitude in life, a political conscience, a real "move on" way of life... When I was 14, I was in a public library and a friend bugged me since several weeks: "Listen to The Jam, listen to the Jam".
Then, believe me, the brass riff of "Boy about Town" (Hi Claire) litteraly crushed my head for ever... That was the music I wanted, exactly... I came in as a lost kid I went out as a mod or something like that... Clean living under difficult circumstances. So it's his birthday but he did me, like you I guess, the gift of a different life. Honest. I'm still mad about music and attitude at 42... Thank you. From here to here, from the first single I bought for gold as an "import" to 22 dreams...
Special thoughts to our disappeared ones (Kev, Jenny...). So, I'm gonna borrow another proverb to John "Life's for living". Run!
From that first single to Bournemouth... Can't believe it. Thanx, Paul. I've ran "All around the world" and... met some wonderful people (Hi John, Claire, Jay Cee, Brighton Mike, Dave, Marco, Manu, Ian, Flavio, Niels, etc.) revolving around music. A passion for life... Can you imagine a better gift?
Sarah Walters 23/ 5/2008
Image has, of course, followed Weller around as much as his music. With The Jam and The Style Council, and (since 1992) as a solo artist, he was touring the world before I was even in short trousers, but he remains the sharpest looking Mod on the block. After 31 years on the road, what has he boiled the essential Paul Weller touring kit down to? "Toiletries, shoe polish," he lists, his voice soft, his north London accent still pronounced. "Keep yourself as nice as you can. Clean living under difficult circumstances." So, that's the weather, tea and toiletries ticked off: all the essentials on the interview checklist. But the real business, of course, is Weller's new record, 22 Dreams - a 21-track expedition that hints at all of Paul's musical back catalogue.
"I wasn't particularly that conscious of that," he says, "whether it was in a sub-conscious way, I don't know. A lot of the record was just made up as we went along, quite improvised. "But I suppose I'm coming up to the grand age of 50, and maybe I was thinking about that? When I make a record they just happen, and whatever I do to start out with always ends up totally different, anyway." Whatever the creative processes at play, 22 Dreams looks likely to be Weller's most critically-lauded record in over a decade. It's also his 21st studio album, I point out. "I dunno," he shrugs nonchalantly, "I've stopped counting."
Jazzy strut From the jazzy strut of the title track and the British country of All I Wanna Do (Is Be With You) to the psych-rock of the Noel Gallagher co-penned Echoes Round The Sun and the eerie hip-hop vibe of God (featuring Ian Brown's former guitarist Aziz Ibrahim), it sounds like the kind of coherent whole an artist could comfortably call time on their career with. "I suppose we spent a lot of time trying to make the tracks sequent into each other and make it feel like a bit of a little journey. It took a year to complete and I suppose it's a journey through that year of our lives. "There's definite references to the elements on the record, and seasons. We have the door open in our studio whether it's winter, summer, whatever, so we can see the seasons change." The move from the simple, springy folk of Light Nights to the stormy feel of closing track Night Lights certainly suits this theory. "That's a thunderstorm," he smiles, "we just stuck the mic out the door so it was very spontaneous, there was even a peacock shrieking in the background." He still loves making music but the years have made him no more likely to wax lyrical about his new material. As Weller sees it, the proof has always been in the listening; his tour so far has made a big feature of the new record, packing as many of the album's eclectic tracks in as possible during his lengthy live sets.
Orchestra : But he wants to go one step further. "I'd like to tour this record," he says, "to have a full orchestra and extra musicians and play it all in sequence. "I'd especially like to do that with this one because it's got so much music on it, it'd be like a complete evening. But you don't know how things are going to do commercially these days, so who knows? "If it dies a death after three weeks, then I guess it ain't gonna work," he laughs. "But if it stays around, I think it'd be brilliant to do that." If he had the time, he'd give Wild Wood and Stanley Road the same treatment. But Weller - a father of five - continues to be a very busy man. As we catch up, he's in the middle of a sold-out 12-date UK tour and is preparing for a run of arena shows this autumn, which hits the M.E.N. Arena on November 18. "This has been a really creative period for me," Paul enthuses. "We probably ended up doing 27 songs altogether, and we could have kept going. It just kept unfolding in front of us. "I always say that every record will be my last, because making a record is so creatively knackering and I always feel a bit depleted afterwards. "But, with this record, I didn't feel that, and I'm kinda looking forward to making the next one. "There's certain tracks on here that are sort of springboards into the future for me, opening up other places where I can go, you know? "And I wouldn't necessarily want to start on that next week, but I can kind of foresee making another record by the end of the year."
Paul Weller flags up his new album 22 Dreams with marathon tour.
On a long, drunken night on his tour bus, Paul Weller tells our correspondent about turning 50, his barnstorming new album and why his son is wrong about fast food. Pete Paphides
In a room of musicians, everyone momentarily stops what they’re doing when the star material ambles in. The frayed T-shirt, tight black jeans and black fly shades complement the impassive unsmiling face. Like a walking composite of every goth and emo sub-genre of the past ten years, Paul Weller’s son Nat takes a seat in the canteen next to his dad – who, even with his angular Mod barnet, barely raises an eyelid by comparison. It’s as though God, on one of his more whimsical days, decided to bestow the Modfather a goth son, to see if both could adapt to the challenge... to be continued in the very excellent Paul Weller news blog!
Thanx to Kosmos 1968! great sound!
There were a few absolute tossers (iteratively and figuratively) lobbing fluids and I'm very sorry to read that it ruined Euan and other people's evening. I saw one guy get hit on the side of the head with a bottle. Seriously - sod off to your paddling pools and get out the way of the people trying to enjoy the music. I was fortunate enough to bump into Andy Lewis (Bass / Cello player) in a nearby restaurant before the gig. I had a quick chat with him (he was with his parents and wife - Weller said 'hello' to them during the gig) and he was a really charming and down-to-earth kind of guy. I asked him how he felt about being on the telly the night before (Later With Jools Holland) and he said he was so nervous he couldn't have looked more stuffed than a Christmas turkey! He did go onto say that the recording after the broadcast stopped going out live was better in his opinion and that we should watch out for that on Friday here in the UK.
[A complete part of the human happiness process and Miracle maker (Yann)]
1. 22 Dreams
"Which part of it didn't he get? It wasn't intended as a fucking jolly drinking song for the cadet corps," Mr Weller says in this week's issue of the New Statesman magazine. The unwanted tribute made him decide to revive the song on his current solo tour, because "it's just as powerful now, just as relevant, as it was in 1979". Weller, who will be 50 this month, wrote the song after seeing television pictures of Right to Work marchers being jeered by public schoolboys as they passed through Eton en route from Liverpool to London. It was the first major hit for The Jam, reaching No 3 in the charts. When David Cameron was asked on a recent Radio 4 programme to name his favourite track he replied: "'The Eton Rifles', inevitably. I was one, in the corps. It meant a lot, some of those early Jam albums we used to listen to. I don't see why the left should be the only ones allowed to listen to protest songs."
Mr Cameron cannot have been unaware of Weller's politics. In the 1980s, the musician was a leading figure in Red Wedge, the network of artists who campaigned for the Labour Party and other left-wing causes. He has since become disillusioned with Labour, and rejected a CBE in 2006. He described Ken Livingstone, the former Mayor of London, as "corrupted by power" – but was equally critical of Boris Johnson, also an Eton schoolboy when "The Eton Rifles" was written. He told the New Statesman: "How can you vote for a man who looks like he's got his mum to cut his hair with the garden shears? He's a gibbering idiot, like Tim Nice-But-Dim."
I've been to many gigs, as always, this year and I've been really disappointed sometimes by a "blasé" attitude. You know the game. He played in two different ways, an awesome electric storm (on a ballroom scene...). The great angry Weller was there, half windmills, the "Weller step" on the left before clutching the guitar again, the full energy at the top (he went to the gym, believe me!). He's still, whatever we can read an angry man. He bumped unfortunately the micro with his mouth and he shots it in a rageful head movement! And he keeps on singing... he really enjoyed the set, the simple fact of being alive and here with us...
The way he uses the new band is really refreshing... Five singers, four guitars players, Everyone can sing and their "Misty morning" version was amazing... The Magic bus quote really impressive. They do enjoy playing together. Steve Pilgrim is not Steve White ( but who is?) and he's smart enough to play in a complete different way. The "Stix" solo was short. I think he had and will have the audience's respect even if it's strange without Stevie. Andy Lewis is a great Musician from Bass to Cello, he is really great, always in the tempo, very intelligent way to play Bass and very very impressive on Cello... He's maybe not really easy with the stage physical presence but he's very very good. Even Stevie evolved, he's no more in the same role...He's still the Lieutenant but in a different way.
Wigzy the Sunflower wrote on Splinters' list: Paul Weller was on fire. The refreshed set totally rocked. The new line-up was vibrant, talented and already working intuitively together. I honestly wasn't expecting this to be `up there' in the list of PW gigs I've attended but I'm going to say: it was in my top three. Paul looked excited and, dare I say it after the rough old promo photos for 22 Dreams we've been seeing in the press, younger. He was genuinely pleased at how well the set was going down with the crowd and had a good few grins to himself as he looked out. He made one mistake: singing the wrong words and having to restart. The crowd laughed and called out jokingly `get off', `boo' and `rubbish' and he just grinned, said he was still learning it and cracked on happily.
Believe me, she's right...It was also wonderful to be "normal" with A Ben Sherman Target Shirt and a Jam Logo on the back! :) My name in french, Viseur, means "aimer", the little thing there is on a gun to help a a sniper to get a target. I let you imagine all the very nice and not heavy "jokes" at all i have to stand when I'm in a mod shirt.. (People Shoot me all day long with imaginery guns and Say "Ah Ah Ah a "Viseur" with a target...So funny...Specially after a million times!) English way to go to a gig is really different from the french one... It's a complete party! :) I felt cool and ok! And JC too. You are a fantastic audience, really. That's exactly why we wanted to see him in England. Nowhere else... Like a sign, when I went back home, exhausted and on cloud nine with JC, the funniest man you can imagine, my so cool wife said than the Richard Barnes' photo book "Mods" was in the mail box!
All We needed was there... so he ended with a beautiful cello version of "All you need is love"... Had a tee shirt and a key ring, like the lifetime fans we've always been. Then Wigzy and Callan found a way to be magic again and to stay in the Opera house... The party wasn't absolutely over. When we took the car to get back home, everything was written in the stars yet.
Nice to be Nice Indeed! :) Mods Rule!
Check the mini-site
Oxford Street. 1995: The excitement and anticipation are palpable within the low-ceiling sweaty confines of the legendary 100 Club on the night of Paul’s special performance. This recording, perhaps more than any official release, brings you close to the unique artistry of Paul Weller. Sound Quality: 9/10
Artwork: Manu Gomez.