Paul Weller Backs Rebel Son To Carry On Family’s Music Tradition
Nov 9 2008 By Mickey Mcmonagle
Paul Weller has notched up millions of album sales, had hits in four decades and sold out arenas all over the world.
He is quick to play down his achievements but truly lights up when he reveals son Natt is following in his musical footsteps.
His oldest boy has launched his own music career and 50-year-old Weller hopes some of his other four children will follow suit.
Paul said: “I would love my kids to follow me into music.
“I’d recommend it to anyone – it is one of the most noble professions and I would encourage it all I could. I’d love it.
“My eldest is trying to get something together now. It wasn’t out of me pushing him, he has come to it himself, which is as it should be.
“It’s not fair for me to say what he is doing but he is talking to labels, he has had some interest and now he is writing and recording demos. I’m really proud of him.
“I will encourage and help any one of them in any way I can, whether in music or anything else they want to do – as any man would for his kids, any way he could.”
Weller is quite the family man. He has been with his partner Sammi, 12 years his junior, for 10 years and has five kids – Natt, 20, and Leah,16, daughter, Dylan, 11, daughter Jessie, six, and son, Mac, four. Natt and Leah’s mum is Dee C Lee, who sang with Weller in The Style Council.
Natt has already been splashed across the pages of newspapers, causing a sensation when he was snapped in London in September wearing make-up and telling paps he has had laser hair removal on his beard.
Paul – always a non-conformist himself – loves his son’s individuality and is tickled by the storm caused by Natt saying he has worn make-up for the past five years.
He said: “Natt is a right little socialite, an enigma, alternative. The thing I love most about him is he genuinely doesn’t give a f*** what anyone thinks about anything he does. It’s very admirable.”
Paul admits it is difficult for young bands and artists to get anywhere. That’s why he goes out of his way to help those he likes, offering them support slots or just talking them up.
He said: “It is more difficult than when I started.
Apart from raw talent, it is perseverance. You fall on s*** times where you feel it’s not happening and things are not working out but out of those bad times good things come.
“It’s tough but you have to stick with it. You need luck and talent and no matter what people say or what happens you have to work through it.
“It’s important for people like me to help young bands in any way we can, handing over the torch.
It’s the right thing to do. When I started there weren’t many people who helped us.
“The bands who were big then were mostly much older and they were all a selfish lot, even though they were massive. I will always help out any band. It’s a positive thing, the community thing – music is our communion and we are all part of the same world.”
Weller’s last album 22 Dreams won rave reviews and is rated by many as his finest work.
The singer admits the album’s success has reinvigorated him and shown him reinvention is possible, even at 50. There are times in your life where you start to think you have done it all.
Making this record showed me it is possible to find a new way. We haven’t started writing the next album yet but we are excited about it.
“The way we approached 22 Dreams was different and spontaneous, very improvised.
“We would like to continue with that and see where it leads us. The band are really fired up and the whole thing really charged me up too.”
Fans will not have to wait long to hear if Weller’s next album will continue the blistering form of 22 Dreams.
“We have December and January off so we will get in the studio and see what happens. I have no idea what to expect, I really haven’t a clue.
“I’ve deliberately not been thinking about it. I just want to go in there and see what we come up with on the spot.”
At a time when many musicians would think about resting on their laurels, enjoying their achievements and spending time with their kids, Weller is touring and writing as much as ever.
“I love playing live, it is an absolute joy. It’s just the travelling that does my head in.
“Performing is sensational. Playing to a crowd is what I want, what I need to do but the travel will become physically impossible at some point. It’s not getting any easier as I get older.
“Sitting on a bus for hours every day is difficult, you get fatigued. Every band moans about this, not just the old blokes.
“Being away from my family does not get any easier, especially with the little ones. They get used to it because it’s what their dad does but I was away for eight weeks recently which was really hard on all of us.
“My youngest boy doesn’t really understand it yet but what can you do? It’s part of what we do.
“The flip side is when I am at home I am there for months on end so it balances out, I like to think. I honestly can’t imagine coming to a point where I don’t want to do it any more.
“I’m not saying I will never feel that way at some point. At 20 or 25 I could not imagine making music at 50 but here I am. If I am not playing music or writing it I am listening to other people’s stuff.
“It is everything to me and I honestly wonder what I would do without it. Music is such an integral, natural part of me, my character and my life, I could not imagine living without it.”