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