In The Crowd

Hello Everyone, I’m Jen. Dave invited me to be a special correspondent here at Paul Weller News. My first thought was to share one of my favorite things about going to Paul Weller shows, and that’s meeting the incredible fans. I’ve interviewed a few folks out and about at the concerts and meet-ups, and I’ll be posting these mini profiles here. I hope you enjoy meeting these fans and hearing their stories as much as I did!

Meet Karen McBride from Aylesbury.

“Weller has just been such a massive, massive thing in my life from 1984 onwards. Seeing his music, his style, everything, that I just love about him. I don’t like all of his music, its not all my taste, but you know you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

The first time I was taken to see him and I was like, who is this guy? I had heard of Paul Weller but I wasn’t 100% sure of what it was all about when I went. I heard The Walls Come Tumbling Down and that was it, I was hooked.

I guess he’s been the consistent thing in my life since 1984. I’ve been through having children, marriages, breakdowns of marriages, relationships, losing a parent and everything else that’s happened. From being down and coming back up again, the one thing that’s always been there is him and his music

Brenda: And me!
Karen: Well yeah, you as well Brenda but we’re talking about Paul Weller!

Yeah, and I guess that’s it and I’ve been very fortunate enough to be able to carry on that 30 odd years later with the person that I started with in 1984. We’ve had wonderful, wonderful experiences, we’ve had not so nice ones maybe too. Lots and lots of people we’ve met over the years. In the recent years I’ve been able to meet Paul and had really good chats with him and photos, cause that’s my thing. He’s always been nothing but a gentlemen to me.

When I went to LA (to see a show) he got off the bus and came straight to me. “Hello how are you?” It was just perfect. I’ll always remember that time forever and ever.”

Meet Brenda Taylor, originally from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire currently in lovely Leitrim in Ireland.

“Weller’s got everything, always constantly changing, I love his music I love his look. I used to love his politics in the past but he’s obviously not so much into that now but then neither am I.

For me I liked The Jam. I liked some of the songs I never saw them. I had the opportunity and never did.

But for me you know what? The moment I fell in love with Paul Weller the person, the image, the everything, was Bitterest Pill that’s what done it for me.

I don’t know what it was, something clicked in my brain and I thought, geez I love this man, and It just went from strength to strength from there. I’m a big Style Council fan. We used to travel all over the world to see them. I had so many, many fond memories of those times and the people that I’ve met and just the fact we’ve been able to carry it on for years, and years, and years. Over 30 years later still doing the same old thing. Still excites me, still makes me very, very happy.”

Meet Pete Steadman from Woking in Surrey, England.

“I love the music, I love the atmosphere of the gigs, I love this bit where you meet up with a load of friends. Weller’s one of the only people I know where that happens, so yeah, that’s the enjoyment, the buzz of meeting and making friends through it. It’s kind of like a big family that it turns into.

The Woking connection is a big thing, thats such a massive thing for me. Before they became famous, I remember when The Jam, as young lads, used to play at a club in Woking called Michaels. I remember Paul coming up there when they weren’t playing. He was a young teenager in his parka and all that, and he couldn’t get served because of his age. I remember him asking me to get him a beer, which I had done, and he stayed and had the drink with us.”

Meet Martin Carroll from Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire. Also pictured with his son Stevie at his very first Paul Weller gig and the infamous Q Magazine appearance.

“I first heard The Jam when I was 12. It was the In The City album and I was in to music at the time, but nothing majorly. When I first heard that, it was like, wow man, its a different league. That’s when I first got in to him.

I then saw The Jam when I was 14. That was my first concert. I went with a friend from school and it was their final tour at Wembley arena on a Saturday night. I’d never been to a concert before. I sat there and Paul’s Dad came on. The lights went out to the best band in the f!@#$ing world. They came on, the place went mental. People were kicking seats out of the way. A big lad went, ‘Stick with me.’ He put his arm around me and I was carried down to the front. I jumped up and down for two and a half hours to the songs and I came out thinking, that was amazing. It was better than I thought it would be and I’m sure I haven’t seen the last of Paul. Then a couple years later I went to see one of the first Style Council concerts and from then on, that was it.”

Meet Karen Marsh (left) from Milton Keynes, pictured here with her lifelong friend Dawn Miller (right)

“He’s been a big part of my life since I was 15. I went to see him first at Finsbury Park back in the day and I’m still going. All of the music has been really important to me. Every song reminds me of a different part of my life, from The Jam, Style Council, and now his solo career.

I went to see him all the time, even when it was heavily snowing. My mum would cry because I was going off in the awful weather to go to see The Jam and she’d say, ‘Don’t go, don’t go.’ We still went. I remember waiting backstage to see him after the sound checks. Saw loads of sound checks. We always used to get in. I remember meeting Bruce Foxton in a telephone box in Leicester he got us on the guest list and back stage. It was all such a big part of our lives.

Once I went to Aston Villa to see Paul Weller with my sister and as they came on I fainted. But not because of seeing Paul Weller. I think it was just a bit of everything. Yeah, but I did actually faint which was very embarrassing. Got passed across the top and woke up and thought, ‘Why am I asleep? Ah yes, I’m meant to be seeing Paul Weller!’ St. John’s ambulance put me backstage. It was really embarrassing for me and my sister but now I think it’s really quite funny.”

Meet Sam Molnar from Woking.

“He’s a mate, he’s been a mate for over 50 years. Top man!

In 2010 I went to the studio to do a bit of work for him selling carpets and I said to him, the local hospice is in trouble can you do a gig for them? He had a think about it, it was a time when they were recording Wake Up the Nation and 6 weeks later I got phone call and he said yeah, he would do the gig. He came and played Woking for the first time in 30 years. Such a generous man that he is, we raised over £60,000 for the Woking Hospice. He’s a top man and he’s continued to help us throughout. He is a real, genuine top man and a good friend.”

Meet Charles Gonzales from Guayaquil, Ecuador pictured here with his lovely wife Aurita.

“I was in college in the States and was never exposed to his music before. I worked at a radio station and I was getting into punk. As I was getting into punk I bought a bunch of cds from different bands, the Ramones the Pistols, and I also bought The Jam based on recommendations. The Jam just stood out from the other punk bands.

Their sound was so refined, their lyrics too, and the first time I heard Down In a Tube Station at Midnight was the first time I heard a song in English where I closed my eyes and I felt like I was there, the scenery, the smell, everything. I could even smell it. At the same time I discovered The Jam I also found the Days of Speed cd by Weller. I got into them both not even knowing it was the same guy. A few months later I figured out it was the same guy and ever since, it’s been Paul Weller. There’s no turning back.

After I was married, and after ten years of being a fan I was finally able to make the trip to see him live. That just changed our lives. We’ve been to many concerts before from artists who came to South America but after Weller they were ruined for us. Because with Weller it was all about the music. It was the first time we went to a show where the set, the staging, the screens, nothing mattered. It was only about what the band were doing onstage and everything we heard on stage was made by them. Me and my wife have never been the same. We were hooked forever. It was really a turning point. It ruined all other acts for us. We just wanted to see Paul Weller or whoever we feel is similar to him.

Paul’s music has been the soundtrack to every happy moment in my life and every sad moment as well. There are so many songs that have a special significance to us. There are just too many to mention.”

Meet Carl and Sarah Scott from Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, U.K.

“He’s just my idol. Someone I’ve grown up with, the story of my life. I like his image, the messages he puts across in his songs and he’s ever changing, ever evolving.

The second time we met him we were invited backstage at Newcastle and we didn’t know we were going backstage so it was just a shock. We just had our wristbands and we went down to this area and got collected by security and found out we were going backstage. No preparation, no nothing and we turned up in this room and there’s someone who I’ve idolized since the age of 12 standing in the room and it was just, ‘My God, what do I do? What do I say?’ He was very down to earth. People say never meet your idols but he’s just a genuine guy that was interested in what you had to say and yeah, just really down to earth.”

“Basically I got into him through hubby. I had no choice really. But I’m so glad I have.

The first time I went to Brighton we walked down the pier and when we came back we looked at the hotel and I was like, ‘Is that Paul over there?’
Carl was like, ‘No, they’d be long gone.’

And all of the sudden it was Paul, Andy Crofts, and Steve Cradock all standing outside and we thought, we’ve got to get a picture! We asked for a picture and he said, ‘Of course darling.’ And then we stood there and someone else came along with a camera and he told them, ‘Hang on a minute.’ Then he came back to us and said, ‘We need walk to other side darling. I need to be in the sun.’

That picture is on our mantelpiece.”

Meet Steve Cradock from West Midlands

“Why am I a fan? Just the whole image of The Jam. the first thing I bought was Beat Surrender which I found out then was their last single and I had the most amazing time backtracking and listening and buying all their albums. And then my girlfriend at the time, I forget how old I was, she played me the b side of Bitterest Pill, Pity Poor Alfie, and I just fell in love with the tune.

A memory that stands out? I bunked off of school for the day to go down to Solid Bond. Kenny threw me out of the studio and I remember sleeping rough for a few hours in London. But yeah, it was just great to meet the man. There’s a Sam Cooke song, if I could just Touch the Hem of His Garment I would be made holy and meeting him felt like kind of a quasi religious moment.”

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