Chatting With Paul Weller

Paul Weller – one of the iconic figures of British rock, the “Modfather,” the founder of The Jam and Style Council – is touring his new album, “Saturns Pattern,” and kicked off his North American tour last night at the 9:30 Club. We got a chance to talk a few minutes before he went onstage.

Weller has had a long, vibrant career, at least in the U.K. where his status is stratospheric. In the U.S., he maintains a smaller yet enthusiastic fan base. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Weller is producing music that either matches or excels that of a younger generation.

That’s not just our opinion after listening to the latest tracks, which dropped May 20 on Warner Bros. Records. Here’s what others are saying:

Saturns Pattern offers a welcome supply of tuneful hooks and dance rhythms within a sound that’s brand new,” said Paste Magazine. “[It’s] all the more miraculaous that Weller is still making interesting music into the second decade of the 21st century.”

Popdose said Saturns Pattern is “another leap forward for this musical crusader.” Daily Mirror said it “spills forth with clarity and multi-patterned musical scope.”

The songs are likely challenging to play live, and therefore probably rewarding to the audience, so we asked him a few questions in this vein. Unfortunately, when you’re talking to someone in the cavernous backstage area of a Washington nightclub right after a soundcheck, it can be difficult to have a conversation.

Photo: Julian Broad

Is it accurate to say this is your most extensive tour in the U.S., in recent memory?

Expensive? Hello? What did you say about expensive? About expenses?

Extensive.  Would you consider this to be one of the more extensive U.S. tours?

(Laughs) Yeah! I thought you said expensive and I wanted to say, “Not really.”  But, well, yeah I guess it is, for a long time anyway. We’ve come over in the last year but … I guess we’re doing more dates and venues.

From what I understand, you enjoy playing for your U.S. fans because they’re so very appreciative of your music.

Absolutely. I mean, I don’t ever play to really big crowds here but wherever they are, it’s always great to play. And I’ve always liked playing in America. We’re all music people, aren’t we? And a lot of the music I grew up with, and formed the basis of my music, comes from America. So I’m very conscious of that as well, you know.

Regarding Saturn’s Pattern, how integrated is it, or how many songs, will be performed?

I think we’ll do about six new songs. Five or six, I believe.  On tour we’ll try to be true to the sound of the record but, like any song, when you start playing it live it takes on a new life, really. I think playing the new songs makes us play the old songs differently. When you start playing the new songs you’ve got to be consciously trying to think about what you’re doing. I think it has a group “knock-on effect” on the rest of the set.

I would assume your U.S. fans would be very receptive to recent music rather than just hearing the hits.

I hope so, man. We’ll find out tonight, but I hope so, anyway.

But of the new songs, which one would you predict would have a good reception?

We’ve done U.K. and European tours prior to this and all the songs have gone over really, really well. But I think “These City Streets,” the last track on the album. It’s quite a long track [8:26] so I’m quite surprised by the reaction to it. That seems to be the best.

Photo: Photo by Julian Broad
“ … a lot of the music I grew up with, and formed the basis of my music, comes from America.”

Upcoming dates for Paul Weller:

June 10 – Philadelphia, Pa., Union Transfer
June 12 – New York, N.Y., Terminal 5
June 13 – Boston, Mass., Paradise Rock Club
June 14 – Clifton Park, N.Y., Upstate Concert Hall
June 15 – Toronto, Ontario, The Danforth Music Hall
June 17 – Chicago, Ill., Vic Theatre
June 18 – Indianapolis, Ind., The Vogue
June 19 – Millvale, Pa., Mr. Small’s Theatre
June 20 – Brooklyn, N.Y., Music Hall Of Williamsburg
June 26 – London, England, Hyde Park (Barclaycard British Summer Time)
June 28 – Pilton, England, Worthy Farm (Glastonbury Festival)
July 1 – Madrid, Spain, La Riviera
July 2 – Barcelona, Spain, Palau Reial (Jardins Pedralbes)
July 4 – Munich, Germany, Tonhalle
July 5 – Gardone Riviera, Italy, Il Vittoriale Degli Italiani
July 7 – Vienna, Austria, Vienna State Opera
July 8 – Brugnera, Italy, Parco Di Villa Varda (Blues In Villa – Blues & Jazz Festival)
July 9 – Rome, Italy, Parco della Musica Auditorium
July 11 – Liege, Belgium, Parc Astrid Of Coronmeuse (Les Ardentes Festival)
Sept. 29 – Vancouver, British Columbia, Commodore Ballroom
Sept. 30 – Seattle, Wash., The Neptune    
Oct. 1 – Portland, Ore., Wonder Ballroom            
Oct. 4 – San Francisco, Calif., The Fillmore         
Oct. 6 – San Diego, Calif., Observatory North Park       
Oct. 7 – Los Angeles, Calif., The Fonda               
Oct. 8 – Los Angeles, Calif., The Fonda   
Oct. 9 – Pomona, Calif., Fox Theater Pomona      
Oct. 10 – Tokyo, Japan, Zepp Tokyo
Oct. 15 – Osaka, Japan, Dojima River Forum
Oct. 17 – Yokohama, Japan, Bay Hall
Nov. 16 – Belfast, No. Ireland, Belfast Waterfront
Nov. 17 – Dublin, Ireland, Olympia Theatre
Nov. 18 – Dublin, Ireland, Olympia Theatre
Nov. 20 – Brighton, England, The Brighton Centre
Nov. 21 – Bournemouth, England, Bournemouth International Centre
Nov. 22 – Cardiff, Wales, Motorpoint Arena Cardiff
Nov. 24 – Glasgow, Scotland, The SSE Hydro 
Nov. 25 – Newcastle upon Tyne, England, Metro Radio Arena
Nov. 27 – Birmingham, England, Barclaycard Arena
Nov. 28 – Manchester, England, Manchester Arena
Nov. 29 – Leeds, England, First Direct Arena
Dec. 4 – London, England, Eventim Apollo
Dec. 5 – London, England, Eventim Apollo 

For more information, please visit Paul Weller’s website, Facebook page, Twitter feed and YouTube channel.