First, there was tThe Jam, the '70s trio whose songs expanded from the edgy punk of its time to anthems capturing the 20th century British zeitgeist. Next, in the '80s came the jazz, Mod, and soul-inspired Style Council. Then, there is a two and a half decade solo career, and an expansive exploration of blues rock. All of which adds up to a considerable legacy, but Paul Weller, the man behind all of this, isn’t done yet.
The English singer, songwriter, and guitarist’s latest record, “Saturn's Pattern,” which was released in May, is another musical gem, splicing classic pop-soul and blues rock into a brand new sound. After more than two dozen albums, Weller is surprisingly low-key about his achievements.
“Every record is different,” Weller says. “I don’t know if anything I do has any bearing on the next, apart from me trying to improve it, and finding ways to improve.”
Unlike most artists these days, Weller doesn’t have to mine so-called alternative revenue streams to making music: “I’ve always been signed to major labels, since I was about 18 so I don’t know anything any different," he says. "I’m old school I suppose.” But he does do some clothes designing on the side, the latest is his Real Stars Are Rare menswear line. “It’s like a small underground thing,” he says. “I’ve no desires to make it big or anything. It’s quality stuff though, it’s very nice.”
Staying in the present
Weller says he doesn’t live in the past and is only interested in present projects. Even his playlist is full of the newest bands. “There’s so much great stuff around,” he says. “There’s a Scottish band called Young Fathers I really like. Parma Violets... And Toy, another English band I really like. I heard this young American fella the other night called Leon Bridges,” he says of the Texan soul sensation. “I thought he was pretty good as well. And Alice Smith, she’s great. Alabama Shakes, too: there’s a load of great music about.”
Paul Weller, the museum exhibit
This month, an exhibition charting the history of Weller’s first band, “The Jam: About The Young Idea,” opens at London's Somerset House. It’s a major honor, but Weller is fairly nonchalant. “I know nothing about that, because I’ve not organized it. But I’m very proud they’re doing it. I’ve given them some stuff. I’m sure it’s well-researched, with lots of different artifacts.” Will Weller pop along to see it, we wonder? He hasn’t given it much thought, he says, adding: “I’ll have to, I guess.”
If you go:
June 10, 8 p.m.
1026 Spring Garden St, Philadelphia
New York City
June 12, 9 p.m.
610 W 56th St.
June 20, 8 p.m.
Music Hall Of Williamsburg
66 North Sixth St., Brooklyn
June 13, 7 p.m.
Paradise Rock Club
967 Comm. Ave.