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The List brings you eight pages of news and views from the headliners of the fourth T in the Park, Scotland's annual two day festival of the best contemporary music. Perthshire here we come . . .
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Older, wiser and possibly more content, PAUL WELLER can do no wrong, winning new fans while maturing with legions of die- hards. Is he Everyman or the changing man? Words: Alastair Mabbott
EARLIER THIS YEAR. if they'd still been around. or had decided to reform for a coffers- filling anniversary tour like the Sex Pistols. English new wave combo The Jam would have celebrated their twentieth anniversary as recording artists.
6 THELIST 27Jun—10lul 1997
In their absence. their old record company celebrated it for them. with the right and proper accolade accorded to any group who have proved their worth over time: a boxed CD set. The .lam. as if it was ever in doubt. have become a national treasure.
Paul Weller: ever changing moods
Their leading light Paul Weller. just about to turn 40. has dipped in and out of style thanks to some alarming fluctuations of fashion and the state of his own muse.
ln interview. he is terse yet efficient and it's hard to escape the feeling that talking to hacks comes low on his list of favourite pastimes. True to form. he acknowledges a fondness for nouveau soul singer D‘Angelo and the British. Marvin Gaye-influenced vocalist Lewis Taylor. as well as Supergrass. The Verve and the new Primal Scream album. His remaining soulboy fans will be pleased to hear he‘s played on half a dozen tracks for Carleen Anderson’s next album.
The Jam’s twenty—year legacy. boxed or otherwise. gave Weller ‘a good feeling‘. The prospect was. he says: ‘a bit kind of awe- inspiring. as it was twenty years ago. but I feel good about it.’ As for success. he‘s selling more albums and tickets these days than he has done for years. possibly ever. But his real satisfaction is more personal and has come more recently.
‘l‘m able to achieve what I hear in my head a lot of the time. and also to bring that off.‘ says Weller. ‘To be able to sing things I used to hear but couldn’t get to — to play things that are in my head. and that‘s really satisfying.‘
Just as positive is the fact he‘s shrugged off a lot of the pressure that surrounded him fifteen years ago. and he claims to be relieved that people aren’t hanging on his every word any more. If he allowed himself to think in those terms. Weller would probably conclude that elder statesman was a better job than spokesman for a generation. lle faces his encroaching 40th birthday with ambivalence.
‘lt's not like I’m jumping for joy about it.‘ he says. ‘I just have to accept it. I suppose. Perhaps people are right: perhaps life does begin at 40. Life began at 30 for me. really.‘
Which puts his rebirth contemporaneously with The Style Council‘s (‘0n/kwsions Of A Pop Group. Readjust your perceptions accordingly.
For all his determinedly retro tendencies. Weller is at his best when his ever-changing moods chime with the country‘s mood. and in those moments he can be as deliciously contemporary as anyone. The early Jam singles. while hardly punk. meshed perfectly