Turning all your joy to pain, in pursuit of learning.
February 16, 2013 8:25 AM   Subscribe

Into Tomorrow, is a documentary about Paul Weller.
posted by timsteil (16 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Now That's what I call Entertainment.

I'm trying to decide if I want to see I Can't Believe It's The Jam (without Weller) right now, and this might sway my opinion one way or the other.

I might not be a huge fan of what he's been doing for the last decade or three, but The Jam were awesome beyond awesomeness.
posted by Mezentian at 8:31 AM on February 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

The newly released Jam discography box set was my one and only Christmas gift to myself this year.

Not that The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame deserves to be taken seriously, but it's just insane that The Jam haven't been inducted.
posted by davebush at 8:37 AM on February 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Even though his career has taken many turns since then, he'll always be RoboCop to me.
posted by item at 8:42 AM on February 16, 2013 [5 favorites]

Dammit, item. If only I had already been logged in...
posted by bpm140 at 8:57 AM on February 16, 2013

You people, as fine as you are, are cads and bounders.
Everyone knows Buckaroo Banzai is RoboCop.
The eighth dimension is grimdark Detroit.
posted by Mezentian at 9:14 AM on February 16, 2013

I like Paul Weller, but for seriously serious, a documentary about Peter Weller would be amazing. Maybe after he wraps up his PhD in Italian Renaissance art history.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:48 AM on February 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

I saw the Jam in L.A. sometime after All Mod Cons, maybe 1979 or 1980. Pretty small audience, and a short but fun show. After I was just starting to drift away, ears ringing, when Paul Weller walked up to my friend and I and asked if we wanted to have a beer backstage. (My recollection was Royce Hall, UCLA, but I can't be sure.) I was a bit stunned, but we stood around drinking our beer, and he asked us what other bands we liked, how we'd heard about the Jam, what we did, etc. Unpretentious, very friendly, trying to make connections like you would with someone you'd just met at a party.
Then the press wanted to take some pictures of the band, and I guess since they were taking pictures of a punk band they wanted punk pictures. "Spit for us, Paul" etc. The posing and the questions were all framed around a sort of caricature of what the press expected a punk band to be. Weller left pretty soon after. I was left with a strong impression of the disconnect between the person I'd been talking to and the image construction that went on after, and the sense that Weller knew it was a game he had to play, but one that he was pretty uncomfortable with.
posted by Killick at 11:34 AM on February 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

I saw the Jam in L.A. sometime after All Mod Cons, maybe 1979 or 1980. ... (My recollection was Royce Hall, UCLA, but I can't be sure.)

*fires up Jam tour history*

Royce Hall is correct! It was April 21, 1979, and was the final date of the tour (which, relatively speaking, was more successful than their previous American tour, in which they were forced to tour arenas opening for Blue Oyster Cult).

Unpretentious, very friendly, trying to make connections like you would with someone you'd just met at a party.

Aw, this is sweet. Weller was often accused of being especially grumpy/stern/humorless during his Jam days (to be fair: he comes off as fair-to-partly unbearable in his interviews from that period), but he always had the reputation of being really great with his fans in the UK, so it's good to hear he was appreciative of the U.S. fans as well, even as he actively disliked the way the band was marketed/managed here. I think he long had a love-hate relationship with the states, and grew increasingly frustrated over the decades of not being able to make it as big in the U.S. as he did back home; I remember him periodically making huffy noises in the '90s about how, if he had his way, he'd stop touring the states entirely. (Though in the past decade he seems to have totally made his peace with being a cult act here, and luckily as a Weller fanatic I live in L.A., which is one of the two cities in North America where he will consistently play at least a date or two every couple of years. For which I should thank you, Killick, for contributing to his fondness for his L.A. fans in the first place!)
posted by scody at 12:25 PM on February 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

Cool! Thanks for looking that up, scody. Nothing like that has happened to me before or since, so you'd think I'd remember.
It's kind of hard to imagine the Jam opening for Blue Oyster Cult.
posted by Killick at 12:48 PM on February 16, 2013

"fire's up Jam tour history"

Like the greatest robot ever!
posted by timsteil at 12:51 PM on February 16, 2013

I've met Paul Weller, he is indeed a bit grumpy and humorless (I suppose unless you are one of his mates, or his late dad, or a drinking pal, or a young lady), but not a bad dude.

I've been a fan of his career, to me he's a British version of a Neil Young sort of artist - has to follow his muse, turns out dross and gold both, is usually true to following his nose on that quest, and is genuinely trying. And when he turns corners, its often sonically interesting. And, he has developed a fairly soulful voice over the years. From a kid of 16 in the Jam, to over the hill in his late twenties and out again, that is a path full of interesting music.

As for his relations to the US, its interesting - as so much of what matters to him comes from the US, soul music, RnB, Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye, as much as he is very conscious of his Britishness, his Wilfred Owen/Beatles/Traffic/NickDrake. At his best, he fuses these sources organically.

His career dead ends every so often, and he turns into a plodder, but he usually forces his way out. However, usually some people get turfed over the side in the process - usually a romantic partner, but sometimes musical ones.

The one that makes no sense to me is when he abruptly parted with Steve White, who I think is one of the lightest, deftest rock drummers and was so much a part of the richness of the sound of albums like Wild Wood. I think the kid he got to take his place is a bog standard plodding thumper. I suppose that's what he wanted to go for, but I thought that was one of the more fruitful musical partnerships ( in the end, he treated him like a freelance employee and just dumped him).
posted by C.A.S. at 2:04 PM on February 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've met Paul Weller, he is indeed a bit grumpy and humorless (I suppose unless you are one of his mates, or his late dad, or a drinking pal, or a young lady), but not a bad dude.

...or at least a middle-aged lady who's still younger than he is! He's been very kind and friendly every time we've met; the last time we hung out for about an hour and mostly gabbed, over beers, about our favorite Bowie albums. (For the record: we agreed on Low.)

I really agree with your observation about him being a kind of Neil Young figure who just follows his muse, even when it leads him into some weird dead-ends. He does always find his way out, often in crazily surprising ways (I still find it amazing that in a couple of years he went from phoning in As Is Now to producing 22 Dreams, which for my money is one of the finest albums of his entire career, Jam included), and you're right that it does usually involve abruptly dumping various people from his life. Steve White's departure did indeed seem the most surprising of the lot, and while I don't think Steve Pilgrim is as bad a drummer as all that, he certainly doesn't have that extraordinary touch that Whitey has.

I think Weller's a guy who just can't have the same people around him for too long (as far as I can tell, Whitey was pretty much the person outside his immediate family he kept in his life the longest); he somehow needs these periodic personal upheavals to reinvent/rediscover what he's good at. Which has always been my consolation when I look back at my junior high diaries with "Mrs. Scody Weller" doodled in the margins.
posted by scody at 2:45 PM on February 16, 2013

The best $5 I ever spent was on a Jam greatest hits with about 20 songs.. the problem is it's so good I haven't explored further. I have an Uncut issue somewhere where a bunch of people talk about their favorite Jam songs. Craig Finn's is Down In The Tube Station at Midnight, but I prefer Going Underground.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 6:00 PM on February 16, 2013

Aw, I love the Jam. Paul Weller will always have a special place in my heart because of them. I've never been interested in anything he's done since. Still I could probably sit through a documentary about him. There are so many great Jam songs, I don't really think I could pick just one favorite. It depends on my mood, sometimes it's Smithers Jones, sometimes Modern World, sometimes Tonight at Noon.
posted by evilDoug at 7:27 PM on February 16, 2013

"Life from a Window" is one of the greatest things Weller ever wrote and it hardly ever gets mentioned. Love that song.
posted by davebush at 9:59 PM on February 16, 2013

Weller's very talented, no matter what he does. I never really got into the later stuff, but the early Jam were really tight, about the tightest I've ever seen a band, great stuff, huge energy, very exciting, great songs, etc. Anyway: In The City, live.
posted by carter at 10:03 PM on February 16, 2013

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