Paul Weller, the Modfather himself, plays The Varsity Theater in Minneapolis on September 10. With a new single Brand New Toy, and a new album More Modern Classics: The Best of 1999-2014, Woking’s most famous feather–bouffanted son arrives stateside to display his longevity and protean creativity once again.
Constantly above fads and fashions, Weller is a trend setter rather than follower. Even his great friend Paul McCartney – “Macca” to the initiated – has eulogized the former Jam frontman, praising him for his constant, ceaseless reinventions and ability to enter unchartered territory. After the Jam’s 1982 demise and the breakup of The Style Council in 1989, Weller has been unafraid to irk longtime fans of both bands as he has attempted to follow his creative instincts. Although he insists that this is not, and never has been intentional, his priority as a musician must be to follow his own musical vision. Citing Keith Richards’ autobiography, Weller claims “I do if for me”.
In a potted biography, The Guardian has argued “In England, he is recognized as something of a national institution yet, because much of his songwriting is rooted in English culture, he has remained essentially a national rather than an international star”. This is a summary that the man himself would doubtless find dubious since he once remarked, back in 1994 in the same newspaper, "I do like England and I'm very conscious of the fact that I am English. But at the same time, 60 to 70% of my influences are American, like R&B. And the English bands I like — the Small Faces, the Who — their influences are R&B as well”.
Whatever his status on this side of the Atlantic Paul Weller remains a relevant and creatively evolving artist. Even younger musicians like Miles Kane, formerly of The Last Shadow Puppets, have recorded and performed alongside him, testimony to his ability to crossover and appeal to younger generations.
Tickets for the September show are $35 advance, $38 day of show and $49.50 with mezzanine access.