Paul Weller has said that he has lost fans because he refuses to be “a heritage act”.
The singer-songwriter, who was formerly the frontman of The Jam, discussed his long musical career and revealed that he has fought to avoid becoming classed as a heritage artist.
Although first finding fame in the iconic British rock band in the ‘70s and ‘80s, and later forming the band The Style Council in 1982, Weller has spent the majority of his career as a solo artist – starting in 1992.
Despite this, he says, there always have been people who think he should be sticking to releasing songs that sound like his former bands.
“A few years ago there was a thing where they were talking about heritage acts… I am not going down that road, mate – I’m not a heritage act,” he said on his Desperately Seeking Paul podcast. “I had to fight that term, my own little fight in a sense to get through all that stuff.”
He continued, recalling the impact that the “fight” had on his career as a solo act. “I probably lost a certain amount of audience along the way in this past 10 or so years – the ones that just wanted to hear The Jam stuff.
“But they’ve kind of gone now, I guess they go and see [ex-bandmate] Bruce Foxton’s band or other people – whatever they want to do, whatever makes them happy.”
Later, he reaffirmed that he is glad he fought the label of being a heritage act and advised other musicians to follow their instincts rather than follow expectations.
“It’s been worth it because I’ve proved myself right. If you just plough through that and follow your programme and what you think it should be, eventually you will get there,” he explained. “But it’s easy to get sidetracked by people saying, ‘Maybe you should do this, or you could do that, or make it like the old record’… No, just follow your vision, if you’ve still got a vision.”
Since launching his solo career, Weller has gone on to release 16 solo albums. The most recent is 2021’s ‘Fat Pop (Volume 1)’, which reached the top of the Official UK Albums Chart and was given a four-star review by NME.
Back in November, Weller announced details of a UK tour, set to kick off later this spring. The dates kick off with a stop at the Lighthouse venue in Poole on April 4 and continue the following day at the Beacon in Bristol.
From there, he’ll stop in Newport, Southend, Leicester, Sheffield and others, all running throughout the month. The shows draw to a close with a gig in Cambridge on April 21. Visit here to buy tickets.
The run of tour dates follows a previously-announced set of UK gigs for this year. Taking place over the summer, these include shows at King John’s Castle in Limerick, Trinity College in Dublin, the Open Air Theatre in Scarborough, and a sold-out show at the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade.