Selected by Dan Grunebaum
Freshly cleared of rape charges in connection with an incident in 1996, former Jam and Style Council frontman Paul Weller revisits Japan for a long overdue tour to present his latest album,
Best known as the "Modfather," and as the leader of the Jam and later the Style Council, Paul Weller had reached the nadir of his career in 1990, without either a band or a record contract for the first time in 13 years. But, influenced by the emerging house and acid jazz movements, he began to write new material, putting together a new band, Paul Weller Movement, in autumn that year.
Debuting with a series of UK tours in ' Paul Weller released his first solo single, "Into Tomorrow," on his own Freedom High label. Dispensing with the "Movement" tag, the Paul Weller band went on to issue their debut album,
Paul Weller, in 1991 on Pony Canyon here in Japan, where he has always been accorded a hero's welcome.
With the release of Wild Wood in '94, the singer-songwriter was finally able to reestablish himself in his native UK. The inspired singles "Sunflower" and "The Weaver" reached the charts, while Weller capped his comeback with a euphoric set at the Glastonbury Festival.
Stanley Road, named after the street on which Weller grew up, appeared next, featuring Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher on the single "Walk On Gilded Splinters." The follow-up,
Heavy Soul, was issued in 1997, preceding the release of Heliocentric last spring.
"At this stage of the game, it's unlikely that Weller will win any new converts," wrote a reviewer for Q magazine. "In that sense,
Heliocentric is probably for the legions of diehards alone, and so, for them, there are many, many delights to be found within this fifth solo album."
A recent April 24 gig at the BBC Radio Theatre in London gave a glimpse of what Tokyo fans can expect in his upcoming solo acoustic tour. Alone on stage, Weller performed songs off Heliocentric as well as fan-pleasing Jam and Style Council classics.
"Incredible," gushed a BBC reviewer. "Reflective, romantic, and, well, just superbly performed."
Paul Weller plays Shibuya AX on July 12 and Akasaka Blitz on July 16. See listings for details.