My Firsts: Jane Weaver | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, May 29th, 2024  

My Firsts: Jane Weaver

Ice Cream for George

Mar 12, 2021 Web Exclusive Photography by Photography by Nic Chapman Bookmark and Share

My Firsts is our email interview series where we ask musicians to tell us about their first life experiences, be it early childhood ones (first word, first concert, etc.) or their first tastes of being a musician (first band, first tour, etc.). For this My Firsts we talk to British singer/songwriter/guitarist Jane Weaver.

Weaver’s tenth solo album, Flock, just came out last week on Fire. It is the follow-up to 2017’s Modern Kosmology and 2019’s Loops In The Secret Society (a remixed version of the former album). According to a press release, Flock is the album Weaver “always wanted to make, the most genuine version of Jane Weaver, complete with unpretentious day-glo pop sensibilities, wit, kindness, humor, glamour” and that it was “produced on a complicated diet of bygone Lebanese torch songs, 1980s Russian Aerobics records, and Australian Punk.”

Read on as Weaver talks about watching Grease while covered in Coca-Cola, getting hammered off Pernod as a teenager, giving George Clinton a lift, and her super awkward first music interview.

First broken bone?

I fell down the stairs at school when I was 11 and fractured my foot. It was lunchtime and the bigger kids behind me were rushing down the stairs to get to the dining room, I tripped over and then everyone piled down the stairs after me and I was left like roadkill at the bottom. My dad had to come from work and take me to hospital. The most thrilling part was the cool PE teacher Mr. Glynn picked me up and carried me to my dad’s car and all the girls were jealous.

First person you kissed?

He was called Eddie, he wore a leather jacket and was the year above me at school. He was really cool, good at football, and wore cords and Adidas trainers. We were at a party and I picked up my friend’s little dog and was holding it when Eddie moved in for a kiss. I just remember being really shocked as I was really shy and had never really spoken to him and worried the dog might be crushed! Also I remember Eddie had been eating cheese and onion crisps.

First movie you saw in the movie theater?

I remember going to see Grease at my local theatre when it first came out. There was a huge queue around the car park and we were all waiting in line for ages. My mum bought me a bottle of Coke to take in with me. I was really bored queueing and started swinging my bag around for fun. It was denim and had the Coca-Cola logo on it. Suddenly the bottle of Coke inside exploded and went all over me and other people in the queue. I was really embarrassed and people were laughing at me. We got to see the film but I was soaked and covered in sticky Coca-Cola.

First favorite song?

I distinctly remember being really young…maybe four, and hearing “If You Leave Me Now” by Chicago and really loving it. It’s got that really dreamy vibe about it but it’s very emotive. Whenever I hear it, it makes me feel happy and sad. I was daydreaming recently how I wanted this to be played at my funeral to make everyone cry, and then as I was thinking this IT STARTED PLAYING ON THE RADIO! and it really freaked me out, so then the rest of the day I was driving really careful and thinking there was some Final Destination thing going on.

First musician you had a crush on?

There was a boy band from the 1970s called Bay City Rollers. I was really little and had a crush on Les, the lead singer, I had the band T-shirt, scarf, and bag and I carried it everywhere with me. I used to dream about meeting him and hanging around with the band but all very innocent.

First time you got drunk?

We went on a family holiday to Majorca when I was 13. My dad bought lots of Duty Free alcohol at the airport which was in our apartment. My parents would go to the restaurant and sometimes my older brother and I would have drinks whilst their backs were turned. I used to like Pernod and lemonade. One night I decided to have loads of them and I got completely wasted. I remember my mum and dad having to prop me up in the hotel lift because I couldn’t stand up, I then proceeded to puke all night and felt really ill for days. I have never touched Pernod since.

First job you had?

I worked at the local supermarket on the checkout every Saturday. It was before digital tills and you had to input all the prices in with these big metal heavy buttons. It was hard work and seemed to take ages. You got hauled in to the boss’ office if your end of day total was under or sometimes over. There was a group of women who had progressed from till operators and promoted to customer service. Some of them were nice, but some thought they were so cool and loved shouting at you if you did something wrong.

First car you owed?

I bought a VW Campervan when I was 19 for £800. It was the time of free festivals and the travelling scene. I went everywhere in it. It had a little cooker and double bed so it served me well at various festivals like Glastonbury, Reading, plus the notorious Castlemorton Common Festival rave in 1992. I even got to drive George Clinton around Manchester in it once after a gig. He got in and insisted I find ice cream for him. He loved it even though his tour manager was freaking out.

First instrument?

I got a brown Bontempi Keyboard when I was 10 for Christmas, I distinctly remember wearing brown dungarees and playing along to Tubeway Army when it was on Top of the Pops. We didn’t have a video recorder then so it was all playing along to anything on TV for fun. I’m sure I drove my mum mad. The auto chord buttons really helped make up little songs. I still kind of do this now.

First major disappointment?

The first band I was in signed a record deal with an indie label funded by Polydor. It was a dream come true. We recorded our album and it was a big deal for us, but just before we sent it off, our A&R man at Polydor got sacked and so all his projects went to the floor. The new guy didn’t want to take us on so we were shelved. We had no money to re-record nor buy back the masters so couldn’t legally release the album. This was my first experience of being in record label jail. I also remember going to a payphone and crying to my publisher because they couldn’t give me my next advance of money because the album wasn’t coming out.

First professional recording session?

In the late 1980s the band I was in won a competition in the Liverpool Echo. The prize was £600 to record in a studio. We decided that instead of using the money wisely we’d blow the budget for two days in Amazon Studios where all the top Liverpool bands recorded. It was a really exciting experience. I remember the producer Ian Brodie was in there, and had a tantrum by the pool table because someone had forgot his vegetarian lasagne and he threw the pool cue down aggressively. We got to work with Ken Nelson, the producer/engineer, who went on to record Coldplay’s albums. He was very polite and nice to us considering we didn’t have a clue.

First interview with music journalist types?

When I was 18ish the band I was in, Kill Laura, got some attention in the UK music paper Melody Maker. We had to travel to London to have an interview with legendary journalism duo The Stud Brothers. We got to the interview and one of the Stud Brothers had been partying and drinking vodka all night and he was absolutely wasted and incoherent. The other was very reserved and serious. It was a complete disaster, really awkward, and the wasted brother fell asleep at the table.

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