Josh Weller is no ordinary singer-songwriter Josh like Josh Rouse or Josh Ritter; he’s not that straight-up or, frankly, manly, and he has none of Paul Weller’s macho grit. But then, we’re talking about a performer/producer who wears a bowtie, spray-on jeans so tight you can see what he had for lunch, a vertical shock of jet black hair that appears to be ready to lift off and a look of permanent surprise. He resembles the creepy lead from David Lynch’s Eraserhead and the creature from Channel 4’s The IT Crowd, and he’s in that tradition of vengeful speccy nerds from Buddy Holly, who actually wasn’t that angry, to Elvis Costello, who made a brilliant career out of venting his spleen, mainly at women.
Weller doesn’t appear to have had much luck with the ladies either during his 21 years in this cruel world. His debut single, Pretty Girls, is a sort of male response to Kate Nash’s Foundations. Deceptively jaunty, it’s about “good-looking schmucks” and “ageing It Girls” and makes graves for attractive members of the fairer sex, with lines like, “Pretty girls are never nice/Cos they’ve never had to have a personality” and “We all pray that they’ll be ugly/When they’re 40/In their Marks & Spencer boots.” The song, he says, “was written about one girl in particular. I was punching well above my weight and she knew it.”
He hates himself and he wants to cry: in his song Circus, he identifies with life’s “freaks and midgets”. But he can laugh at himself, too. Weller, you can probably tell, is a fan of Woody Allen and Randy Newman. Born to a Mauritian mother and a British father, he spent his early years in Borneo, devouring his dad’s Elvis Presley records, his mum’s musical soundtracks and his sister’s Kylie albums. His late teens were spent studying at the Leeds College of Music, where he learned about rejection as well as how to how to play guitar, keyboards and saxophone. He cut his teeth in bands with giveaway names like the Love Handles and Introspection before going solo armed with a kazoo, a loop machine to accompany his voice and a loathing for all mankind.
As a one-man band he makes a decent fist of confessionals, and a sort of acoustic showtunes music inspired by Mel Torme, Tom Waits and Irving Berlin. He’s just undertaken his Under The Stairs tour, during which he travelled the country in his old Peugeot and played gigs on a sinking houseboat, in a fan’s granddad’s garage in the Fens and in a cupboard on a farm in Derbyshire. His next ventures include a MySpace series called Tourist Guiding With Josh Weller, an ironic travel show about London attractions, and a musical about a man who falls in love with a “super-strict” Christian. “It’s a musical comedy that takes a look at the hypocrisy of religion,” he says. “It’s a big, gay, fun romp.” We bet it is.
Josh Weller is available for corporate events, private shows, milestone celebrations (birthday, anniversary), fundraisers, festivals, and more.