Aim High: Be One Percent

Steve Pilgrim is the eye-catching all-rounder in the Paul Weller band; he’s the Animal-esque drummer but also dabbles in acoustic guitars and vocals. Now the Liverpudlian musician – he’s an acclaimed solo artist in his own right – has launched a Charity project called ‘Be One Percent’. Sendawaythetigers caught up with Steve to chat Charity, Music and Apologies.
 So Steve explain the ‘Be One Percent’ initiative to us… 

Good opening question, I’m obsessed by the project. Put simply…. Be One Percent is a network of individuals who commit to giving 1% of their income each month to help some of the worlds poorest communities. The 1% ‘Pot” is allocated to a different project each month, we then feedback to our members how this changes things on the ground in a monthly email update. We find charities to partener with that have running costs at 10% or under, so as much of the money that is donated gets to where it is need most…. and Be One Percent is run completely voluntarily which makes collective giving a very powerful thing indeed.

And has the reaction been good?

So far so good. We started with 8 people last February and there are now nearly 90 people giving their 1% each month, anyone can join us and because we pool the money together it has a really big impact. To give examples…We’ve helped plant a whole forest worth of trees for communities in Uganda, sponsored an entire school feeding program in Malawi (providing school lunches for 351 Malawian school children for a whole year) and bought over 600 malaria nets with guarantied distribution. It’s a different project every month and people seem to be really excited that they can be part of a significant change.

How do you hope it will progress?

I’m really excited about what’s to come, our membership creeps up and our fundraising totals get bigger every month, so hopefully we’re on to a good thing. If anyone wants to signup go to

I have to ask you a little bit about being in Paul Weller’s band… Although I think first I owe you an apology – I reviewed the Roundhouse shows for ‘Louder Than War’ and described you (endearingly I must add) as ‘typically scruffy’ – I’m told by your wife Laura that you actually prefer ‘comparably scruffy’?

I’m a rocker in a Mod band so I haven’t got much of a chance. I did try the hair straighteners out once though… it was very very wrong!. They all take such pride in their clothes and sometimes they throw a smart polo shirt my way as a hint! As the drummer I can get away with it, it’s not pretty to drum for 2 hours in a suit!

You’ve been with Paul since 2008 when this Purple Patch began. What it’s like to be on tour with Paul (there’s a handful of upcoming spring European shows) – surely it’s a dream?

I certainly can’t come to you with a list of complaints. Its great to be on the road making original music and an honor to be working with someone so prolific and respected. The purple patch has rubbed some of the old school Weller fans up the wrong way, but Paul doesn’t get on stage to play his greatest hits….plus the gigs would need to be about 7 hours long to cover everybody’s favourites! No matter what he chooses for the set, somebody is gutted we don’t play ‘their fav’.  I think the new record is incredible, for someone who has made music in 5 decades (sorry Paul) to remain so groundbreaking and forward thinking, there are a select few in the music business that you could compare to Mr Weller.

And he’s played on some of your Solo work hasn’t he? Tell us about that…

I was incredibly lucky that he sat in on a few tracks for my album ‘Pixels and Paper’ It was odd giving him musical direction, but he can really play that guitar and piano! He was the real thing, and I suppose I shouldn’t have expected anything less. Boss la.

First Record bought? Bad by Michael Jackson
First Gig? My mums a singer, so I started going to her gigs when I was a nipper.
Favourite Weller song? Too many to choose. Be Happy Children off Sonik Kicks
Top 5 Albums (of all time)? Blue – Joni Mitchell, Blood on the Tracks – Bob Dylan, Five Leaves Left – Nick Drake, Graceland – Paul Simon, Heres Tom with the Weather – Shack
Liam or Noel? The Chief of course.
Drum Solo at the Albert Hall or Charidee Success? Drums solos are well over-rated, success for 1% would be awesome.
Hula Hoops (the toy) or Hula Hoops (the crisp)? The Crisp. Salt and Vinegar.
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