Sunday, November 25, 2007

Hewitt comes to bury Weller, not to praise him

Paolo Hewitt has carved out quite a niche for himself over the years, writing official Jam biographies and collaborating with Paul Weller, but it appears that the Mod Boswell has fallen out with his Johnson. The Mail gleefully previews the latest Weller book from Hewitt - The Changing Man - which shows signs of having been written after the pair fell out at the start of 2006:

"After lunch one day, Simon Halfon (his designer) gave Paul and me a lift in his 1967 Mustang," Hewitt remembers.

"I was sitting in the back, Paul and Simon up front. Simon, who was driving, turned on the car radio. 'Turn that shit off,' Paul snapped.

"'For God's sake,' Simon shouted back, "it's you, you idiot."

"And it was. It was his song The Changing Man."

To be fair, the stripped down demos that finally got a release a couple of years ago showed that the official releases at that time had been totally overproduced - maybe it's fair that Weller didn't recognise his own works.

Hewitt appears to suggest that many of Weller's problems might be down to the drugs:
After his marriage broke up, Weller began dabbling in drugs.

"It was the beginning of a period in his life characterised by a regular ingestion of chemicals," says Hewitt.

"Until then he had steered clear of them.

"He had tried Ecstasy once - he took a quarter of a pill on New Year's Eve 1990 at a club in Paddington and nibbled on my ear for five minutes. But it was only in the mid-Nineties when, as the Blur musician Damon Albarn so succinctly put it, 'a blizzard of cocaine descended on London' that Paul really turned his attention to chemicals.

"Cocaine was his thing, as it was for many others."

... and also, erm, Malcolm McDowell:
Weller usually abhorred violence, according to Hewitt, but he was also fascinated by it.

"I remember one day asking him what he'd got up to the night before and him replying that he had watched A Clockwork Orange 'for the millionth time'. Then he added, 'I got to stop watching it,' as if he was deriving some kind of unhealthy pleasure from it.

"There is a mean streak in Paul that in part mirrors the film's main character, Alex, and his violent tendencies."

Hewitt's reluctant to reveal what the falling-out was about, but it was bad enough to turn hagiographer into character hitman.