Exclusive John Hellier's interview, The making of "All too beautiful", third edition. (Part one)

Yann… How did the idea come to release a new version? Only fans demand or a will to update it?

JH The demand for the book has never wavered but it had been out of print for over 3 years due to the sad death of the publisher, Sean Body. Second hand copies go for silly prices on both Amazon.com and Ebay. One first edition hard back copy going into four figures! Sean’s colleague at Helter Skelter, Graeme Milton was in the process of resurrecting the company and his priority was to get All Too Beautiful back on the shelves as it was one of their best sellers and is indeed, although I say it myself, a bloody good book! I suggested to Graeme that if he was to re-print, why not re-package as well. The pic we’re now using on the front cover was originally on the back and it’s possibly the coolest shot of Steve ever!

What is really new on this new edition, except the cover? Hard work isn't it? Who is interviewed?

I also approached Ronnie Wood about adding a chapter on his hero and he was keen to do it. It wasn’t a good time for Woody as his marriage had broken up and he was getting lots of bad press about his new relationship with a girl 40 years his junior but nevertheless he came up with the goods. Also, since the last edition Steve Marriott’s long lost eldest daughter had turned up (all the way from New Zealand) so we’ve also included an interview that Mick Taylor done with her in 2008. She’s lovely and deserves her place in the book. Their were also a few typos that needed correcting and even a couple of factual corrections. The third edition is the ultimate edition

Yann… Always have been very curious about four hands written book... How does it work? Who did what? Are you the info provider and Paolo the writer? Is it that simple? I don't want to be nasty but in "The Changingman", Paolo writes "My biography"... I've been a bit surprised...

It’s not quite that simple. In the main I was the info supplier and over the course of nearly three years I conducted 77 interviews from which a large part of the story came. I would write the stories and feed them to Paolo as I done them, and he would tie and link everything together. I would then make sure everything was chronologically correct. I contributed to the writing and Paolo contributed to research so it was very much a 50/50 effort. A lot of people have asked why I didn’t do it solo but to be honest it would never have been finished. There just aren’t enough hours in the day for me. Paolo had always been keen to do the Marriott story so this seemed to be the best way to go about it. Paolo’s comments in Changinman are actually hurtful as I think even he would admit to knowing very little about Steve Marriott post 1969.

Yann… Of course, a question I can't miss, did you have any comment from Weller? From Small Faces family? Which one is the funniest? Any special memory?

Paul said that he’d read it three times. He thoroughly enjoyed it, despite pulling us up on a couple of lyric mistakes in the book! Small Faces family, well that did turn out to very problematic. Steve’s Mum took offence at some of the drug references and also our use of the word schizophrenia when describing Steve’s state of mind, particularly in the later years. That was always going to be difficult. Mums are Mums eh? Other family members were more upset with a few home truths (that emerged from the interviews) regarding themselves more than Steve. It’s a complicated family set up with lots of problems……say no more. The book itself is indeed warts and all and that is the right way to approach a biography. A biography is always more truthful than an autobiography. When writing about yourself one is always likely to be very choosy about which bits go in and which bits get left out. I wanted to throw it all in and in the main I did! It’s a great story of rags to riches and back again! There are funny stories, sad stories and even scary stories. (To be continued...)

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