A Man Of Great Promise

Album: Our Favourite Shop (1985)
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Songfacts®:

  • Rhythm guitarist Dave Waller was a founding member of The Jam. However, in 1973 he came to the decision that poetry, and not music, was his true calling, and walked away from group. Waller was to remain a close friend of Paul Weller and it was he suggested the "Town Called Malice" song title as a means of describing urban life.

    Sadly, Waller died of a heroin overdose and Weller wrote this elegy for his fallen friend. "He was very, very into drugs and he was a very literary sort of person," he told Mojo. "He'd read a lot. He put us onto Dylan and Donovan, saying, 'You've gotta listen to these words,' which we never really thought about before. He was a really good poet himself and he probably could've done something, I think."

    "But he fell victim to smack. It's like he was destined to do that, really," Weller continued. "Even when we were at school, he was reading William Burroughs' Junkie. He was just too heavily into it. But it was a waste and I think really that's what the song's about this life, this potential, has been snuffed out."

    He concluded: "But it says 'like a moth going to a flame'... He kind of knew what he was getting into."

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