The Style Council Soul Deep book is now available to support via Kickstarter. Co-author Stuart Deabill tells us more.
Out of all of Paul Weller’s musical incarnations, the Style Council seems to be the one that has featured less of the spotlight over the years. Ok, there is Mr Cool’s Dream: The Complete History of the Style Council by Iain Munn, but that’s long out of print (unless you want a Kindle version). But nothing on the scale of Soul Deep.
Soul Deep is a new book that promises to go down the ‘coffee table’ route, examining the band in a new light and with a strong emphasis on imagery as well as the written word.
With that in mind, it seemed like a good idea to talk to one of the people behind it – and Stuart Deabill kindly spared some time to do just that. Over to Stuart…
1. Thanks for taking the time to talk about the book. But first up, can you tell me about the people behind the upcoming Soul Deep book?
There’s myself, fellow author Ian ‘Snowy’ Snowball and designer Steve Rowland.
I’ve worked with the prolific Snowy on 3 previous books about The Jam, Oasis and a potted history of London Clubland, and we both share a distinct love of The Style Council. I couldn’t do this book without him.
Steve, I’ve got to know these last couple of years properly and designs all my flyers and tees for the AFTN imprint I run. He shared the visual design for ‘Soul Deep’, and unlike most designers I know, gets back to you the same day.
2. You are all obviously fans of the Style Council-era of Paul Weller’s career. What’s the appeal of the band? Do you think TSC has been misrepresented or even underestimated over the years?
Personally I think The Style Council are like an untapped well. There’s very little that’s come since the demise in 1989, other than one book, a great box set and DVD, and many underwhelming compilations.
The group made some truly fantastic records, stood up for many political causes in a time when the working class where being shafted by the Thatcherite government, and on their night, as good a live band as you’ll see. So yes, defiantly underrated and underrepresented, on every level.
Not that it’s a competition with the past, but many people don’t realise that The Style Council outsold The Jam in global total sales, so that tells its own story.
3. What’s the thinking behind the book? What does it offer that other previous Weller/TSC books haven’t covered?
It’s a celebration of a group, through the words and pictures from original long time fans, and there are loads of new interviews with people who worked with TSC. We’ll also highlight the fantastic artwork that adorned each sleeve.
It’s very much a visual treat, and wherever possible, use as much memorabilia and many of the music press front covers the Council received in their 6-year career.
4. Has the book had any input from Paul Weller, Mick Talbot or Steve White? Are they aware of the project? If not, would you welcome their input?
Yes, all are aware and we hope to get contributions off all Paul, Mick, Steve and Dee.
5. Who else close to the band is likely to feature in the book?
Can’t give too much away at the minute, as we’re still in the early stages, but some major figures have agreed to talk to us.
6. I think you’ve already answered this, but is the book fully researched or is it still an ongoing project? If the main work is finished, how much time and research has it taken?
No, we’ve only just started to write it. We had to make sure the project was funded before we did any real work. However, as a team, we started plotting in December 2019, on design, who to approach, ideas, etc.
7. Is there anything or anyone you have been unable to work with or contact for the book?
Ask me again in July!
8. I know both yourself and Ian previously worked on the ‘Thick As Thieves’ book on The Jam. Does this book follow a similar line in terms of fan input?
To a degree. We want to put a face or an image to each written contribution this time.
It could be a photo of the person in the clobber of the day, a personal meet with any of the collective, or just a ticket stub of the gig their re-living.
We’re looking for short, punchy recollections rather than lengthy overviews.
9. From what I have seen of the book (the sample pages you can see here), the ‘look’ is likely to be a key part of the project. Is that Steve’s department?
The initial inspiration comes from Kevin Cummins ‘Manchester’ and Paul Anderson’s ‘Mod Art’, both coffee table type photo-led books, and I thought of Steve, who has produced some fantastic artwork for me in the past, to bring my ideas to life.
The concept is to complement the Council’s art and look, and give the pages breathing space. A bright visual treat. So to answer your question, yes!
We all want to produce a high-quality hardback that will be a benchmark for fan-based literature.
10. It’s interesting that you are going down the ‘crowdfunding’ route with this one. Was that always the intention? What are the benefits of crowdfunding a book compared to working with a traditional publisher?
We wanted to get the book out in 2020 and to be honest, I didn’t want a publisher coming in to either delay the process or change the design ideals.
I was up for crowdfunding as it gives us total control over the whole process and it also gives TSC fans a major part in helping us make the book idea become reality.
10. How is the crowdfunding via Kickstarter going? Are you at a point where you can breathe a sigh of relief and just push on to the finish line?
It’s been unbelievable. We reached our target in 11 hours!
The love for the group is stronger than ever and any preconceptions I had about maybe only reaching target towards the end of the campaign was smashed instantly.
We’re in a great position, and I can’t thank everyone who’s backed it enough. It’s enabled us to hit the ground running.
11. I know your focus is on this book, but do you see any further books on Paul Weller’s career to follow?
I’m sure we’ll get asked but that’s a swerve from me. That’s a 4-volume job!
12. Finally, what would you say is the lasting legacy of the Style Council?
I think the legacy is – they made some fantastic records that stand the test of time, inspired many to take an interest in the injustices of the time, wound up a few on the way, and looked f***ing great.
Pure Modernism from start to finish.
Huge thanks to Stuart for taking some time out (I know he’s very busy) to answer some questions about the book. If it sounds like something you are interested in, you can still get in now and support the book by getting your name down for a copy when it is published.
For more details and to do just that get yourself over to the Soul Deep Kickstarter website.