It was difficult because of Mum’s death and then moving on, having a new mother. “All the family were concerned for me, they were worried.
The spiritual singer, songwriter finally turned a corner when he saw a vision on the family farm in Sussex that felt like his mother Linda. I started doing heavier drugs but it wasn’t an overdose or anything like that” he says.
“I had that dark period and then hit a bit of a climax.
I thought ‘I need to be responsible now, I am 30 years old you can’t just keep doing this’. I don’t want it to sound cheesy, but I was in the dark quite a lot, literally, I was in the woods and I saw an ethereal light shining. “Dad was in the press saying he had a bit of a heart flutter. It was difficult for everyone at that time but some good came from it.” It was the beginning of a tentative reconciliation which has now transformed their relationship.
“When I was 20 my mother died and I went off the rails a little bit. “I got heavily into Nirvana, a bit of Marilyn Manson, these heavy bands. “I was finding myself and I was drinking and doing a little bit of drugs.” He smoked his first marijuana joint at 16 but after his mother’s death he admits: “I was getting high, mainly on cannabis.” James’ increasing isolation worsened when his father met Heather in 1999. “I don’t have a problem with Heather now because she is Beatrice’s mum but at the time it was difficult for me, I was so into Kurt Cobain and this mentality so I didn’t really like her. “I was also pretty sceptical even of Dad being so commercial, but now I really embrace that, it’s amazing what he does, it’s really rock and roll.
They soon began a relationship, later marrying, and it caused such a rift that James and Paul barely spoke for years. “We drifted quite far apart, it was a difficult period. I had to strike out on my own and I needed a bit of time to grieve my mum’s death.” James was living in Brighton, waiting on tables, and while his sister Stella was forging an international career in fashion, he descended even further into a life of drugs.
Now, sitting in his Nashville hotel, where he is performing two nights at the legendary Bluebird Cafe, James is matter of fact about his lost years.He said: “The estrangement was partly because of Heather. It wasn’t a problem, I think it was just once, it wasn’t that bad.It has taken 35 years for James Mc Cartney to step out from his father’s shadow.In his 20s, the son of Beatles legend Paul Mc Cartney shunned his father, hated his new step-mother and descended into a dark world of drink and drugs.When he turned to Class A drugs - with terrifying horse tranquiliser ketamine - even his sisters cut ties with him. His father and the step-mother, one-time model Heather Mills, are divorced, and he has reconciled with his dad and he has found the confidence to finally perform the songs he has been writing since he was 17.James admits his life was turned upside down when his mother Linda died of breast cancer in 1998 at the family’s ranch in Arizona.