He’s come a long way, baby
INTRODUCING Norman Cook three years sober.
The British DJ, trading as Fatboy Slim since 1996, spent most of those years in serious party mode being paid to drink on the job.
But these days he’s using two words you never thought you’d hear pass Fatboy Slim’s lips: natural high.
Cook has done 70 DJ gigs this year replacing alcohol with secondhand elation.
‘‘ I’m feeding off the audiences’ euphoria,’’ Cook says.
‘‘ In rehab they call it ‘ euphoric recall’. That’s meant to be a bad thing. But when I see everybody else larking about, it makes me feel high.
‘‘ I know that sounds like a real cop- out, the idea of a natural high, but it’s not that natural. I need over- excited drunk people around me to engender it. If you see me on stage I still look and act as irresponsible and juvenile as I ever have. But it is good to remember it the next day.’’
Cook is playing the Future Music Festival in Australia next year. His last visit, Good Vibrations in February 2009, was so debauched that he flew home to the UK and right into rehab.
‘‘ Yep, straight into rehab from Australia,’’ he says. ‘‘ I don’t know what that says about me and Australia.’’
Cook ( pictured), who turned 48 this year, is preparing for the next phase of his life.
He and wife Zoe Ball had a daughter Nelly last year, a sister for Woody, now 10.
‘‘ Weirdly enough, being a DJ suits having a family,’’ Cook says.
‘‘ You do tend to work weekends, I leave Friday morning, get back Sunday night and have the rest of the week at home. But when you’ve got a record out, you have to tour it for six months.’’
There’s no new Fatboy Slim album on the horizon, the last release being a collaboration with David Byrne in 2010.
There’s a one- off single Get Naked, a collaboration with Beardyman and Riva Starr and Cook has produced a pop band from his home town of Brighton called Rizzle Kicks. But that’s about it.
‘‘ After 25 years of doing this, I think I’ve earned the right to not go and make a record every two years,’’ Cook says.
‘‘ I’m at the point where I don’t feel obliged to have something new out. To be honest, I’m not inspired and
there’s no point in making a record unless I’ve got a real bee in my bonnet.’’
For Future, Cook is promising ‘‘ dirty party acid house’’.
Don’t expect a greatest hits set, he’s more excited by other people’s music.
‘‘ There are certain obligations, but it doesn’t rule my life,’’ he says. ‘‘ I have fun with it. I put references to my stuff in there rather than just playing it.
‘‘ Things like Right Here Right Now and Rockafeller Skank always get referenced, but not necessarily played.’’
Cook’s career began as bass player in British indie band The Housemartins. The band reunited to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their debut London 0 Hull 4 this year in private.
‘‘ We made a pact we’d never re- form,’’ Cook says.
‘‘ I met up with them all for the anniversary of London 0 Hull 4, and over lunch we said, ‘ So about a reunion, we still sticking to the principles of the pact?’ and everyone said, ‘ Yep’.’’