Friday, July 30, 2010

July 31

One of the trickiest things to achieve in the music business is a musical identity. It's twice the challenge for a DJ, who plys his trade by, essentially, repurposing other people's sounds. Norman Cook managed that trick, although it certainly took a while - and a lot of aliases.
Born in Brighton, UK, he was putting together block parties in his teens when he helped a friend out of a pinch, replacing the bassist for his friend's band on the eve of their national tour. That's how he became the bassist for the Housemartins.

The Housemartins sounded a lot like the Smiths, but less angsty. That was good enough to get them on the charts a few times before they called it a day in 1988.

After the Housemartins, he returned to the turntables. By 1989, Norman Cook had a top 30 hit, "Blame it on the Bassline." The guest rapper on the track, MC Wildski, joined Cook's next band, Beats International; their number 1 track, "Dub Be Good to Me", was a hit mashup before there was a mashup trend. In 1994, Freak Power was Cook's foray into acid jazz. In 1995, he whipped up a house album under the name "Pizzaman".

All these projects led him to a sound that he began releasing under the name Fatboy Slim. In 1997, he had enough Fatboy Slim songs for a proper album, Better Living Through Chemistry. Fatboy Slim is his most successful alias; see how many of these songs you recognize:

In 2009, he released "I Think We're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat," under the name of Brighton Port Authority - essentially, a Fat Boy Slim duets album. Each of the album's tracks features different collaborator, such as Dizzee Rascal, DJ Danger Mouse, and Iggy Pop.

This video features the "Hitchcock cameo moment" that Cook normally fits into every Fat Boy Slim video.

For his latest album, he delivered Fat Boy Slim's first concept album: 'Here Lies Love', featuring David Byrne, tells the story of former Philippines First Lady Imelda Marcos and her personal assistant. Meanwhile, Fatboy Slim the deejay continues to play for arena-level crowds across the globe...

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