14th May 2002
Prodigy's new single, 'Baby's Got A Temper', will be denied mainstream radio play because of its constant references to the 'date rape' drug, Rohypnol, NME can exclusively reveal.
In a scarely coincidental echo of the controversy stirred up by the band's infamous 1997 single 'Smack My Bitch Up', which was largely banned from the radio and its ultra-violent video on shown late night TV, 'Baby's Got A Temper' will not be featured on the daytime playlist of any major radio stations.
The single, released on july 1, is the Prodigy's first new material in five years. Descriped by main man Liam Howlett as "a wall of fucking noise", 'Baby's Got A Temper' is a brutal clash of hard beats, electronic rhythms, guitar riffs and Keith Flint's trademark dirty vocals. Despite its subject matter and the radio ban, it's likely to follow 'Firestarter', which it samples, to Number One.
The lyrics, written by Keith Flint, include chorus: "We love Rohypnol / She got Rohypnol/ We take Rohypnol / Just ot forget it all" and "This baby's got a temper / You'll never tame her". At one point, Flint simply chants "Rohypnol, Rohypnol, Rohypnol".
Rohypnol, the trade name for Flunitrazepam, is a tranquilizer which causes muscle relaxation and amnesia and has gained an infamous reputation as a 'date rape' drug following cases of it being mixed with alcohol to incapacitate victims and prevent them from resisting sexual assault.
Despite the obvious controversy any song celebrating Rohypnol is bound to cause, Prodigy insist their song has nothing to do with date rape.
Keith Flint to NME:
"I don't know its true medical title. Have I tried it? Oh yeah, absolutely. That's what the song is about. It's a reflection on going out, maybe doing cocaine, then doing downers. Y'know, some people do all manner of downers and Rohypnol is one of them.
"If I wanted Rohypnol, I could get it off girlfriends of mine, so I wrote about that, how punk they are. I respect that. A lot of girls I know are more out there than guys. The song is just thoughts summoned up about nights out, getting high, brinnning yourself back down again. In its original format, it was quite slow, drugged-out kind of song. Almost smacked out - which I wasn't doing myself, at all. But that's where it was comming from. "
Asked about the radio ban, Flint said: "I don't really care. If I'm writing a tune, I have to visualise it onstage, not on Radio 1. "
As NME went to press, Radio 1 had placed an urgent request to Prodigy's record company, XL, for a copy to be sent to them, warning: "We always take a responsible approach to the records that we play. "
"We've literally just finished it so it will be a couple of weeks until that stage. We know where we're comming from and we're not trying to change our story. This is what the record is. It's a reflection on what goes on in Keith's mad head and his mad world. The overall feel is like, Keith gets fucked up, goes out with these girls, comes back and writes a song reflecting on his nights out with these girls. He came with those lyrics and I'm like, ,Fucking cool'. I like it. Have I tried Rohypnol? Absolurely, yeah. It's like modern day valium. "
'Baby's Got A Temper' also includes the line "She's gonna be pretty printed on money / Just like your royal family / This time there can be no funeral" - but it was written before the death of the Queen Mum. "That was good luck, wasn't it?" Flint told to NME. "But that lyric is actually a statement about how hardcore these girls are. "
The new Prodigy album, 'Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned', is now expected in 2003. "I've got 80 per cent of the album sowhere in my studio," Howlett said to NME. "I've just got to assemble it. The other 20 per cent is going to be collaborations and stuff. "
The Prodigy, who headline the Reading and Leeds festivals in August, are currently working on ideas for the single's video.