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I’ve Firestarted So I’ll Finish

Before we go any further, I want to put on the record that I consider Mel Smith to be one of the wittiest,most intelligent and downright sexy men ever to have lived. I mention this because I’d hate Maxim Reality to think I was in any way hurt beyond belief and severely depressed when he said I was a deadringer for the big-boned comedian, ”You’re not as fat as him,” he professes good-naturedly, ”but you’re got the same sort of face.” Cheers. Three hours to go until they lay waste to the Point and in time honored Spinal Tap tradition, The Prodigy are arguing on the phone with room service because the sandwiches they’ve just delivered are cheese-less. Thank God they don’t have a drum, me or I’d still be picking out theshrapnel. While the tour manager takes care of the dairy produce conundrum - ”two hundred quid a night and you don’t even have any Easi-Singles”-it’s down to the serious business of extracting as much poop as possible from ”Britain’s outrageous cyber punk sensations” (The Sun).

As a long and fervent admirer of Jeremy Paxman, I’ve decided to go for a rapid fire interview technique which eliminates unnecessary waffle and gets straight to the kernel of the nut that needs cracking.Or something like that.Alas there’s to be no pictorial record of our verbal jousting because they’re not in full Mummy-that-man-over-there’s-scaring-me mid. It’s a question of degree, of course, the band still looking for all the world like they’ve stepped off the set of a Mad Max movie.

Stuart Clarke: Lads any exotic new piercings you want to tell us about?
Liam Howlett: Me bad Keith were going to get our dicks done but we bottled out at the last moment.
Keith Flint: I’ve had a few piercing nightmares with things splitting and getting infected. The idea of having pus dribbling out me dick isn’t very appealing, but it’s on my list of things-to-have-skewered-in-97. I’m not sure if it hurts or not. Everyone toldme I’d be in fucking agony when I got my tongue done, but apart from it swelling up to twice it’s size for a week it was cool.

No it doesn’t hurt a bit.
Keith: What, you’ve had yours done?
Well, er, a friend of mine was telling me about having his Love Missile F1-11 pierced in London. The worst bit was when I ...sorry, he was warned by the bloke doing it that his bowles might relax when the needle went in. But thankfully a change of underwear was not required.
Keith: This mate of your’s would’nt happen to look like Mel Smith, would he?
Maxim: I got my nipple done, but because it’s really small it went under the skin. I tell you, man, for six months I wouldn’t let anyone fucking touch me on that side.

On to more savoury matters. Who’s your favourite Spice Girl?
Liam: The one with short dark hair. Victoria, I think it is.
Leeroy: I don’t know what the blonde one’s doing in there; she’s a disater.
Maxim: I like the one who got her tits out, she’s got balls. Metaphorically speaking.
Keith: Geri? She’s not actually good-looking. None of them are what I’d call particulary fine. They appeal to a more oooey-oooey-oooey-get-’em-out crowd. You know, pissed up blokes who reckon they might, if they’re really lucky, be in with a chance of pulling.
Liam: They’re pub cabaret singers who’ve been given a Richard & Judy makeover. I’m surprised they’ve done so well as they have because, by and large, little boys aren’t interested in girls.
Keith: Nah, they’d rather shag footballers.

What do you think of our own national heroes, Boyzone?
Liam: Boyzione make Take That look fucking credible.
Keith: Take That danced, they sang, they put on a fucking good show and towards the end of they’re career they became a credible pop group. The thing I really hate about Boyzone is that they’re so unnatural.20-year-old kids dressing in tweed suits because that’s what their manager tells ’em to do. And what’s with all thes covers?’ Words’ was crap 20 years ago, so why be crap with it again now?
Liam: Give it its respect, that Gabrielle and East 17 record is really soulful. Who’s the dwarfy one who went out with thatgirl from Eastenders? Brian Harvey? That guy can sing.

Others records that’ve given you a buzz this year?
Liam: Manic Street Preachers, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine.
Keith: The new Beck album’s fucking great.
Maxim: East Coast hip hop’s been good in 96. The West Coast’s been a bit too gangstary.
Keith: The only dancey stuff I’ve liked is Underworld and The Chemical Brothers. I’ve stopped going to clubs because 99% of what they play is bollocks.

Were your record company as miffed as Moby’s when you announced you were moving away from techno?
Liam: The thing with Moby is he really has gone rock’n’roll. He’s thrown his keyboards away and started writing what, in my opinion, is bad hardcore. With us, we’ve still got loads if dance elements in our music. I mean ’Firestarter’ was a dancesong with rock attidude, so XL haven’t got a problem with it.
Leeroy: Moby is writing dance music under a psuedonym, isn’t he?
Liam: I heard on MTV saying the only dance stuff he likes nowadays is the cheesy stuff.
Keith: He’s not a Technohead fan, is he?!

Talking of Technohead, would you let The Smurfs cover one of your tunes?
Leeroy: I’d like to cover The Smurfs with a very heavy pillow and sit on it.
Liam: They wanted to turn ’Firestarter’ into ’Smurfstarter’ but I told them where they could stick their pointy hats.
Maxim: No blue man covers my fucking songs.
Keith: He can be black, he can be white, he can be yellow, he can be any fucking colour he wants, but he can’t be blue.
Leeroy: That’s a bit Smurfist.

Are you pleased or horrified that U2 have been citing yourselves, Underworld and The Chemical Brothers as the biggest influences on their Pop album?
Liam: I’ve spoken to Bono a couple of times. I wanted him to do a track on our record-and he wanted me to do a remix on theirs-but our schedules we're totally out of sync. I think that for a band of their size they take a lot of risks, which is cool.
Keith: It’s not their fault that they’re growing old and fat is it?

What’s the most outragous lie that’s been printed about you this year?
Keith: There was an article last weekend which was complete fabrication. It said I was engaged. You know, totally smitten and wrong bought.
Liam: The strange thing is that it was to my bird, so you can imagine how I felt!I take it you were straight onto you’re lawyers?
Liam: Nah, I was straight onto my bird!
Keith: If it had been really hurtful to someone I was close to, then, yeah, I’d have thought about suing but as it is, it didn’teven get me hot.

What’s the most frightening thing you saw on Top Of The Pops during 1996?
Maxim: The opening credits. I had to turn away immediately.
Leeroy: Peter Andre was preety sick. He wears fucking girls’ suntan cream.
Keith: I developed a severe hatred of the Crash Test Dummies last year which has strecthed over into this year.

Chris Evans. Discuss.
Liam: Disgusting you mean. Nah, he’s a talented guy who doesn’t like us so I’m prepared not to like him.
Keith: Whatever about him being mouthy and arrogant, you have to say he’s a skilled broadcaster who gets an audience whatever time of day he’s on. I think it’s helped him having Oasis to latch onto. You know, he’s been acting the lad of late with his designer tracksuits and barneying in public.
Liam: Actually, I’d be quite worried if he was up our arses all the time because that would mean that we’d been absorbed into the mainstream. I never want that to happen to The Prodigy.

Do you do any celebrity hob-nobbing yourselves?
Leeroy: Apart from the odd round of golf with Mike Reid, nah.
Keith: Gloria Estefan , amazingly enough, is a really good laugh. We met her the other day and it turned out she’s a bit of a fan. We thought she was being polite at first but, no, she’s heard the records.
Maxim: She’s fucking indestructible, isn’t she? First she broke her back in a coach crash and then, last year I think it was,she nearly topped herself falling out of a boat. Rock’n’roll!

Alanis Morisette. Why?
Leeroy: I agree.
Keith: I don’t want to diss her but there’s something there which annoys me. It’s probably all that love/hate bollocks. She goes on about having her heart broken and not caring, but she obviously does cos she’s singing about it.
Maxim: To have had that many disasterous relationships, she’d need to be 50.
Liam: She writes some fucking good tunes, I have to admit, but it’s too contrived. Too dreamt up in a company boardroom.

Were you glad that The Stone Roses knocked it on the head when they did?
Liam: They had a few internal problems but their music was still good. They were certainly better than Oasis who, I dunno, just don’t live up to all the hype. Don’t get me wrong ,they write some killer fucking tunes, but contary to popular belief they’re not The Beatles part two.

Who do you fancy getting under the mistletoe this Christmas?
Keith: I’ve already had Liam’s bird, so I reckon that girl on the Prince video.
Liam: Tiffney from Eastenders.
Keith: You can’t, she’s just married Grant.
Liam: Yeah and that girl on the Prince video is his wife.

What’s better,Willy Wonka or Chiiy-Chitty-Bang-Bang?
Maxim: Willy Wonka without a doubt.
Leeroy: Bollocks, Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang’s a classic. Keith is the Child Catcher.
Liam: They’re both crap compared to The Wizard Of Oz, though not as bad as Bedknobs & Broomsticks. That does my head in.
Keith: That would be a great song, ’I’m the Child Catcher’.

Who’s your favourite Father Ted character?
Liam: None of us have really watched that, have we? The funniest thing on tv is The Simpsons. You that episode where Homer gets stuck in the water-slide? That’s the business.

Any recent Spinal Tap moments you’d care to share with us?
Maxim: The best one ever was when Keith got stuck in the plastic ball.
Keith: The zip got stuck but opened enough to let the air out, so I was running around in this saggy bag. I still reckon somebastard sabotaged it.
Liam: You suffer from saggy balls quite a bit, don’t you Keith?

As professional firestarters, do you prefer coal or briquettes?
Keith: Nah, what you want’s a great big bucket of petrol and watch the fucker go!

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