‘Any of them things. if you‘re into them and don‘t have them. you‘ll miss them because they fuel your adrenalin.’ says Keith. ‘But there is nothing I pine for more than being on-stage. That release of energy. the connection with the audience is what it’s all about. better than anything else in this world.‘
How do Prodigy deal with the come-down afterwards. say when they‘re not touring?
‘Any more than two weeks and you‘re down like hell.‘ says Leeroy. before Keith
cuts in. ‘True. you‘re trying to drag yourself
up to do things. but luckily enough I have me motorbike. and by the time you nearly hit a few things on me way round you are pretty much pumped up.‘
What exactly is this constant craving to be ‘pumped up“? Some post—heavy drugs scenario. a desire to escape social or personal depression?
‘I don’t know if it‘s because we have been out of it.‘ says Keith. ‘We have done drugs. though we don‘t do any Class A drugs now at all. ‘lf we did I‘d tell you. without meaning to promote drugs as cool. The opposite. in fact. l‘d say to our fans that they definitely don‘t need to be doing drugs to enjoy our music . . . It‘d be great if we could turn an audience inside out. straight. with just the music.‘
Prodigy have always said they are not interested in politics. but Keith and Lecroy agree that if they can provide ‘an hour and a half of release‘ for their fans. then that is their greatest achievement.
‘We‘re freedom givers in that way.’ says Keith. ‘l‘m up there, not thinking. So I’m just saying to the audience. “Clear your head of anything that might suppress you — politics. whatever“. Don‘t be thinking “I got arrested last night“ or whatever. Say “fuck ‘em". Give in to the energy. like we do. Give in to the buzz.‘
Asked if he believes Prodigy will break up if ‘the buzz‘ goes. Keith replies: ‘Delinitely. because I‘d be thinking: “What do I replace it with?” Because I love what I do. I don‘t need to be the front man. or the best singer. it‘sjust being a part of Prodigy — any part — that matters so much to me.‘
Leeroy adds: “Absolutely. If the buzz goes. end of story. But it‘s not going to go. We‘ve been together for seven years and never even had an argument. because we‘re mates. We‘ve got our feet on the ground. We are real and true to the music we believe in. And we‘re fucking laughing. because we‘re four guys who are buzzing!‘
There have been worries that with all the talk of an American eight-figure record deal. Prodigy are bound to eventually sell out and become corporate-owned. cross-genre music making bores. Isn‘t it true that American record shops refused to stock the album unless they changed the titles of at least two tracks on the new album. including. quite understandably. ‘Smack My Bitch Up“?
‘When we say “Smack My Bitch Up“. bitch is the tune.‘ says Lecroy. not entirely convincingly.
Cue Keith: “What this shows to me is that
‘We've got our feet on the ground. We are real and true to the music we believe in. And we're fucking laughing, because we're four guys who are buzzing!’ Leeroy
girls who come to our
shows are hard-core girls. They‘re not caught up in political correctness. Let‘s chill on it. we respect our fellow man and woman and that‘s it. ‘But yeah. America has gone mad on that. asked us to change the lyrics. and we said “no way“ and then decided the only compromise we‘ll come to — and have ever come to _ with anyone. is on the sleeve. We put “Slap My B‘H‘ch Up“. and in one other track. put “Funky 8* That‘s as much of a compromise as we‘re going to make . . .
“Fans needn’t worry about us selling out, we‘d break up before we’d do that.’
Besides their legions of fans, Prodigy have finally won the kind of recognition from their peers that Liam Howlett once said he so desired. Andy Cairns of Therapy? has told them they are one of the greatest live rock acts of the 90s. Likewise Bono and The Edge have admitted they listened to Prodigy’s last album when they were driving around the States before the current U2 tour.
It looks like the buzz is likely to be there fora while yet.
Prodigy are at Glasgow Green, Sat 23 Aug. The Fat Of The Land is out now on XL.
'Anybody got a match' 22—28 Aug 1997 THE "ST 97