FAT25 · Antecedent: Take Me On, Bounce
It’s the 25th anniversary of ‘The Fat Of The Land’ coming this June, that’s why we decided to recall some of the preceding events and to share the story about the demos and some unreleased stuff that was in development but didn’t make sense for the album. Now we’ll share the first part of this two-section article and recall all the unreleased tunes from ’95 to ’96 in detail…
Even though ‘Funky Shit’ was already played live in the middle of 1995, the real transition to the new era was The Prodigy’s show program during late ’95, when such tracks as ‘The Trick Intro’, ‘Firestarter’, ‘Molotov Bitch’ and ‘Breathe (Beta)’ appeared in the tracklist along with already mentioned ‘Funky Shit’. In addition to the above-stated tracks, the legendary jam-track called Benny Blanco in its earliest version was also played for the first time on the tour in December ’95…
Benny Blanco ’95
As strange as it may seem, it looks like the very first version of Benny Blanco debuted in Moscow, at that weird but at the same time legendary gig, which was attended by very few people.
Almost all recordings of the late ’95 tour, before Moscow, are easily accessible on the web. The tracklist was updated in October, but it never had ‘Benny Blanco’ on it. Nevertheless, the ’95 Moscow gig video, which was made public back in 2015, has a short snippet of ‘Benny Blanco’, which was played at the beginning of the show. We suppose that Liam decided to try a new jam out on a small crowd. Anyhow, apart from the Moscow gig, there are very few live recordings from 1995 which feature ‘Benny Blanco’. To be precise, there is only one full recording, the ’95 Brixton gig, where one can hear the full ‘Benny Blanco’ arrangement, though not very clearly.
It’s very likely that ‘Benny’ was played several times during the Australian tour in early 1996, but we have no recordings whatsoever. After that tour, the setlist was changed, which featured ‘Smack My Bitch Up’ as the intro track, and Benny was put on the back burner for 7 years, until 2002.
It’s interesting that the info about two mixes of ‘Benny Blanco’, considered as being prepared for then-forthcoming ‘The Fat Of The Land’ album, were floating around some old forums at the beginning of 1997. The polished version of the track was probably meant to become a B-side.
Our team recreated this original Benny Blanco ’95 jam from scratch.
Stereo audio in high quality is available on our Patreon!
One more interesting thing: right after Benny’s return in 2002, Liam, having played its updated mix only several times at various gigs, brought back the first ’95 version. It’s possible that Liam found a newer version not massive enough for big venues compared to an earlier version. Still, Liam slowed down the tempo a little bit of ’95 version to fit ‘Benny’ into one row with the rest of the 2001-2002 tour slower tracks such as: ‘Baby’s Got a Temper’, ‘Trigger’, ‘Goblin’, ‘Poison’ & etc.
Besides ‘Benny Blanco’, there were also rumors in the fan community in those years about the official release of Rock’n’Roll on an upcoming album. This fact was even mentioned in the famous Exit The Underground book by Lisa Verrico.
Lisa Verrico: Exit The Underground, page 83
But as theprodi.gy team was able to unearth, this was just another myth born of some inaccuracies. The essential point is that at the end of ’95, a journalist from The Face magazine came to Liam’s house and did a big interview with him. During the conversation, Liam played some tracks from the updated live program, among which there were Firestarter, Funky Shit, Come Correct (that’s how the ‘Molotov Bitch’ was originally titled before it came out officially at the ‘Firestarter’ single) and Rock’n’Roll — probably it was shown in its ’96 version, which was premiered live a little later. Anyway, all the tracks were presented by Liam only in the context of an updated late ’95 / early ’96 live program. But the author of the article ended up interpreting it all as new material for the upcoming album, and a little later Lisa Verrico just used The Face sources for her book.
The Face No 88, January 1996, page 58
That’s how the story about the upcoming release of Rock’n’Roll on ‘The Fat Of The Land’ LP was born. In fact, it was just a live filler those days. But in spite of that ‘Rock’n’Roll’ with guitar played by Gizz Butt is an integral part of ‘The Fat’ era because it was regularly played live during the whole album promotion tour, and it’s worth talking about separately. We are currently working on the ’96 version, and as soon as the track is ready, we will definitely publish a separate article about ‘Rock’n’Roll’, and we will also post the full reсreation of the track done by theprodi.gy team. Teaser of our Rock’n’Roll ’96 re-chamber can be found in the hidden section!
Blow Ya Mind & Bounce
In general, only a few demos mentioned or played live in ’96 made sense for the final release. During the year, just a couple of demos were played live: Blow Ya Mind, which later became Diesel Power, and Bounce (the title registered in the license databases) at the end of the year, which eventually became the basis for Serial Thrilla.
Also some other tunes were just mentioned in different interviews during 1996: Cocaine Kitten and Take Me On, which are worth talking about separately.
Cocaine Kitten was quite often mentioned in fan communities as a tune with vocals by Gizz Butt recorded during ‘The Fat Of The Land’ sessions. And some fans could think that it was planned to be a full-fledged collab of Gizz Butt and Liam Howlett, or some LH co-production for Butt’s solo project. But theprodi.gy team managed to find out from Gizz himself that ‘Cocaine Kitten’ was in fact a really raw rough demo created by Liam, and it never turned out into anything useable for production. The track had working lyrics, which were also written by Liam himself, and Gizz only tried to perform it once in the studio at Liam’s request. But unfortunately, it didn’t go any further than that.
Take Me On
As it became known from loads of interviews, Take Me On was fully recorded and ready for release. The vocals were performed by Skin from Skunk Anansie, but Liam thought that the track sounded too popish and that was the only reason for not releasing it. It was aslo planned to release as b-side, but it’s never happened and it is still unknown how exactly the instrumental track sounded like – no one still does not know if this tune was later used as the basis for any other track or not.
Liam Howlett: I really like her voice but what she did on my track just didn’t work well enough to be released. It was just too commercial, kind of sell-out song. Actually I never even said it was going to be on the album, but she told everyone. So I didn’t exactly drop it; I didn’t know what the final track listing was going to be until it was finished so that Skin track was never a definite.
In 2006, Skin finally released ‘Take Me On’ on her second solo album ‘Fake Chemical State’. Apparently, the track itself was completely re-recorded, as well as the vocals.
But it is interesting that the guitar riff in this banger quite strongly reminds of the riff from the unknown piece from ‘Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned’ demo mix.
Looks like the rest of the ‘Take Me On’ instrumental demo has been also taken apart for a new track in preparation for AONO!
In the second part of this ‘FAT25: Antecedent’ article we will share the story about some live demos and some studio beats & cuts from 1997! Subscribe and stay tuned for more!
Headmasters: SPLIT, SIXSHOT
Additional thanks to: Gizz Butt, Trim Silence & Canyon Hill