‘Fire / Jericho’ 30th anniversary!
September is quite rich in birthdays: for instance, the Fire / Jericho turned 30 the other day! Interesting that the single has two release dates: some editions came out on September the 7th, 1992, and the others – a week later, on September the 14th. It was the last single that was released before the Experience LP. Apart from the mixes Liam created himself, the single also included a ‘Jericho’ remix produced by Genaside II.
SINGLE PROMO & DESIGN
The writing on the cover reads Strangely Limited Edition. Why? Initially, the band’s management and XL Recordings had a plan to withdraw all the copies of the single from the stores right after the LP’s release (‘Experience’ came out two weeks later, on September 28th, 1992). Some promo posters mentioned the same detail: ‘Available for two weeks only’. Nonetheless, this plan was scrapped because the demand for the single turned out to be very high.
Quite interesting that on the ‘1995 reissue, the colours of the back cover shot were different from the original one: the photo glowed green.
Martin James’ ‘We Eat Rhythm’: The track [‘Fire’] itself lifted the phrase ‘I am the god of Hellfire and I give you… Fire’ from the track of the same name by 1960’s artist The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. It wasn’t an unusual sample to lift as, at the same time Dutch techno artist DHS had a track in collaboration with Jack Dangers of Meat Beat Manifesto (one of Liam’s earliest post hip-hop influences) that heavily featured the quote. Liam’s version was immediately recognisable as a Prodigy track though with its high speed raw breaks, coupled with an insistent keyboard hookline and MC in full flow.
The B-side however was even better. ‘Jericho’ was an adrenalised rush of hyper-chipmunk voices wrestling with proto-jungle beats, while hooklines sped by and horns floated in the background. With the Genaside 2 remix of ‘Jericho’ The Prodigy were placed even deeper in jungle territory.
During the band’s UK tour in the Summer of 1992, the crew also shot the video for ‘Fire’. Filmed under impossible conditions in the Welsh countryside the film’s plot was a simple one — the band sitting around a campfire as the camera isolates them one by one, allowing the direction to go into their own individual psyches. Quite why the film had to be made in Wales in the dead of night was something that nobody appeared to question. The whole experience proved to be a nightmare with both band and crew almost suffering from hypothermia, however they did manage to exact their revenge on Mixmag — the notorious Did Charly kill rave? article annoyed the band quite a lot in the early 90s. In the closing moments of the film, Liam stands up, leans towards the fire and throws a magazine into the flashes. The last frame features the offending issue of Mixmag being cremated: the Alexis Maryon photo of Liam Howlett holding a gun to his head quickly turns to ashes. The ‘Fire’ video was directed by Russel Curtis, who later worked with such industry giants as Honda, John Lewis, Coca-Cola, Audi, Samsung and loads of others.
For a long time, the band tried to distance themselves from the official music video for ‘Fire’. The members of The Prodigy didn’t like the CGI and the final result in general, even despite the fact that at that time it was the band’s most expensive music video on that time. Due to band’s dislike for the video, it was released neither on Electronic Punks VHS (1995), nor on Their Law DVD (2005).
The music video is still interesting because it features Kean Armstrong, the guy who played the drums at the band’s early gigs and leaked Liam’s demo tape. Moreover, one can find an alternative version of the music video which includes different scenes and CGI, — this must be the first edit or kinda working version.
As an audio track for the video, the Burning Version edit, not the Sunrise Version, was used. For a long time, the full mix of the ‘Burning Version’ was only available on the vinyl release of the single. Later it turned out that it is also accessible on the Japanese CD-compilation Super Club Groovin’ Vol. 11.
Apart from the ‘Burning Version’, ‘Edit’ and ‘Sunrise Version’, one can find a demo version of ‘Fire’ which had been played by the band before the single was released. In general, it’s a beta version of ‘Burning Version’, and has many differences.
In the future we plan to recreate the demo version of ‘Fire’ based on the Burning Version which we’ve already reconstructed!
Stay tuned: youtube.com/c/CanyonHill
There’s also a remix of Jericho which was occasionally played live from 2005 through 2009. Unfortunately, this remix has never been released.
By the way, there’s a funny and a bit embarrassing story about this remix. In 2005, in Podova, Italy, Liam’s laptop malfunctioned, and some random portions of said remix started playing, followed by silence at the venue. No one knows what made the laptop freeze. Liam only managed to trigger some drum loops from ‘Jericho’ and that was it.
In the fan community this “performance” is known as Podova Fill. From then on, a small circle of musicians and djs started to use this title – ‘Podova Fill’, to describe a technical malfunction during a live performance. 😀
Headmasters: SIXSHOT, SPLIT
Additional thanks to: Canyon Hill, Martin James, Fate Ararita