Fatboy Slim: The Housemartins’ first Glastonbury performance was ‘a turning point’

Fatboy Slim reminisced about his first performance at the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, saying that he “wasted the rest of his career” trying to get back into it.

The DJ, whose real name is Norman Cook, is now a household name but made his first appearance at a music festival at Worthy Farm over thirty years ago as part of the indie rock band The Housemartins.

The Glastonbury Festival reopened its doors this week for the first time in three years after being canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic with Cooke, 58, one of the performers on the bill.

He spoke to local festival newspaper Glastonbury Free Press about his first experience at the event, saying: “It was playing on the Pyramid Stage with the Housemartins in 1986.


Fatboy Slim has been performing at Glastonbury every year since 1996. (David Jensen/PA)

“To my shame, I thought there would be old, stoned, bearded hippies who came from Stonehenge after the solstice. And we thought that they would all throw mud at us. We were pleasantly surprised when we found out that this is not the case at all.”

Other big names at Glastonbury in 1986 included The Pogues, The Waterboys, The Cure, Level 42, Simply Red and Madness.

Cook rose to fame as Fatboy Slim in 1996 with the release of Better Living Through Chemistry and his other hits including Right Here, Right Now and Praise You.

He said of a 1986 performance with The Housemartins, “It was a turning point for us. It was the biggest crowd we’ve ever played in front of.

“We played in the early afternoon, on Sunday, and it was even more of a shock when we played in daylight for the first time.

“We were hitting way above our weight playing the pyramid stage.

“We only released our debut album on (the) Monday after Glastonbury. I spent the rest of my career trying to get back into the pyramid scene.”

He’s become a regular at Glastonbury and has three slots on the bill this year, two of which are announced and one he says is “a slightly silly, obscure set that’s kind of a secret” and his son Woody also will be DJs this year.

He added that he had performed at every Glastonbury since 1996: “Even when I wasn’t invited, I showed up and Michael and Emily Eavis very kindly found an unannounced spot for me to play on the small stage.”

The musician said he was looking forward to meeting Sir Paul McCartney, headliner of Saturday’s Pyramid Stage, as well as Australian electronic band The Avalanches.

Asked about his first Glastonbury sober, he told the Glastonbury Free Press: “My first Glastonbury sober was weird. There are so many crazy things going on in Glastonbury that you think it’s because you’re crazy.

“But I remember wandering around sober and realizing that no, there is actually a door in the middle of a field, and people knock on that door at night, waiting for someone to open it. When you’re sober, you don’t take these things for granted.

“There is a little club called Miniscule of Sound with bouncers and a tiny speaker system that can seat about eight people and when I suggested to be a DJ there they asked me to send them a demo tape and they might consider me for the next gig. . night show.

“If I experienced this drunkenness, I would sincerely suggest that it is some kind of feverish fantasy.”