Fatboy Slim: Why I almost quit music to become a firefighter

·2-min read

DJ Fatboy Slim has revealed he almost quit music to become a firefighter during a difficult period in his career.

The music star, whose real name is Norman Cook, said he looked into joining the service after finding he was “skint”.

The 57-year-old shot to fame in 1996 with the release of Better Living Through Chemistry and became a regular face on the club and music festival circuits, but suffered quieter years when his popularity waned.

Glastonbury Fatboy Slim
DJ Fatboy Slim at Glastonbury in 2003 (Yui Mok/PA)

Cook said he remains a “wannabe fireman” but he is now too old to join the service.

Speaking during an event hosted by the the Fire Fighters Charity, he said: “I have been in the music business pretty much all my life but there have been ups and downs and there was one particular down where everyone around was like, ‘You are going to have to actually get a proper job now because you are skint’.

“I thought about what job I would like to do and for some reason fireman just… I don’t know. I just had this vision that I wanted to be a fireman.”

Cook jokingly compared being a musician to working as a firefighter.

He said: “You sit around for ages with your mates making up nicknames for each other, then you suddenly have to go and do something really, really important.

“Obviously, what I do is a bit more frivolous. And it is a great uniform and chicks dig uniform. No, I am being flippant.

“But I did (take it) seriously and I got as far as finding out what the medical involved and was I too old and I checked how many inches my chest expansion was.

“But then luckily I got a PRS (Performing Right Society) cheque which kept the wolf from the door and then I had another hit.

“I am figuring now at my age it is too late to be a fireman but I have always had the greatest respect for the fire service, I think it is very underrated of all the blue lights.”

Cook has spent lockdown working in his community cafe, the Big Beach Cafe, in Hove, East Sussex.

He started helping out behind the counter when he was not able to perform his regular gigs.

Watch the fundraising video for Brew with Fatboy Slim and Treasure Crew Live here.

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