It’s probably safe to assume that not many people have called Fatboy Slim (a.k.a. Norman Cook) the “space cowboy” or the “gangster of love.” But that may soon change: The electronic-music guru has chosen to cover the Steve Miller Band’s 1973 hit “The Joker” for the first single from Palookaville, his long-awaited new 12-song album, which comes out October 5.
The mid-tempo rock number opens with the line, “Some people call me the space cowboy/ Some call me the gangster of love,” and features the chorus, “I’m a joker/ I’m a smoker/ I’m a midnight toker/ I sure don’t want to hurt no one.” The lyrics may have inspired spacey Parliament/ Funkadelic bassist Bootsy Collins to guest on Fatboy’s new version of the song, which goes to radio July 27.
Collins also played on “Weapon of Choice,” from Cook’s last album, 2000’s Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars. The video for the track (which won a Grammy and six MTV Music Video Awards) was directed by Spike Jonze and featured actor Christopher Walken dancing around a hotel lobby, leaping off of the balcony and flying around the room. A director for “The Joker” has not yet been chosen.
Other guests on Palookaville include Blackalicious collaborator Lateef on “Wonderful Night” and “The Journey,” English DJ Justin Robertson (ex-Lionrock) on “Push and Shove,” Brighton band Johnny Quality on “Long Way From Home” and Blur singer Damon Albarn on “Put it Back Together.” Call the latter payback of sorts: Cook produced two songs on Blur’s 2003 album, Think Tank.