Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?! – Goldie

In Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?!, we quiz an artist on their own career to see how much they can remember – and find out if the booze, loud music and/or tour sweeties has knocked the knowledge out of them

You starred in the 1999 British gangster film Everybody Loves Sunshine opposite David Bowie. How much of his own money did Bowie contribute to the production when its budget ran out?

Bowie put around £40,000 up for that.”

CORRECT-ISH. Close enough – in your autobiography, All Things Remembered, you claim it’s £30,000.

“The script read well on the page, but the director Andrew Goth, who also stars in the movie, made a ham of it. The film’s a pile of shite, but Bowie was brilliant to work with. I spent 12 weeks in a caravan with him and he loved knitting. Crochet especially, which is mad! He was a great mentor to me. He said not to compromise for anybody, whatever you do. Writing the ballad ‘Truth’ [off Goldie’s 1998 album ‘Saturnz Return’] for him was a big moment for me. I miss him. I still get his voice in my head.”

Apart from ‘Truth’, did you ever talk about collaborating again?

“He wanted me to do some tracks on his 1997 album  ‘Earthling’, but I didn’t want to do drum‘n’bass with him. He’d regularly visit Metalheadz [Goldie’s club night] at Blue Note, London and it influenced him. I remember sitting on the steps outside as he rolled a cigarette and said [adopts a pitch-perfect Bowie impersonation]: ‘It’s so fucking good in there, Goldie. The atmosphere and vibe is like nothing else.’ When I wrote ‘Truth’ for him, he phoned me up and said: ‘Goldie, I’ve just seen ‘Truth’ and there’s no writing credit on there for me. I didn’t write the track of course, but with artists like us, it’s always worth showing a bit of respect’. I replied, ‘David, say no more’ and sorted his publishing.”

In John Niven’s 2008 novel Kill Your Friends, which character is based on you?

[Laughs] “Who do you fucking think is based on me?! It’s Rage, innit?”

CORRECT. Niven worked with you when he was an A&R, and based the drum‘n’bass superstar on you.

“That was brilliant. I nearly got thrown off a British Airways flight because I laughed so hard while reading it! I phoned up Pete [Tong] to get John Niven’s number and he warned me: ‘Don’t do anything to him!. But I wanted to congratulate him and also ask him: ‘Why did I end up in a wheelchair in the end?!’ The best part of that book is a version of the reaction to ‘Saturnz Return’, where he says words to the effect of: ‘After 14 months waiting around, we’re sitting here. DJ Rage extends his arms, his little beady coke eyes banging around his head. As I look to the A&R who signed him’ – who’s a fictionalised version of Pete Tong – ‘we both realise his career is well and truly over.

How close to reality was that?

“Pretty close! Think how audacious ‘Saturnz Return”s opening track ‘Mother’ was: it’s over an hour long. As artists, we’ve all got egos the size of buses and record companies then were like American Psycho.”

Which musician once said of you: ‘He should stick to the music, man. He’s a fucking rubbish actor’?

“Noel [Gallagher] probably? It has to fucking be him!”

CORRECT. Your mate who you recorded your 1998 single ‘Temper Temper’ with.

“Noel’s always been into his electronica and I actually sold him Marcus Intalex’s mixing desk. We did some mad stuff. One time after a heavy weekend, a Jaguar Mk 2 Coupe turns up on his driveway and Noel goes: ‘What the fuck’s this car delivery?’ He forgot he fucking bought it when we were out six months earlier! When he was living near me, my mates used to go down his street and nick the paparazzi’s cameras so they’d leave him alone! I always regret missing  Oasis’ 1996 Knebworth gigs. I was on tour with Jane’s Addiction at the time, and they wouldn’t let me go. For the last two years, we’ve been sending each other pictures of really bad fan art of each other. There’s some really awful ones of me and some terrible ones of Noel.”


When you supported the Sex Pistols in 2008, how much money did you collect in coins that had been tossed by their angry fans at you?

“I made £97.38p”.

CORRECT. Sex Pistols’ audiences are notoriously hostile.

“I made £97.38p in Brixton, but I made a lot more in Glasgow! You can feel the metal whoosh past your head. I’m like: ‘You missed me, you twats!’. To annoy them more, I played Public Image Ltd – because Sex Pistols fans hate the idea of John Lydon doing his other band. Then I played ‘Up the Junction’ by Squeeze to infuriate them more! But punk should be like that.  If I hadn’t been pelted by coins, I would have been fucking saddened! In today’s politically correct world, instead of throwing coins at me, they’d say angrily: ‘I’m going to wire some money via credit card at him! Bam!'” [Laughs]

Who replaced you when you broke your leg water skiing on the 2006 series of Channel 4’s The Games?

“Oof! Some weirdo who was no Tom Daley. He’d done the worst boyband-style pop song. I’m sure he did a dive on the show and smashed his eyes up! [Laughs] Note to self: keep your fucking eyes closed.”

WRONG. You were replaced by actor and ex-pop star Adam Rickitt – who did indeed suffer two black eyes after over-rotating off the diving board.

“I would have won that show. I was winning everything. On the last training session, my manager said I should do one more water ski jump. They’d given me the wrong boots and that was the end of it! I got a good bit of money out of it and it paid for a divorce! I call it my shark attack – my leg looked like a fucking pizza. You should have seen the lawyers’ faces when they saw the picture! The gear they gave me in the hospital was pretty good too!”

What number did your debut ‘Timeless’ reach on NME’s Top 50 Albums of 1995?

“20? 30?”

WRONG. It was 10.

“Wow! Thanks NME! It’s a great album and it was a surreal time. I remember being summoned to [Hollywood hotel] Chateau Marmont by Val Kilmer. Val Kilmer’s sitting there burning candles with [actor] Josh Evans going: ‘Tell me about ‘Timeless’’. Val then phoned up fucking [multimillionaire media titan and CNN founder] Ted Turner, and said ‘Ted’s on the phone for you’. I’m like: ‘Ted who? Fucking Father Ted?’ And Ted’s there saying: ‘I’m in a ranch down South. ‘Timeless’ is a great album. Val’s told me all about it’. Surreal isn’t even the word!”

Talking of surreal experiences: what was it like when Madonna personally phoned you up and asked you to produce her 1998 album ‘Ray of Light’?

“I said no! [Laughs] She didn’t take it well. When she started seeing Guy [Ritchie], we’d drink in a pub in Mayfair and she was a bit cold towards me. All artists, including me, get a sense of entitlement. She didn’t like the idea that I said no. I’d just started ‘Mother’ at the time and that track was more important to me. It’s all: ‘I’ll fly you to LA; I love ‘Timeless’.’ [Laughs]. No you didn’t – you probably didn’t even fucking listen to the whole album! To be honest, if I’d have gone to America then, I would have been like the Phil Spector of breakbeat. I would have been found dead in a hotel room. I wasn’t ready to deal with all that. It would have been too much. If I’m going to turn Bowie down with ‘Earthling’, I’m certainly going to turn Madonna down. No disrespect to her, she’s a great artist, but I don’t think drum’n’bass would have made it through the door on her album.”

You recorded a Euro 2016 football anthem with Shaun Ryder called ‘We Are England’ under the band name Four Lions. Who was England’s team captain that year?

“I think one of Shaun Ryder’s mates gave me a really big bag of gear so I wouldn’t be able to remember that!”

WRONG. It was Wayne Rooney.

“Fucking hell – I thought you said manager, not captain!I’ve got such respect for Shaun Ryder and Bez, who’s also on the track  – they’re animals, man! You look at them and think: how are you still alive?”

You’re surely the only person who’s both painted the Queen’s portrait for her Diamond Jubilee and got on it with the Happy Mondays

“Mate, the Queen had a dubplate before Grooverider had one because Duke Ellington presented her with an acetate of [his song] ‘The Queen’s Suite: The Single Petal of a Rose’ [in 1958]. So I did the track ‘Single Petal of a Rose’, which is my homage to Duke Ellington, sampling him remembering meeting the Queen, at the same time as I did the painting. When I was given my MBE in 2015, I don’t think the Queen was sitting there going: ‘Charles, should we honour that jungalist Goldie?’ Although I know that [Prince] Harry listened to my music so that’s all that matters!”

Any memorable Prince Harry (who you worked with on the 2010 BBC talent show Goldie’s Band – By Royal Appointment) stories?

“At Wireless festival in 2009, before he was about to do his military training, I was having a drink with him around the back, wondering who was going to wear Basement Jaxx’s gorilla costume with them onstage. The next thing I know, this gorilla’s saying to me: ‘GOLDIE! IT’S ME!’. And it was Harry! So he got to do Wireless properly and covertly.”


Can you name the four contestants who voted for you to leave the house first in 2002’s Celebrity Big Brother 2?

“No ‘cause they’re all cunts! [Laughs] Melinda Messenger and Anne Diamond were two of them  Who were the other twats in there?”

WRONG. Apart from Melinda and Anne, comedian/actor Les Dennis also voted for you – as did Sue Perkins.

“Thanks Sue! Showing your real colours. Take your Bake Off cake and fuck off! [Laughs] I just took the piss throughout. They didn’t show it but on the first night, I had everyone take their mattresses out of the dormitories and put them round the sofa and threw all the microphones over the top so they’ve got no sound or vision. I’m sat inside there thinking, ‘This is great because you can’t hear a thing’. Then we were all ordered back to our rooms.”

Which artist did you present an award to at the 2017 NME Awards?

“You’ve got me now! Stephen Hawking?”

WRONG. It was M.I.A – for Best British Female Artist.

“I’ve got my NME raised-finger award [for Best Dance Act in 1996] at home and it confuses my cleaner, who thinks it’s swearing.”

Complete the following lyrics: ‘Yeah, I’m on my own, Macauley Culkin…’?

“Home Alone/Can’t find my Spaceship.”


“That’s ‘Upstart (Road Trip)’, the [2018] track I co-wrote with Skepta. It was a great track and ahead of the curve. He’s a good lad and he did some great wordsmith-ing on that track, which I based on Beck’s ‘The New Pollution’.”

Tell us about your new Subjective (your project with producer James Davidson) album ‘The Start of No Regret’…

“I wanted to make some really understandable bubble letters drum’n’bass for people to enjoy. I wanted to have fun because every other album has been about trauma. Having someone like James to mentor has probably been the best thing about it – I love being Obi-Wan Kenobe!”


The verdict: 5/10

“That’s a fucking shite score if you ask me!”

‘-The Start Of No Regret’ by Subjective is out now via Thee Six Zero Recordings/Sony Music