For years, it’s been pub-quiz knowledge that the inside sleeve art of The Prodigy’s ‘Music For The Jilted Generation’ album of 1994, painted by Les Edwards, was a graphic response to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of the same year, passed by the then-Conservative government to stamp down on illegal raves.
But speaking to Clash recently, the band’s chief songwriter Liam Howlett has admitted that, actually, the two things – painting and politics – are not so closely related.
“There was that whole ‘fight the party’ thing at the time,” he tells us, “you know, that bill. And we got roped into that. But it’s funny, because the inside cover art, that’s just a coincidence. Nobody knows that. But people read into it, that it was connected to that protest. But it’s not at all – it’s just what we wanted on the cover.”
As for the rave scene in general, Liam is quite clear that, for him, it had reached its point of personal exhaustion even before John Major and his cronies decided to crack down on the partying.
“I wasn’t really feeling [the rave scene] anymore, anyway. I remember standing on the stage at a rave in Scotland, and it just felt silly. Like, ‘What the f*ck am I doing here, I’m not into this, and it’s so far from what it once was.’ We thought about whether or not to break the band up – we wondered if we were locked into the rave scene. But that made me want to do something different – so the first thing I wrote for ‘…Jilted Generation’ was ‘Voodoo People’, or maybe ‘Their Law’. Songs that pushed it, y’know? I was free of rave BPMs, feeling rebellious against it.”
Clash’s full interview with Liam will run soon, as we toast the 20th (!) anniversary of ‘Music For The Jilted Generation’. Meantime, here’s ‘Voodoo People’…
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