To hear Norman Cook (aka Fatboy Slim) tell it, he's been waiting quite a long time to release material by the Brighton Port Authority.
"We really don't know ... since the mid-'70s, we think," says Cook, tongue firmly planted in cheek as he recounts the BPA "legend" to Billboard.com. "Iggy Pop is sure we covered 'He's Frank" before the Monochrome Set actually wrote it. Jamie T. claims he wasn't even born when he recorded his track ('Local Town'). It's all very sketchy."
What's clear, however, is that the BPA album "I Think We're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat" comes out in the U.S. on Feb. 3, featuring Cook collaborations with Pop, Martha Wainwright, Pete York, British DJ Ashley Beedle and David Byrne and Dizzie Rascal, whose "Toe Jam" has been out on video since last summer.
Cook describes the project as "sort of hanging out with people" at his home in Brighton. "Because I've got a studio next door to my house, people would come visit, get drunk and say 'Let's go and do a tune!' Then we'd get so drunk we'd forgotten we did it until we found the tapes later," he says.
"I suppose it was me not wanting to be Fatboy Slim, wanting to kind of get away from mindless dance music and try something with real musicians," Cook continues. "Most of what I do in dance music is not really songwriting; I remember my wife saying, 'When are you going to write a song about me?,' and I don't really write songs in the traditional sense. I found out working with real musicians is more complicated than working with computers -- but a lot more fun."
Cook -- who's on "a bit of a sabbatical" as Fatboy Slim -- says there's more material where "...Bigger Boat" came from, and that he views it as "an ongoing process" that may yield more music.
"Since the legend has come out, I've had people calling and wanting to be in the BPA," he says. "But it might be another 15 years before Vol. 2 comes out." Live dates are logistically impossible, but Cook is considering a BPA "documentary," which will mix the myth with new interviews with the participants and footage from the sessions.
"The more we play along with it, the more we actually start believing it," he says. "There's a lot of fun to be had with this. It's not a scam. We're not trying to fool anyone. We're just having a lot of fun."