Weapon of Choice

Fatboy Slim (aka Norman Quentin Cook (born Quentin Leo Cook) is an English DJ, musician and record producer/mixer.

As a solo electronic act, he has won ten MTV Video Music Awards and two Brit Awards. His records as Fatboy Slim also helped to popularize the big beat genre, which achieved mainstream popularity in the 1990s.

Cook first rose to fame in the 1980s as the bassist of the indie rock band The Housemartins who scored a UK number-one single with their a capella cover of Isley-Jasper-Isley's "Caravan of Love". After the band split, Cook formed Beats International whose début album spawned their signature hit, "Dub Be Good to Me" which was another UK number-one as well as going on to become the seventh best-selling single of 1990 in the UK. Cook then went on to join numerous other acts including Freak Power, Pizzaman and The Mighty Dub Katz to moderate success.

Cook adopted the Fatboy Slim moniker in 1996 and released Better Living Through Chemistry to critical acclaim. Follow-ups You've Come a Long Way, Baby and Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars, as well as their associated singles, including "The Rockafeller Skank", "Praise You", "Right Here Right Now", and "Weapon of Choice", were also met with positive reviews and commercial success.

In 2008, Cook founded a project called The Brighton Port Authority. Cook has been responsible for successful remixes for Cornershop, Beastie Boys, A Tribe Called Quest, Groove Armada, and Wildchild.

"Weapon of Choice" features Parliament-Funkadelic and Bootsy's Rubber Band bassist Bootsy Collins, who provides the lead vocals on the song. On the album version, Collins's normal vocals are heard through the right audio channel; the same vocals, distorted to a much deeper pitch, are heard through the left. The song features a prominent sample of Sly & the Family Stone's 1968 song "Into My Own Thing", as well as samples from "All Strung Out Over You" by The Chambers Brothers and "Word Play" by The X-Ecutioners, the latter of which was previously sampled on Fatboy Slim's song "Don't Forget Your Teeth", the B-side to his single "Right Here, Right Now", and "Gangster Trippin".

The chorus of the song, "You could go with this, or you could go with that...", is a homage to the Black Sheep song "The Choice Is Yours (Revisited)", which features a similar chorus. The lines "Walk without rhythm/and it won't attract the worm..." as well as "Don't be shocked by the tone of my voice/Check out my new weapon, weapon of choice" are references to the science fiction novel Dune. The line "halfway between the gutter and the stars" refers to a line in Oscar Wilde's play Lady Windermere's Fan: "We are all of us in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."

The radio edit is referred to as the "Attack Hamster Edit", and is the version featured on Fatboy Slim's greatest hits album The Greatest Hits – Why Try Harder. Collins's vocal tracks, both normal and distorted, remain intact, though the distorted track is now barely audible. It peaked at No. 137 on the UK Singles Chart. The song was briefly featured in the 2001 film Joe Somebody, and was also featured in the Malcolm in the Middle episode "Malcolm vs. Reese". It was used in the E3 Trailer of Skylanders Swap Force.

On the album, the song segues from "Retox" and thus the ending of "Retox" is on this track. At 5:06 on the "single version", the last second (5:05) gets repeated many times until it finishes at 5:36. However, on the album, the last two seconds get repeated until 5:23, and scratching sounds start at 5:14 until the conclusion at 5:45. The single version and album version also have several other differences, including the ordering of vocal snippets towards the five-minute mark.

The song is perhaps best known for its accompanying music video, which was filmed in the lobby of the Marriott Hotel (now the LA Hotel) in Los Angeles in December 2000. Directed by Spike Jonze and featuring actor Christopher Walken, who trained as a dancer in musical theatre before his acting career, it features Walken dancing and flying around in the empty hotel to the music.

The "Weapon of Choice" video won six awards at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards. Walken was awarded one of MTV's "Moonmen" for Best Choreography. The clip was also ranked number one in a list of the top 100 videos of all time by VH1 in April 2002 that was compiled from a music industry survey. The Swedish actor Mikael Persbrandt has also danced in a version of the music video that was directed by Malik Bendjelloul. In 2012, British comedian and presenter Rowland Rivron also won charity TV show Let's Dance for Sport Relief with his re-enactment of the video's choreography.

Walken has cited the involvement of Jonze as one of his main motivations for appearing in the video, which he also welcomed as a chance to do "something different". He also noted that as a trained tapdancer, dancing to electronic music actually suited him well.


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