After the split of the Housemartins Norman Cook formed Beats International, a loose confederation of studio musicians including vocalists Lindy Layton, Lester Noel, D.J. Baptiste, rapper MC Wildski, and keyboardist Andy Boucher. Their first album Let Them Eat Bingo included the number one single “Dub Be Good to Me”, which caused a legal dispute revolving around allegations of infringement of copyright through the liberal use of unauthorised samples: the bassline was a note-for-note lift from “The Guns of Brixton” by The Clash and the lyrics borrowed heavily from “Just Be Good to Me” by The S.O.S. Band. The 1991 follow-up album Excursion on the Version, an exploration of dub and reggae rhythms, failed to repeat the success of its predecessor.
Cook then formed Freak Power with horn player Ashley Slater and singer Jesse Graham. They released their debut album Drive Thru Booty in 1994, which contained the single “Turn On, Tune In, Cop Out”. The cut was picked up by the Levi’s company for use in a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign. In 1996, Cook re-joined Freak Power for the second album More of Everything for Everybody.
In 1995, Cook enlisted help from producer friends Tim Jeffery and JC Reid to create a solo house music album under the Pizzaman pseudonym. The Pizzamania album spawned 3 UK Top 40 hits in “Trippin’ on Sunshine”, “Sex on the Streets” and “Happiness”. “Happiness” was picked up by the Del Monte Foods corporation for use in a UK fruit juice ad. The music videos for “Trippin’ on Sunshine”, “Sex on the Streets” and “Happiness” were all directed by Michael Dominic.
Cook is also behind a group The Mighty Dub Katz along with Gareth Hansome (aka GMoney), Cook’s former flatmate. Together they started the Boutique Nightclub in Brighton, formerly known as the Big Beat Boutique.