It's been a tough six months for Jay Kay since the split with Denise Van Outen.
Here, as he prepares for his first live show in two years, he tells all to.
Denise calls me the Wounded Buffalo, announces Jay Kay over pints of lager and expensive sandwiches in the garden of the exclusive Hempel Hotel, Bayswater. She says, "Don't give me none of that Buffalo rubbish... You and your bloody 'Little L' and your bloody Buffalo songs."
In telling the story against himself, Kay neatly skewers any attempts to make his new single,
'Love With A Little L' - as in 'You make me love you with a little L' - any more controversial. The song, which is uppermost in his mind,
was written while he was still living with Ms Denise Van Outen, star of stage and screen. Fortunately Denise, who moved out of Jay's
palatial spread some month ago, is obviously made of sterner stuff than most people who attempt to cross Kay's gravel drive.
The Jamiroquai singer refers to 'the pieces of his broken shell' on the single but he takes no prisoners in conversation, or in real life.
He hates tabloid journalists, for example, especially the ones who arrived at his High Wycombe gaff earlier this year, the day after he was
photographed leaving a Soho club at 3am apparently the worse for drink. 'What happened was I'd been in the studio finishing the new album
(A Funk Odyssey). I'd been working flat for six months and I went out and got trolleyed, which is my business. It was no big deal.'
Kay laughs at the incident but he's seriously down on tabloid snoopers. 'I don't court publicity - I'm hardly ever in The Sun or whatever -
but these two come up to my house the next day. If you invade my privacy I will seriously do you. I'll follow you around all day.
You start looking through my windows and I'll tie you to your f***ing car, put a gag in your mouth and leave you there all day.
I'm not a soft touch. I'm more trouble than Robbie and Liam put together.'
This is excellent news. For Kay, who has many detractors and admits, 'I'm not flavour of the month in the music papers...
I'm not even flavour of the decade,' is a fine fellow with a wicked sense of humour and a hippy, lippy attitude that goes with his exaggerated, whippet-slim, soul-boy swagger. Indeed, Kay walks it like he talks it. Jamiroquai have sold more albums than just about anyone in
this country outside of U2 and Oasis, so if the taste-makers don't rate him, Kay couldn't give a monkey's.
Born in Stretford, Manchester - where else? - in December 1969, he moved to sunny Ealing when he was 13, although he was brought up in a Leicestershire boarding school because his mother, a club singer, was on the road. When I put it to Kay that he is a complete control freak, he doesn't disagree. 'I am absolutely. It comes from being in a one-parent family and my mum was adopted. I had an identical twin brother who died at six weeks and so I'm the sole person who can carry on. He died in 1970 and it f***ed me up. I'd like to have him here now.
Something's missing from my life and I've missed out personally. There's also a guilt thing - he died, I didn't. I'm living life for two people.
There was an obvious difference even then. He was quiet and I wasn't. We spent nine months together and he was taken away.
It's given me an insight into death. So, to answer your question - yeah, I am a control freak. I've seen so many f*** it up.
When I was signed as Jamiroquai I signed on my own. I already knew everything I wanted to do.'
Kay signed an infamous, some would say preposterous, long-term eight-album deal with Sony, but he's accepted some substantial rewards
for his loyalty, and albums such as Emergency On Planet Earth and The Return Of The Space Cowboy have had huge sales.
'Good for me, but I fought tooth-and-nail to get to this point. I wouldn't have four other people in a democracy writing songs or a record
company dictating to me. In the beginning, they wanted to give me a producer who'd worked with Sinitta and Erasure!
When he goes, "Oh I've done this and that," I said, "Your bus is over there, now f**k off."'
Outspoken and belligerent as he is, Kay's overall ethic is quite admirable. It's hard to argue with his opinion that 'when I turn on the radio it's all mincing crap', nor his observation that most groups 'look like twats in their videos'. He was wittering on about quashing world debt on his
first album in 1993., long before U2 jumped that bandwagon, and, despite the fact that he drives a fleet of Ferraris ('I collect them,
I'm preserving works of art'), he's been an ardent fundraiser for Tusk, the African wildlife trust, and Shelter and various eco-charities.
'But people don't get me,' says the Buffalo, pawing the ground again. 'When I did Travelling Without Moving they thought it was about cars 'cos there was a Ferrari on the cover. Er? No. So what if there's a car in the video? Ninety-nine per cent was trees and nature. So I'm accused of
single-handedly destroying the environment? I don't think so. At my house I recycle, I grow organic, all me own vegetables. I fish in my lake. That's because I had a vision. I've been guided. I believe in auras and, yeah, I'm also lucky, but that's because I make positive decisions.'
Those calls have enabled him to live like the lord of the manor in agreeable Buckinghamshire. 'All the new money's backed out,' he sniffs.
'I was there before the Spice Girls. They followed me! I was lucky with the place. I fell in love with the garden so I bid everyone out of my way.
I had a lockout, I couldn't be gazumped. 1780 my place is, parts are earlier, Domesday Book. Humphrey Repton designed the grounds,
all landscaped, double moat, five different waterfalls, an island in the middle of a lake.'
He must wake up and think he's a fortunate chap. 'I do but I also think I'm a man who worked hard to keep it. It wasn't a status symbol for me,
it was about building the two studios for a million quid.' Ah. Kay's astute business sense allows him to make his albums relatively cheaply
and then lease the studios to Sony, so his profit margin is higher than A.N. Other band's who spend their advance in a company studio.
He's hands-on and 'hands off!'.
'I'm outspoken. I get to the point,' he says. 'It's like the single "Little L". I wrote that when we were happy, when we were together, and Den is very dear to me. I love her to death. The song is about our ups and downs but everybody has those. I wanted more love from her, and vice versa.
Is that hard for her to hear? Well, I don't want people rowing up to Den saying, "This is about you." We're amicable. We talk on the phone a lot.
It's been tempered with a little too much Hello! and OK! after the event though. But then she has a different relationship with the press to me.'
This weekend, Jamiroquai make their long-awaited return to live work at Knebworth, a typically flamboyant coup for Kay's soul-funk dance crew. The show is costing him a fortune he says, but he promises 'an hour and ten of good stuff, so I except you to be good to me.
There'll be a lot of thump, thump going on, big fat kicks. I'm a boogie man. If it rocks me, it should work for you.'
So saying, Jay has to go. So he gets in his Ferrari and drives off. Like you do.