In a new interview with Rolling StoneJamiroquai frontman Jay Kay speaks about his band’s long-awaited return to the U.S. this year after more than a decade, his recent spinal injuries, his collaboration with Snoop Dogg at Coachella, his set at Woodstock ’99, and more.

Among the various topics covered in Jay Kay’s conversation with Rolling Stone‘s Christopher R. Weingarten is the relatively new trend of contemporary America artists citing Jamiroquai as a “secret influence” on their work. When asked how he feels about the recognition, Kay responds,

I mean it’s very flattering. It’s interesting, I watched the Eric Clapton Life in 12 Bars documentary. … It’s a fascinating documentary, but listening to that, you also remember that, y’know what, everybody got their shit from somewhere else. Snippets, bits, bobs. From a couple of years now I’ve been admiring that Vulfpeck. … I think they’re magic.

Vulfpeck and Jamiroquai are both on the lineup for both North Coast Music Festival and Suwannee Hulaween this year, so we’re hoping that Jay’s affinity for the Vulf leads to some exciting (and funky) onstage collaborations. Only time will tell.

Later in the interview, Kay speaks about the spinal injury he suffered in May that sidelined him for several weeks, and how that’s changed his approach to his live shows. While he relents that he’s had to cut down on his onstage acrobatics, he notes,

The one thing is moving around less has given me more breath for the voice. So, that’s been a bit of a bonus. The voice has been doing really well and it’s been holding up. I’ve been doing better performances than I did 10 years ago.

He also speaks about the joys of fatherhood, and his amusement at his daughter’s perception of his stardom. As Kay muses,

These years are starting to become magic now. The eldest … she saw the footage of one of the gigs, like 25,000 people there, she said to her mum, “Daddy’s got lots of friends, doesn’t he?” I thought to myself, “If only you knew the truth, kid.”

In addition, Jay speaks about his alleged disdain for the American music industry and explains why Jamiroquai stayed away from the States for so long, noting his feelings that the group’s American careers were mismanaged and left a sour taste in his mouth for years:

Let’s get something straight, [my issue is] not with the American audience by any stretch, it’s been with the way I’ve been kinda, sort of handled in the past in a way. … And, I just think, at times, I’m a reasonably feisty guy, there’s no two ways about it. I wanna do what I wanna do. I don’t wanna get kicked around. …

I was just getting touchy and tired of it. And then we got the next Grammy nomination. Everybody else whose got a fucking nomination is down in the thing and I’m up 600 feet in the back of the fucking thing [laughs]. I’m just like, well, hold on a minute. It’s still a nomination. It was a kind of weird thing and I was just like, I don’t know whether I’m gonna get anywhere here. …

And then we went back round in a circle going back on to doing, like, college circuit. “Oh, you know what, it’s really gonna work this time.” And I’m all like, “But dude, I’ve done this. I already did this! 1993, 94. I did it. I’ve done it! Why am I going back? I’ll get to the point. I’m coming over to the States one time, we did like 15 shows or something like that. I came home with a 100,000 dollar bill. Then I go to South America and do seven gigs then go home with … 4 million fucking dollars. … As you guys would say, do the math. …  

He also muses about his experience collaborating with Snoop at Coachella, joking,

That was just an idea that got bandied about. … And he’s a lovely fella. Y’know what made me laugh, Chris? They came in the dressing room … And he’s smoking a blunt and I’m thinking, how many of those does he get through a day? It’s just like some astronomical amount. And anyone’s thinking, “How does he hold it together?” And then I get to San Francisco, flick through two channels, the next minute, I see him in a red dinner jacket with a bow tie, doing some kind of fucking game show [laughs]. And I thought, how the fuck does he hold it together? [Laughs] Really nice guy, though. Proper gent. Proper gent. 

Finally, Kay reveals the whereabouts of the famous hat that he wore in the ubiquitous music video Jamiroquai’s 1996 smash hit, “Virtual Insanity”, explaining,

That hat I gave – and every now and again I kick myself for it – but then again sometimes it’s nice to let things go. … I gave that to a guy called Ken who worked very hard at the Japanese record company at the time, when we were just, like, the fucking biggest-selling non-Japanese artist in the world. … He worked so hard and what have you, I gave it to him. So, Ken, if you’re out here, A) I hope you still got that fucking hat. And B) if you get bored of it and you want to send it back, here’s my address.

Jamiroquai has three more U.S. shows scheduled for the remainder of 2018, including a September 2nd set at Chicago’s North Coast Music Festival, a September 9th show at Forest Hills Stadium in New York, and a headlining slot at this year’s Suwannee Hulaween in Live Oak, FL. For more information on Jamiroquai’s upcoming performances, head to the group’s website.

[H/T Rolling Stone]