DJ Fat Tony on being 'really honest' in his memoir after spending 'a lifetime lying about everything'

Virgin Radio

30 May 2023, 09:42

DJ Fat Tony joined the Chris Evans Breakfast Show with cinch to talk about his book, I Don’t Take Requests.

Tony Marnoch, aka Fat Tony, grew up on an estate in Battersea where he made friends with Boy George, and DJed to the stars before spiralling into serious drug addiction. Now, 15 years sober, his book is a candid account of all he has been through and a call to arms for anyone who has reached rock bottom and needs to find a way back. He told Nick Grimshaw, who is in this week for Chris: “It's the most honest thing I've ever done in my life, because I spent a lifetime lying about everything, and then the moment I started to tell the truth and got really honest, it's the moment I found freedom.

“It's taken me like 56 years to get to that point of actually just discovering the real me. I know who I am now.”

Speaking further about the book, which was written with Michael Hennegan, a writer and journalist who was previously an editor at Vogue Russia and The Sunday Times Style for over a decade, Tony said: “Honestly, I never, ever dreamed that the book would be a Sunday Times bestseller and go to the extent that it's gone to.

“I would wake up at 2am in the morning thinking, ‘What have you done? Why have you told the world that?’ They don't need to know that.’ And I would lay awake thinking ‘Everyone's gonna hate me, I'm gonna get bricks thrown at me in the street.’” 

In fact, quite the opposite is true, and its author told Nick: “It's not the Gruffalo, let's get it right… and to be accepted for that, and loved for that, is a remarkable thing. But to accept the love is even more remarkable.

On his mother reading the book, he said: “My mum knows everything about me, as much as I want her to know about me. And then when I gave her the book, I thought ‘Okay, well, it's all in there now’. And I just wanted her approval on it.”

He continued: “She rang me and she was like, ‘I love it’. I said, ‘love is kind of a weird word’. She went, ‘I really want you to know that I love you, not love the book’. 

“She's always been there, you know, even in the worst times, she supported me.” 

Whilst there are big names in it, Tony said to Nick: “It's not a book about famous people,” and explained that he changed some of the identities of people. 

“There's stories where the story was important [but] the people weren't,” he said. “And I knew that if I'd said who it was, and put their name in it, that would have completely driven it to a different direction. And I didn't want that. So I left those people out, because they're not important to the story.” 

He added: “It’s not a kiss-and-tell story, which a lot of people thought it was gonna be. When you tell your friends you're writing a book, they all look at each other like, ‘Oh my god’. It wasn’t like that.”

These days, Tony DJs for everyone from Elton John to Louis Vuitton. Speaking about “the beauty of music”, he said: “Those first three bars that will make your hair stand on end. That's the power. When that happens, you're not actually listening to the track, you're feeling the track. 

“Music is the best drug you will ever, ever, ever take in your life. And when you connect to it, it can take you anywhere. It's amazing.”

I Don't Take Requests is out now.

For more great interviews listen to  The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with cinch weekdays from 6:30am on Virgin Radio, or catch up on-demand here.