TFI Friday was unquestionably one of the biggest television shows of the 90s in the United Kingdom. Chris Evans’ pre-pub, weekend-starting magazine show always managed to strike the right balance between mainstream chat and something a little wilder, but, even so, the appearance of Napalm Death back in 1999 was outlandish even by TFI standards.
Napalm appear alongside such heavyweights as Boyzone’s Ronan Keating, former Casualty actress Claire Goose, long forgotten indie chancers Kula Shaker, Dad rockers Stereophonics and pop-country megastar Sheryl Crow on the episode, featured as part of an item called It’s Your Letters. One viewer, it seems, has written in to complain about the lack of thrash metal on the show, to which Evans replied “We’re more than proud to show our commitment to thrash metal, because Napalm Death are here with us!”, to loud cheers from the live studio audience. Evans then goes on to explain that thrash metal is very short, cracking a joke about how Live Aid would have been half an hour long if it were just thrash all day - said like a man who has clearly never heard Master Of Puppets (never mind the fact that, of course, Napalm Death aren't thrash metal, but we'll let our Chris off on that one).
Regardless, Evans ambles on, explaining that Napalm Death will be playing three songs tonight, before introducing the first, Low Point, while being super keen to tell his audience that the song is only 30 seconds long. Hilarious, right?! Napalm aren't here for the LOL’s though; they blast through the song in ferocious fashion, and we cut back to a grinning Evans, who then introduces The Kill, which is only 22 seconds long.
Napalm play an outrageously vicious version of the track before we cut back to Evans, he and his audience cheering for more. Unsurprisingly, the final track is the shortest, the five-second-long Dead, which Napalm bawl out to the delight of Evans, who afterwards tells us that it was his favourite and that the show will bring us that again later if we have time.
Obviously, it’s all something of a joke segment, and it’s a shame that the band weren’t invited on to play purely on their own merits, but to Napalm Death’s credit, they pulled no punches and refused to tone down their attack, coming out of the whole thing with their heads held high. “We did our usual thing without compromise,” Napalm vocalist Barney Greenway told Kerrang! a few weeks later. “And after all the cold shouldering we’ve had from the industry, it is a bit of a coup to get on this show.”
Very true, and all these years later, it remains a classic, if bizarre, landmark 90s TV moment. Watch it for yourself below.