Alright kids! Pulp will officially be taking over US starting tonight on Jimmy Fallon. What song(s) will they play? Who's ready?!
Jarvis has been in town since Thursday performing shows with his side project "Relaxed Muscles" at a Whitney Museum exhibit. I went yesterday and you can see a small clip I filmed at the end. Also I caught him DJing on Thursday night for Kurt Cobain exhibit after party....he played some Hall & Oates, Mr Oizo and other tunes.
Cocker formed Relaxed Muscle in 2002, following Pulp's break up. He performs as "Darren Spooner," using a violent performance style and over-the-top goth costumes and make-up. The group has maintained a relatively low profile since their sole album release in 2003.
Hall & Oates
Great first major interview since Pulp reformed...
Where did the inspiration for a show about the night come from?
In the day, you have to be official and make yourself fit for human consumption because youíre off to work or whatever. Whereas the night time, thatís the Ďyouí time, isnít it? Thatís when you can express who you are. Somehow itís easier when itís dark. Thatís why nightclubs arenít brightly lit. People want to go out and meet other people or even find out who they are themselves. Thereís something about the dark that lets you do that.
Whatís the biggest difference between your nights now and the ones 15 years ago?
Oh God. My nights donít last nearly as long. But thatís kind of been the nice thing about doing the programme. In [one episode of Wireless Nights] I go for a walk around Camden at about 10pm. When you get older you donít just wander the streets, do you? Youíve always got to have a destination. But when I lived in Sheffield, I lived in this old factory building. If Iíd been out at night Iíd have to walk through the city and there were no other houses around so Iíd often wander; I donít want you to think that Iím a prowler [laughs]. It was just because I was going home. But Iíd often find myself walking down completely deserted streets and thereís something magical about feeling like youíve got the whole city to yourself.
Donít people yell things at you in the street now, though?
That kind of stuff doesnít happen any more. But I met this quite intense Brazilian guy about an hour ago. He wanted to have a photograph taken [with me] so he stopped someone as they were walking past, but his English wasnít very good. The guy he stopped to take the picture was quite well dressed and stylish so he thought the Brazilian guy wanted to take a photo of him for some kind of style blog [laughs]. So he went, ďYeah, of course,Ē and struck this pose. The Brazilian guy went, ďNo, no, no, with him.Ē So the stylish guy looked a bit crestfallen that nobody wanted a picture of him and all the while I was stood there with a thick smile on my face in this strange situation.
It took Pulp a long time to properly dent the charts. Do you think late-blooming success would do todayís bands some good?
Yeah. [Adopts Yorkshire accent] They donít know theyíre born, these kids. They havenít had to put the graft in. No, I donít believe that. When we did these [reunion] concerts, we had to go back and listen to all the songs in order to learn how to play them again. I realised a lot of the early songs were painful. I think we did improve. We waited a long time for success, and when it came I hated it. So it didnít help me deal with it. I didnít handle it that well, but I donít know if anybody does.
You were on the dole for a lot of those early years. Should the government financially support musicians and artists more now?
Itís a difficult area. There has to be a reason for you to be in a band. There has to be something you want to get across or some sort of grudge that youíve got that youíll only be able to settle by being in a band. Sheffield City Council had a go at funding musicians with a studio called Red Tape. It was awful. And this is one of the paradoxes of [the music business]. It was a noble idea and the people who set that studio up had good intentions, but the reality is that if you try to subsidise things, it doesnít work. It has to come out of an inner compulsion.
Has your attitude to class softened since you wrote Common People?
Many people have been saying the band scene has become more middle class. I can understand that because theyíve got the impetus of saying, ďLook, Iím not just a posho, Iíve got something to say.Ē The conditions that created rock music donít exist any more so there has to be new ones. If something new happens it will come from somewhere unexpected. Thatís our main problem: weíre so plugged in that we think we know about things because we get information. But information isnít the same as knowledge. Weíre jaded without the experience.
How are preparations for Pulpís mini-tour of the US coming along?
Well, Iím trying to get healthy [for it]. We did two songs at the NME Awards recently and I was tired after that so I realised I needed to do some exercise.
So youíre hitting the gym?
Iíve opened a can of worms here. I decided that although Iím the more mature performer I still want to move about a bit so Iíve been to the gym a couple of times. I mean, I could lift this table and chuck it over there. And, of course, the walking around for the programme ó thatís cardio.
You donít Lycra-up, though?
No, no. I donít think weíd want to put those images in peopleís minds.
Pulp won an NME Outstanding Contribution To Music Award recently. Does it feel odd to be at that stage considering your rowdy Britpop beginnings?
A lot of these are just made up on the night. An award for longevity. But thatís how culture works. The main example weíve had in my lifetime was punk. It seemed so iconoclastic, it was all about smashing things up and getting rid of stuff. Then 35 years later there are hardback books about it. You canít help it, it just becomes part of history. And as soon as something is part of history, in some way it seems respectable. Itís weird. So itís no different if youíre in a group. Thatís the problem with music. Itís too aware of its own heritage now.
Are there any new Pulp songs on the horizon?
It took us long enough to relearn the old songs, so weíll have to see about that. But Iíve got ideas. I keep my little notebook, Iíve always got that with me [fishes a small notepad titled ĎStuff + Nonsenseí from his jacket]. Hopefully thereís more stuff than nonsense in there.
Were you worried about the reception to last yearís gigs after you decided to reunite?
Yeah, super-worried. You may have spent your life doing something, but that doesnít necessarily mean anyone else is bothered. So it was nice that people were bothered when we decided to play some shows. And the fact that it wasnít all bald heads when we looked out was nice as well. Some reasonably young people came to see us.
Your contemporaries have branched out. Liam Gallagherís making clothes, Alex James hasÖ
Made a lot of cheese. Heís probably got a mountain of cheese.
Possibly, but we were going to ask you about non-music pursuits. Have you turned down any particularly ridiculous endorsement offers?
No, so Iíd like to put a call out now to say that Iím available. If anyone wants to offer sponsorship, thereís room on the back of the jacket for some writing or a logo, so letís just go for it.
Do you have any surprisingly lowbrow habits? Ever kick back and watch The X Factor?
I gave up on The X Factor when they did that awful version of Heroes by David Bowie. Itís not music, is it? I donít want to sound like a fuddy-duddy, but to me itís everything I donít agree with. The thing that makes good music is that idea that somebody stumbles upon something or just through their enthusiasm and energy they invent something by accident. Thatís where all great music has come from. Probably all great art if weíre honest. And the idea on The X Factor that these experts come in and tell you how to do it, how to style yourself and everything elseÖ Also, look at the level of the experts. In a world where Louis Walsh can be considered an expert, somethingís wrong. I hate that because then it makes kids think that thereís a proper way to be a pop star, like thereís a formula. And itís crap.
Do you have much spare time to go to the pub?
The trouble is most of my friends have stopped drinking so itís a bit sad if youíre the only one there getting hammered while theyíre all on orange juice. So I donít go to the pub that much, but I donít mind them. Iím quite into this thing in London at the moment where there seem to be a lot of cocktail bars. I had one the other day called The Gentle Man. I canít remember exactly what was in it, but it had that mark of a good cocktail where it didnít taste alcoholic or of any one of its individual ingredients. Somehow, by mixing all those things, a chemical reaction takes place and it turns into another thing. I like that.
Finally, youíve appeared in Harry Potter, made radio shows and last year you were named editor-at-large at publisher Faber. Have you got any lasting ambitions left?
Iím quite happy with how things are going at the moment, I think. Just today I managed to finish this radio thing, and Iím not very good at planning ahead. So Iím kind of thinking, what should I do next? Iíve got into being outdoors. I was always brought up in a city so itís novel, the countryside. I think I might be an outdoors type. I mean, I already own a wax jacket.
Bear Grylls has just lost his job on Man Vs WildÖ
Has he? Well, there you go; Iíve got a similar physique.
Pulp 2012 Tour Dates:
04/10 Ė New York, NY @ Radio City Music Hall *
04/11 Ė New York, NY @ Radio City Music Hall
04/13 Ė Indio, CA @ Coachella Music Festival
04/17 Ė San Francisco, CA @ The Warfield
04/19 Ė Pomona, CA @ Fox Theater
04/20 Ė Indio, CA @ Coachella Music Festival
04/23 Ė Mexico City, MX @ Palacio de los Desportes
05/04 Ė Murcia, ES @ Estrella Levante SOS 4.8
07/06 Ė Turku, FI @ Ruisrock
07/08 Ė Tunari, RO @ Bíestfest
07/13 Ė Azzano Decimo, IT @ Fiera Della Musica