Great Northern Rock (BBC Radio Sheffield) - 16 May 1987 (radio)


Fortunately a tape survives of this vintage radio interview, which was certainly one of the band's first. Jarvis and Russell talk to Nick Reynolds about their new album, Freaks.


JC = Jarvis Cocker
RS = Russell Senior
NR = Nick Reynolds

(Tunnel playing in the background)

NR: Russell and Jarvis of Pulp. And they are here to talk about their new LP, which is called Freaks. And it's just come out. If I could start Jarvis by asking about the LP - it was recorded quite some time ago, in fact it was recorded about a year ago. Can you remember much about it now? I mean it's been along time since you actually recorded it.

JC: I can remember it, yeah, it was... (Russell interrupts)

RS: It's got a yellow sleeve.

JC: Yeah, I remember recording it, you know, it was fantastic, we got it together in the studio. We started on Midsummer's Day, June 1986. And, you know, we recorded it - we sort of like went into the studio and played instruments. Somebody taped them actually.

RS: Yeah, we've been holding it back for a long time because we thought we were quite ahead of the time, at the time, and we've been waiting for the world to catch up with us.

NR: Do you think the world has caught up with you now?

RS: I think there are a few people who are almost ready for it.

NR: Well, seriously folks, why has the LP taken so long to come out?

RS: (Mumbles something)

JC: Well, it's music biz isn't it, you know, it's grinding of wheels, err... which move so very slowly. And so it took such a long time to come out, you know it's... it's like someone with constipation.

NR: Do you feel a bit mistreated by the music industry?

RS: Yeah...

JC: Yeah, I mean... go on say it... I mean...

RS: They've screwed us up.

JC: Yeah.

NR: Oh dear.

JC: Well, you know... it's a horrible monster, and horrible monsters can destroy you. But you have to make a friend of fear; you have to make of friend of the horror, the horror of the music biz.

RS: That's right.

JC: And once you've done that, once you've made friends with it - and you've realised death really is your friend and that you can make use of that - then you can get on with it.

NR: Well, the line-up of the band has changed quite a bit since the LP came out - we won't go into the line-up changes because you talked about that last week on the programme. But how do you think the new line-up sounds in terms of the old? Do you think it's a different sound or do you think it's pretty much of a continuation?

RS: Well, in some ways it's different and in some ways it's the same.

JC: Shut up you boring fart. Anyway, erm, well yeah it's different. There wouldn't have been much point in doing it if it wasn't going to be different, I suppose. Perhaps it's a little bit more... I suppose this LP some people have said it's dark, you know it's dark and it's a bit...

RS: It's a kind of heavy feeling we get from it, isn't it?

JC: Some people have said that, yeah.

RS: Kind of heavy.

NR: So you think there's a bit more light in the sound now?

JC: Well, it's still got a lot of darkness in it, but it's a bit more lively about it.

NR: Right well, we're going to play one track from the LP now and then we're going to come back and talk some more. I actually think the track we're going to play now actually sounds a bit more like the new line-up. I don't know whether you will agree with that or not. You can talk about that afterwards. This is a track from the LP and it's called The Never-Ending Story.

(The Never-Ending Story played)

NR: Well, you just heard Pulp there with a track from the LP Freaks that was called The Never-ending Story. Do you think that sounds a bit like the new line-up - that kind of Eastern feel to it, Jarvis?

JC: Yeah, I think you're very perceptive.

NR: Oh, that's very kind of you to say so. I was wondering about the songs, the characters in the songs on Freaks, they seem to be sort of quite desperate kind of people, they are kind of pursued by things, they have bad dreams...

JC: It's all autobiographical.

NR: I was going to ask that - are the songs autobiographical?

JC: Yeah, I'm just screwed up, you know.

NR: (Laughs)

JC: Basically, I have had it.

NR: Really. Well...

JC: My life's in ruins; nobody will talk to me anymore; I've got no friends; it's...

NR: Oh dear, that's very sad. Should I perhaps appeal for the listeners to ring in and perhaps be your friend Jarvis? Would you like that to happen?

JC: Well, actually if anyone wants to be my friend, yeah...

NR: Ring in on 682682 and give Jarvis a friend.

JC: Yeah, please.

NR: Do you think the songs on the LP could be described as love songs?

JC: Could be. Could be.

RS: In some ways yes and in some ways no.

JC: It's very perceptive that answer, Russ. It's really good. Anyway, love songs, yeah they are love songs, but I suppose they're not normal love songs, as in most of them tend to be about problems, rather than, you know: 'Hey, I'm in love. I love it.'

NR: You seem to explore the dark side of love shall we say.

JC: Well yeah. Just call be Patrick MacNee, you know, with my Tales From the Darkside - tales from the backside.

NR: Well, that sounds pretty terrifying to me.

JC: Well it is... I'm joking about it now, but yeah I do agree it is quite dark. Obviously, we're talking here in radio studio and it's... (Recording cuts out)

NR: One thing I thought on listening to the LP is that it is quite a Sheffield sort of record - not in a kind of obvious way, because people always think of Sheffield as industrial funk and great jack-hammers smashing away.

RS: Which Sheffield music never really has been much, apart from students at Sheffield University being in bands.

NR: I mean the LP actually is about people who seem to be in some sort of desperate wasteland and sometimes Sheffield is a bit like that. Would you say that or not?

JC: Yeah, it's not famous for a certain sort of person, like you think of Liverpool and you've got your loveable scousers, and you think about London and you've got your cheeky cockneys, and you think about Manchester and you've got, I don't know what that's got but you've got something.

RS: Loveable Mancunians?

JC: Loveable Mancunians, yeah. Sheffield it's got... err... you know it just doesn't seem to have that thing. I think Sheffield's alright because you have to make things for yourself, nothing's laid on, you know, there's no spread laid on. It's err... you've got no illusions about it.

RS: It is good because it's not just bland, it's ugly, and you have to make a friend of ugliness.

NR: I think we've already got into this.

JC: It's true though, you have to make of friend of it, otherwise it will devour you and eat you up.

RS: It's like (??).

NR: Alright erm. Are there any plans to record with your new line-up?

JC: I certainly hope so, yeah, I mean we don't want to get into this situation where you're waiting to get a year older before something comes out. If I had my way you would go in one day and it would be out about two weeks afterwards.

NR: But are there any actual specific plans, practical plans?

RS: There are tentative plans, yeah.

JC: You've put out feelers, put it that way.

NR: Put out feelers, that sounds pretty monstrous as well.

JC: Yep.

NR: Tell us about the gig because you're playing next week. And while you're telling us about the gig I'll go and cue the record up.

RS: Yeah, we'll be playing on Tuesday at the Limit club. We'll be on stage at approximately eleven o'clock. There's no other bands on, which I'm sure you will be glad about.

JC: And it's going to be a good show, innit.

RS: It is going to be a good show, yeah.

JC: We've got slides haven't we.

RS: We have. We've got a multimedia cosmic tangerine experience.

JC: And music as well.

RS: And music. And our own disco.

JC: Yeah. I think it's going to be quite good myself. What do you think?

RS: Yes, I think it should be alright.

JC: I think it's going to be really good, yeah.

NR: Well, if it's anything like it was last time you played the Limit, at which I was present, it should be very good indeed.

RS: That's very perceptive of you to say so.

NR: Well, you know...

JC: He's okay this...

NR: Well, you know...

RS: It's a good show isn't it.

NR: Well, it has its moments.

JC: And I like your shirt as well, it's a very good one...

RS: You want to come for a drink, yeah?...

NR: We better stop now before we get complaints. This is another track from the LP Freaks. Thanks very much for coming in and talking to me.

JC: Welcome.

NR: Don't forget everyone must get down to the Limit on Tuesday to see Pulp. Everybody else must buy the LP, Freaks, which is in the shops now. This is a track from it - this is called Life Must Be So Wonderful.

(Life Must Be So Wonderful played)

NR: Pulp from their excellent LP Freaks, and I'm not just saying that because they are here, because they've just left the building, so I could say anything I liked, but it is a really good LP.

Page last modified on October 08, 2007, at 11:34 PM