Archive for the ‘Pulp’ Category


Monday, January 24th, 2011

Listen: Sorted For E’s & Wizz /Pulp
Sorted For E's & Wizz /Pulp

Dave Bedford from Fire Records in London became quite a good friend during my days with Island in the early 90′s, as I’d be in town for two or three week stays at a time. We had, and still do have, similar tastes in both the past and present. Logically, he and I share a vinyl addiction but more importantly, a natural chemistry about so many things. Kind of like that occasional person you meet and within hours, feel as though you’ve known your whole life.

Never did Dave make a suggestion about a band that wasn’t eye to eye with my tastes, so when he nudged me rather relentlessly about seeing Pulp in December ’91, somewhere along Portobello Road near the Rough Trade shop on Talbot, in a small pub, I was interested. Apparently, they were looking to get out of Fire and really worth checking out.

Why not? Howard was in town, so I suggested we all meet up there, see the band and have some food together. Howard brought David Field and a few friends as well. Everyone was in.

Before leaving the Island office, I asked a some of the A&R guys to join. Pulp were deemed damaged goods at that point, having gone from indie label pillar to post for several years, treading water and considered to be at a low point of no return career-wise. My invitations were met with disinterest and I’m sure a few rolled eyes once I turned away. No worries, I was planning my exit a few months down the road to start The Medicine Label. Just trying to be nice fellows.

The pub was miserably empty when Pulp went on, maybe thirty people tops. Most dwindled off after a few songs, even our posse, sans Dave Bedford, decided to go down the road for a drink and wait for us to finish having a look.

I was in awe. They seemed fantastic. Dave was right. Jarvis (one of the best radio presenters in the world at the moment btw) doing his routine, fitted out in a wide wale brown hip hugger corduroy suit replete with white belt. Literally straight out of a Scott Walker photo essay, no surprise there.

Next day in the office, I couldn’t shake the previous night’s show. They were clearly too English to try working with for US only, and the London office were sternly not interested. No one was waiting for me to walk away before rolling their eyes now. So I just drifted off rather defeated, accepting I was born in the wrong place, wrong time to do anything professional with Pulp, just needed to be content staying a fan.

Six months later, I was setting up my label through Warner Brothers in Los Angeles, and the new regime at Island UK were signing Pulp.

Good for them. For my money, the band’s first proper Island album was DIFFERENT CLASS, a picture perfect creative culmination of all their new found confidence yet not so distant hardships at being kicked about for years. DIFFERENT CLASS become a stake in music history’s timeline.

“Sorted For E’s And Wizz’, having maybe the best title ever for a song and despite being spotlighted by the mainstream press as obviously drug related, hurled itself to #2 in the UK singles chart. Not initially, which was frustrating, but eventually pressed on 7″ vinyl, the single finally graced the library shelves. Fun and funny as it is, there’s some chilling lyric bits and all too true. A desert island single. Hands down.

Listen: Disco 2000 / Pulp
Disco 2000 / Pulp

Fuck me, did this sound good compressed as hell via Radio 1′s signal and coming out of the car dashboard. Those opening chords had every shotgun seat occupant diving for the volume dial. Involuntary reaction.

Listen: Disco 2000 (7″ Mix) / Pulp
Disco 2000 (7

I seem to remember this single mix being done for the US. God knows why. I mean, the band came over and supported Blur in ’94, thereby building a nice following and deserved airplay, but of course radio…..

The Blur / Pulp tour played at New York’s Academy. Remembered this well, it was Corinne’s birthday, September 29, 1994. Seeing Pulp was a perfect present, she loved them from day one. Only problem being she wanted to do something or other straight afterwards, hence dragged my ass out just as Blur were hitting their third number. Bummer, but it was her birthday.

Listen: Disco 2000 (Motiv 8 Discoid Mix) / Pulp
Disco 2000 (Motiv 8 Discoid Mix) / Pulp

Nice thing about the above ‘Disco 2000 (7″ Mix)’: it gave Island an excuse to press up a jukebox single, basically the trend amongst the labels at that time. These singles were low end design, paperless label, large center hole and very limited, literally for jukeboxes.

It was coupled with ‘Disco 2000 (Motiv 8 Discoid Mix)’, a near eight minute techno club version that made it’s way onto a rather nice promo 12″ some months earlier. The 12 was played a lot, like a real lot, in the house on the Dual stacking turntable I’d bought at the Warner Brothers Records used equipment sale for employees. $10, and still works like a charm to this day.

One of Pulp’s crowning moments was headling an all day event at Finsbury Park on July 25, 1998. It was a Saturday, I desperately wanted to get back home after a week in London, but decided it could be worth pushing my flight back by a day. Turned out being one of my better decisions in life.

The Stone Roses

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

She Bangs The Drums / The Stone Roses

Listen: She Bangs The Drums / The Stone Roses SheBangsTheDrums.mp3

I remember seeing The Stone Roses in the smallest place, somewhere along Portobello Road. Damn if I can remember the name, but it was definitely a pub. I saw Pulp there a year or so later, playing to about 30 people. Jarvis had his best Scott Walker outfit on: brown wide courds, hip huggers, complete with a thick white belt and matching jacket. Everyone I was with turned their noses up and met me down the way instead of watching. Duh. The Stone Roses though had a mob scene going on their night – must have been around ‘91-ish. I never thought they looked amazing. There was just something clutsy about their stage language. Ian Brown couldn’t really sing of course. Still, this one did sound great live. That I vividly recall. I’m right back to the moment every time I hear it. It’s one of the defining songs of that period (another is The Charlatans ‘Sproston Green’), although everyone sights ‘Fool’s Gold’ as The Stone Roses’ seminal track. I disagree.

Brett Anderson

Monday, September 1st, 2008

Love Is Dead / Brett Anderson

Listen: Love Is Dead / Brett Anderson 01 love is dead (01).mp3

My first time seeing Suede was March ’92 in Brighton, opening for The Fall. I’d missed them the night before and was in a state. I loved their demo that had been made at the Island studios just before I left the label. After the show, I was jaw dropped and wide eyed. This was the real deal. They captured the ultimate British sound, bringing to the grooves, well, all the poison of London. Suede hit me dead center – I realized what I’d been waiting for. Even though it’s not that long ago, I harken back to that early 90′s period with Blur, Pulp, and The Stone Roses getting their footholds in pubs along Ladbroke Groove and Camden Town. Still, for me, Suede glistened above them all. Never did they disappoint live. No small contribution coming from Mat’s bass on that front. Brett had the physical swagger, and Mat the rhythmic. I really wanted to sign them and so took the band round to meet all the Warner Brothers people in Burbank a few months later. It was a memorable trip – these English guys very out of place in LA – and for their first time ever. We crammed into a rented convertible (that somehow I ended up with) and went to Santa Monica Pier, stopping at a few garage sales along the way, everyone wearing long sleeves and pants in blazing California sun. Before leaving town, the earthquake of ’92 hits. It’s pretty freaky driving to LAX without one working traffic light on the way, yet risking it just to get home. Even though he started out with a bang, Brett’s writing just kept getting better and better. COMING UP, their third album, is a masterpiece. A formula was patented and kept working. So it’s brave and commendable that Brett chose a more stark and personal path for his solo releases. He’s begun to establish himself as a songwriter and singer of real depth, his voice more powerful than ever. This solo single, his first, was a nice treat on release. Don’t know what I was expecting, so the unexpected really worked – it’s a much played favorite.