In 1978, Jarvis Cocker formed the now-seminal Britpop art rock band Pulp. At the time, Cocker was fifteen years old, and still attending secondary school and his band was like a baby learning to walk—it had to learn how to crawl before being able to prop itself up on shaky legs. By 1981, the band had begun playing gigs and receiving radio play; they were even allowed a Peel session.
However, Pulp wouldn’t hit the big time until the early 90′s—’His ‘n’ Hers’ was the first Pulp album to gain exposure in the US, but what really made Cocker a household name was when he crashed Michael Jackson’s performance at the 1996 BRIT awards. The stunt landed him in jail temporarily, but more importantly, Pulp’s record sales began to increase.
Seven studio albums later, Cocker still retains that endearing sense of humor that was responsible for putting Pulp on the map. His latest endeavor is a collection of lyrics to be released this month. Mother, Brother, Lover contains a selection of sixty-six lyrics, including Pulp hits Common People and Disco 2000. Cocker selected the songs himself, keeping them in an order meant to represent his own song writing aesthetic: a cheeky sense of humor with a focus primarily on relationships and—of course—women.
Cocker recently visited The City School in Sheffield, the secondary school where Pulp was born. In an intimate performance in front of a school assembly, Cocker plays some tunes, offers tips for success and even pokes fun at an early song entitled Shakespeare Rock. The best moment is easily when Cocker goes to the school library to return some books he’s held on to since he attended school—this time, he gets off without any penalty.