Jarvis Cocker

Pulp were inspired to reunite by the death of a friend

The ‘Common People’ group are playing a string of festival dates this summer – their first shows since splitting in 2002 – and frontman Jarvis Cocker said they were spurred by the tragic passing of someone close to the band.

Although he didn’t name the person in question, he told radio station BBC 6 Music: “I think that had a lot to do with it. You suddenly realise you can’t take things for granted.”

Guitarist Mark Webber added: “I always thought we’d do something together again eventually, but when he died, I realised we should maybe grasp that opportunity.”

Jarvis also said he has been anxious in the build up to their first show, which is at the Primavera sound festival in Spain tomorrow (28.05.11).

He said: “I’ve had a few anxiety dreams already. The favourite is usually wandering through a festival, then looking at your watch and realising you should have been on stage 10 minutes ago.”

Pulp will play at the UK’s Isle Of Wight Festival on June 11, Open’er festival in Gdynia, Poland on July 1, Wireless festival in London on July 3, Scotland’s T in the Park on July 10 and the UK’s Reading and Leeds festivals on August 26 to 28

Little Boots for Rankin, The Enemy, Youth Music charity gigs

Little Boots for RankinThe Enemy and Little Boots have signed up to play gigs as part of a forthcoming exhibition project by photographer Rankin for children’s music charity Youth Music. The acts will play live at London’s Phillips de Pury Gallery. Little Boots will perform on November 12, followed by The Enemy a day later (13). Tickets will be available from Youthmusic.org.uk/rankin from today. The gigs will be part of a week-long series of music and art events around the ‘Destroy’ exhibition.  For the event, Rankin has asked various musicians to customise a picture of themselves with Blur’s Alex James, Carl Barat, Jarvis Cocker, Kasabian and REM’s Michael Stipe among those involved. Viewings featuring performances by acts including Patrick Wolf and Micachu will take place prior to the ticketed gigs. Head to Youthmusic.org.uk/rankin for more information.

Secret Garden Party announce more acts

secret-garden-partyThe Secret Garden Party is pleased to announce additional artists to the bill for this year’s event. They are:


As previously announced,


This year’s festival offers unprecedented escape from the daily drudge of normality, the state of 2009’s Britain, and invites you into the world of Babylon & Eden, a joyous romp through the light and dark of your soul,

Besides the great line-up, there will be Action Camps, Art Installations, Boudoirs and many other delights, all home grown and hand picked for your visit to the Garden,

Tickets for 2009 are on sale priced at £137 + booking fee. That includes camping, parking, fun, frolics plus all the other hidden extras that usually lurk within a ticket price. Campervans however will be charged an additional £45 for the duration (they take up a lot of space). Teen tickets for 13-17 year olds will be £110 plus booking fee, and as per, under 13’s get in free, but still need a ticket, mind. All Early Bird tickets have now completely sold out.

Maximo Park new single

maximo-park1First single from forthcoming LP “Quicken the Heart” released on CD/ 2 x 7″ vinyl/ digital download through Warp Records on May 4 By now you would, in all probability, have heard “Wraithlike”, the first tantalizing taster from Maximo Park’s imminent third album, “Quicken the Heart”. However, that is but one piece of the forthcoming Maximo Park puzzle. Just as the shiny new third album, produced by Nick Launay, is pretty much full to bursting with all manner of aural surprises and delights – and pushes the band to new levels not previously witnessed – so the first proper single is yet another delicious leftfield turn. For with “The Kids Are Sick Again”, Paul Smith and company have pulled off something wonderfully rare indeed: they’ve created an instantly immortal, poignantly timed, ridiculously addictive pop song.

At once powered by fury but laced with romance and optimism, “The Kids Are Sick Again” is an impassioned call to arms, an anthemic clarion call against societal complacency and small-town boredom, or as Smith himself says, “it’s a song about escape…about breaking free of your mental shackles and jumping into the unknown”. As such, it is a song which resolutely defies traditional structure and convention and uplifts and galvanizes in equal measure, finding a band operating at the very peak of their powers. This is a roof-raising, chest-swelling, triumphant single of the kind so rarely made anymore, and one that definitely ranks as one of the band’s absolute best.

Following on from the download-only teaser “Wraithlike”, this is a double whammy to sharpen anticipation for “Quicken the Heart” like no other. Indeed, so besotted with “Wraithlike” was Zane Lowe that upon him debuting the track on his radio show on March 9, he ended up playing it twice, back to back, followed swiftly by Jo Whiley the next day. An extremely rare honour indeed, but one certainly befitting the stellar return of Maximo Park – and we mean literally stellar. Just wait until you see the artwork… 

More about Maximo Park
Just two vinyl-only singles in, and things are pulling very sharply into focus for Maximo Park. A year ago, their inchoate howls of frustration set to big choruses were still largely un-moulded and all-but unknown outside (even inside) their native Newcastle. But what a difference a debut makes. Now, copies of their first, red vinyl seven-inch pairing of “Graffiti” and “Going Missing” are ferociously fought over at an online marketplace near you, changing hands for upwards of 50 quid. Thankfully one of these rare artefacts found its way into the hands of Steve Beckett, Warp Records supremo. And the band who were to redefine the roster of the world’s leading electronic label were decidedly on their way.

Beckett saw in Maximo Park and their arresting frontman Paul Smith, something of the promise he had earlier identified in Pulp and Jarvis Cocker just as they were making their transition from bookish miserable-ism to sharply-honed, hilarious social commentary, set in a pop idiom. Both bands talk easily about the landscape of boring, sh-tty Britain, speaking with originality, accuracy, resigned wit, and more than a little fire in their bellies. Like Cocker, Paul seems often thwarted in his songs, waiting both literally and metaphorically as the “Position Closed” sign goes up.

“That song ['Signal & Sign'] is supposed to be about seizing new direction and a new dawn, a very simplistic call to arms: ‘Don’t waste your life, Just go outside!’,” says Smith. “But the chorus is just a confused person, and there are loads of different moods and other smaller stories within the song. I like balancing simple and complex elements and watching them battle it out with each other.”

Words mean everything to Smith and he confesses to delighting in trying to smuggle strange concepts and non-pop phrasing into his work. “Every single line on the record I’ve thought about individually to see if it stands up in isolation,” he says. “Often you only get one line on a record that really gets you, and I’m trying to go one better than that. Pop’s a transient form of culture and I’m trying to add something of resonance to it.”

Smith is undoubtedly a charismatic and serious young man, but he goes through some kind of metamorphosis when he approaches a stage. “There is a transformational aspect to performing,” he says. “I react to the music and filter it through my body. It’s different every night, a different place with a different atmosphere and different people. From my point of view, it’s a very basic thing that happens onstage. People say ‘That Paul Smith, he thinks he’s a bigger star than he is,’ but when I’m jumping around like an idiot I’ve got no time to think about being cool, or anything other than giving 100% commitment. I am a servant of the music and I’ve got no self-confidence outside of that. It comes out of you and if you can’t express it you shouldn’t be on stage; it is after all built on a higher level so people can see you.”

On stage and in the studio, Smith deals in tight wordplay, his tumult of syllables bombarding the listener and reflecting the singer’s state of personal confusion over another fine mess he’s gotten himself into. Somehow out of this maelstrom Maximo Park reliably manages to conjure a stone cold killer chorus, as in the epically pummelling “Once A Glimpse,” the deliciously baffling “The Coast Is Always Changing,” or the self-explanatory “Now I’m All Over The Shop.”

Throughout their short songs Smith chaffs gently at the boundaries of the pop lexicon, breathing real life into stifling lyrical situations, making them true, in his own language and own accent. So that, without ever seeming to try to be different, he manages to construct a believable environment of small town, narrowed horizons, from which a young man has no choice but to cut and run.

“People have a preconceived notion of what constitutes real music and soul music, but Soul Music is just another package. Real soul music is Joy Division and Cocteau Twins, as well as Aretha Franklin,” says Smith. “A Certain Trigger is an emotional record. I’m not sure that any new emotions have been invented in the last 20 million years. Things remain pretty basic and it’s those things that I’m trying to interpret; trying to be universal and individual at the same time.”

In this quest he is bolstered and driven ever forward by the inventive song structures of Duncan Lloyd (guitars), Lukas Wooller (keys), Archis Tiku (bass), and Tom English (drums). Musically there is something almost claustrophobically tight about Maximo Park that means you have to check yourself to make sure you remember to breathe.

Out of this ferment the band is writing some of the best and most memorable pop songs of their generation. Both sides of that classic debut, “Graffiti” and “Going Missing” sound like bona fide big, big hits of the near future. “Graffiti,” with its barnstorming rattle through a tale of hitting a personal wall, is bug-eyed intensity incarnate; its burning and complex guitars providing the perfect escape route from a town where nothing happens and where both hope and vision have long since been lost.

“It’s about the continual search for romance around every corner in everyday life,” says Smith. “‘I’ll do graffiti if you sing to me in French’ was a line left over from before I joined the band. And it reminded me of the allure of the Paris riots of 1968 and the New Wave and Situationism; a time when it seemed possible for anything to happen, but remembered in a relationship when nothing seems possible and you are looking for a moment of transcendence. ‘What are we doing here if romance isn’t dead?!’”

Anthemic and immense, “Going Missing” is if anything stronger still, the plangent, ringing guitars managing to recall both primetime Stone Roses and something great by Dinosaur Jr, like “Start Choppin’.” “I’m going missing for a while, I’ve got nothing left to lose” sings Smith with all the urgent passion of someone who’s just emerged from another bad situation and realized once again that life is just chockfull of possibilities.

And it doesn’t stop there. Closing the album, “Kiss You Better” contains perhaps the record’s most perfectly encapsulated moment when Smith demands, “You! Are you so scared that you’re just going to let it happen?!” And it sounds like a vital personal question to everyone listening; a rallying cry for anyone not dealing with their sh-t, when in truth it’s probably just Paul asking another girl why she’s copping off with someone else and not him…again.

Oh, yes, did I mention sexual frustration? Not all the frustration set out on A Certain Trigger is directed at the pen pushers of petty bureaucracy. A fair amount, in fact, most of Paul’s tension seems to stem from his singular inability to do as well as he’d like with the ladies. (i.e. “Night I Lost My Head,” “Apply Some Pressure,” “Postcard Of A Painting” and “Signal & Sign”). But that’s another story.

Tony Christie to play Glastonbury

tony-christieTONY CHRISTIE has been added to this year’s Glastonbury line-up.  The crooner will play the main Pyramid Stage on the Sunday afternoon of the three-day festival.  Christie, who said he was “in awe” of the event, follows in the footsteps of Neil Diamond, Dame Shirley Bassey, Brian Wilson and James Brown, who have all played Sunday slots over the past few years. Fans can expect to hear him perform his number one hit (Is This The Way To) Amarillo, which spent seven weeks at the top 2005 after it was re-released for Comic Relief. Christie said he was “excited” about performing at the event and told BBC News: “I’m going to do some of the new album tracks and I’ve got to do my old stuff as well. “I did the V Festival three years ago but I think Glastonbury is the big one, so it’s a great honour.” Neil Young, Blur and Bruce Springsteen have already been confirmed as headliners at the festival, with Franz Ferdinand, Lily Allen and Fleet Foxes among the other acts performing. The full line-up will be announced nearer the event, which takes place in Somerset from 27-29 June.

 British balladeer Tony Christie proved the continued commercial viability of traditional pop in a post-psychedelic world, scoring a series of easy listening hits that spanned the 1970s. Born Anthony Fitzgerald in South Yorkshire, England, on April 25, 1943, at 18 he joined the popular local group the Counterbeats, later fronting his own combo, Tony Christie & the Trackers. After mounting a solo career, he cut his debut single, “Life’s Too Good to Waste,” in 1966, followed a year later by “Turn Around.” Upon signing to MCA in 1969, Christie teamed with the songwriting and production tandem of Mitch Murray and Peter Callender. Although their first collaboration, “God Is on My Side,” went nowhere, the 1971 LP Las Vegas proved the singer’s breakthrough, generating the Neil Sedaka/Howard Greenfield-penned smash “Is This the Way to Amarillo?” (a number one hit in Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and Spain), “I Did What I Did for Maria,” and “Don’t Go Down to Reno.” Christie remained a constant of the European charts for much of the decade via subsequent hits including “Avenues and Alleyways” (the theme to the television series The Protectors) and “The Queen of Mardi Gras,” selling more than ten million records during the Me Decade. He also hosted his own BBC variety series, and in 1976 played the role of Magaldi during recording sessions for Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical +Evita.

In 1979 Christie paired with producer Graham Sacher for the blockbuster “Sweet September,” but his stardom waned during the decade to follow. He nevertheless maintained a demanding international tour schedule, and remained a regular presence on television as well. Upon teaming with producer Jack White, who previously masterminded hits for Engelbert Humperdinck and Baywatch heartthrob David Hasselhoff, Christie scored a massive comeback hit with 1990′s “Kiss in the Night.” However, he again spent a number of years on the cabaret circuit before enjoying a new wave of popularity and credibility via the 1999 single “Walk Like a Panther,” written for him by Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker. The single earned Christie his first appearance on Top of the Pops in a quarter century, and his newfound hipster cachet was further solidified when the smash comedy series Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights employed “Is This the Way to Amarillo?” as its theme song. In the spring of 2005, the single was re-released to raise funds for the charity Comic Relief, and spent seven weeks atop the U.K. pop charts. After cutting the theme for Kay’s spinoff series Max and Paddy, Christie closed out the year with a tongue-in-cheek big-band cover of Slade’s “Merry Xmas Everybody,” which fell shy of the British Top 40

Iron Maiden drummer to compére Drummer Live

iron-maiden-drummerThe sixth Drummer Live, launches in London on the 13th and 14th June and the UK’s biggest and coolest drumming show brings you more buzz, more excitement and more things to do than you can shake a stick at. Check out the most amazing line-up of world class musicians assembled at a music show, plus there’s a whole host of other activities and the best gear show you’ll ever see.

Drummer Live features the world’s best drummers and this years star studded line-up includes the finest talent, greatest drumming heroes and most respected names in the business to inspire, inform and entertain.

Confirmed artists included critically acclaimed Nick D’Virgilio (Spock’s Beard/ Tears for Fears), top drumming and Percussion duo, Derrick McKenzie and Sola Akingbola (Jamiroquai ) who will be playing both their own material and Jamiroquai tracks as well as explaining how they work together . The organisers are proud to confirm Prince’s drummer, Cora Coleman (plus her bass player husband and fellow Prince band member) will play her first UK drum clinic at Drummer Live.

Headlining Saturday will be drumming supremo Steve Smith (Journey/ Vital Information) and compére for the whole event will be our very own Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden). Nicko will also be playing on Sunday in a special performance with leading multi-percussionist Pete Lockett (Bjork, Jeff Beck/ Robert Plant/Jarvis Cocker/Peter Gabriel etc) which will be a memorable and unique collaboration guaranteed to be something different. More world class drummers are to be announced very shortly, so check the show website www.londoninternationalmusicshow.com for latest news…. watch this space!

New to this years show, will be a chance to have a free drum lesson in association with the Institute for Contemporary Performance and the organisers will be announcing an action packed schedule of seminars, workshops, artist signing sessions, instrument demonstrations and celebrity appearances. There will be a new retail section offering the chance to buy the very latest gear, plus an exhibition of most famous drum manufacturers and accessory companies in the business.

Drummer Live is part of the UK’s Biggest Music exhibition, The London International Music show, which includes The London Guitar Show, Unplugged and Sound Recording and Technology Show. It takes place at www.excel-london.co.uk/, now firmly established as one of the UK’s premier (and largest) exhibition venues. Located in the heart of London’s Docklands, ExCeL is set within a stunning waterfront environment in the dynamic and thriving Docklands and just across the water from The O2 arena. There’s easy access to ExCeL via the Docklands Light Railway/ Jubilee Line and easy road access from the M25, M11, A406, A13 plus there’s plenty on site parking. For international visitors ExCel is situated next to http://www.londoncityairport.com/ and is five minutes taxi journey away.

For further information and tickets for Drummer Live, the London International Music show and for all the latest news and show updates see: http://www.londoninternationalmusicshow.com

Jarvis Cocker names album and adds dates

jarvis-cockerJarvis Cocker has announced details of the release of his second solo album.  Further Complications will be released through Rough Trade on Monday May 18th 2009. The album was recorded with producer Steve Albini in Chicago in late 2008. He has also announced a number of U.K. live dates following the release of the album. The full list of dates are as follows:

10th Blackpool Empress Ballroom
12th Glasgow ABC
16th Brighton Dome
17th London Troxy

Tickets will be priced at £17.50 in Glasgow & Blackpool, £18 in Brighton and £20 in London.  Jarvis toured at the end of last year; the series of dates also incorporated a ‘lecture’ and featured a number of new tracks, which are due to appear on the forthcoming album. He released his debut solo-album, Jarvis, in 2006 and in 2007 curated the Meltdown festival at London’s Southbank Centre. 

 About Jarvis
Jarvis Branson Cocker (born on 19 September 1963, in Sheffield, United Kingdom) is an English pop music star, best known for fronting the band Pulp.

Pulp disbanded in 2002, but Cocker has been busy. In 2003 he re-emerged to promote a new album for his new band, Relaxed Muscle. 2005 then brought Cocker briefly back into the limelight with his contribution to the soundtrack for “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”. He has also collaborated with and written lyrics for Nancy Sinatra’s and Charlotte Gainsbourg’s come back albums.

Jarvis Cocker is now following a solo career with an album titled “Jarvis”, released in the UK on November 13, 2006. This is said to have been produced with Sam Lockwood and John Watson (his school friends from Central St Martins) who also helped to write the lyrics to a couple of songs which appear on the album.

Jarvis Cocker is living in Paris with his wife Camille Bidault-Waddington, with whom he has a son, Albert.

Oxjam reaches the magic million for Oxfam

oxjam-suThroughout March, thousands of musicians will be taking part in Oxjam, the biggest music festival in the UK, taking over stages, back rooms and street corners to make music and raise money for Oxfam with gigs, DJ sets, busks and much more.

Oxjam is the festival with a difference: all the fundraising music events are put on by ordinary people – from large-scale festivals to local sponsored busks. Since the launch of Oxjam in 2006, more than 36,000 musicians have taken part in almost 3,000 Oxjam events nationwide.

The festival has raised more than £1 million for the charity since it was created in 2006: enough to buy 31,000 emergency shelters, safe water for 1.3 million people, or buy 40,000 goats.

Celebrities who have supported Oxjam since 2006 include Jarvis Cocker, Fatboy Slim, Hot Chip, The Kooks, Klaxons, Editors, Kasabian and Jamelia.

Events planned to take place across the country for March will include:

The Mad Music March of the North – musicians taking to the streets in cities across the north of England to celebrate Oxjam
Mamma-Mia and High School Musical sing-alongs in Dorset
A vampire-themed ball with a metal soundtrack in Maidenhead
A folk music pub crawl around the heart of Leighton Buzzard
Battle of the bands competitions in Bristol and Cardiff.
‘Charity shop rock’ in Northampton – clothes from Oxfam, music for Oxjam, money for Oxfam.

Ricky Wilson from Kaiser Chiefs, who headlined Xfm’s Winter Wonderland shows in December to raise £40,000 for Oxfam, said:

“Kaiser Chiefs are proud to be Oxjam supporters. It’s Oxfam’s way of raising vital funds for its overseas work. Oxjam’s about music fans picking up their instruments to help fight poverty, by getting involved on any level you’re helping a very worthwhile cause.”

To view the line-up for March and find out how to get involved with Oxjam around the UK, visit www.oxfam.org.uk/oxjam or call 0870 905 9060.

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