members of Pulp talked ‘Different Class’ & more on Tim’s Twitter Listening Party
Tim's Twitter Listening Parties (created and hosted by Tim Burgess of The Charlatans) have given music fans something cool and communal to do while we’re all under coronavirus, with artists talking about one of their albums while they and fans listen to it at the same time One of those was Pulp's classic 1995 album, Different Class, which went to Number 1 in the UK and went four times platinum, and contains such Britpop anthems as "Common People," "Disco 2000," "Sorted for E's and Wizz," and "Mis-Shapes." Frontman Jarvis Cocker was not involved in this discussion, sadly, but drummer Nick Banks and keyboardist Mark Webber had plenty of stories to share.
Banks took the lead in the discussion, chiming in with tidbits about the album's recording process (i.e. that "lots of chocolates and biscuits were consumed whilst recording at the Townhouse") and displaying behind-the-scenes mementos from the Different Class era. He noted that much of the record was written above his mother's pottery warehouse in Catcliffe on the outskirts of Sheffield towards Rotherham. Webber, meanwhile, said at the time he lived above a Chip Shop with members of fellow Britpop band Menswe@r.
On opening track "Mis-Shapes": "What an opener, a call to arms, a rallying cry, now is the time to storm the barricades, said Banks. "If you've ever been bullied, called a weirdo, hit, spat at for being, looking, or feeling different... this is your tune!!"
On their biggest hit, "Common People": Talking about the opening line -- "She came from Greece, she had a thirst for knowledge" -- Banks said (with an air of cheekiness): "I don't think anyone has successfully tracked down the real greek girl yet. Some claim to know but it's never been confirmed..." He also talked about playing it at Pulp's legendary Glastonbury '95 set: "When it was played at Glasto '95 [that] was the first time we experienced the whole crowd singing along and it was a very special moment." Like Tim Burgess added, "The words are in any kid's DNA. Along with those Jarv dance moves at the Friday disco."
More on "Something Changed" Webber noted it "was an old song that Jarvis dredged up & we all dusted off. There’s a rehearsal tape of a previous incarnation of Pulp attempting it circa 1984."
The discussion of another classic Pulp track, "Disco 2000," came next. It's music video, as mentioned by Banks, was the "easiest [they] ever did" as they reused the cardboard cutouts seen on the album's cover. Continuing on the cover art, Banks said that it was "born out of the lyrics often being said from the point of an observer, watching 'the behind closed doors dramas' unfold and the minutiae of the everyday." "We are the black and white observers of life as it happens," he continued.
Here's Banks posing with his cutout:
On rave culture classic "Sorted for E's & Wizz," Banks said "This was a phrase Jarv heard once whilst out at a said ‘rave’ and it stuck - Even though the song did get up the nose of the tabloids back in the day - Ban this sick stunt etc etc … its really more of an anti-drug song emphasising the inevitable come downs that follow over use."
As Burgess tweeted as the discussion on Different Class came to a close,
"This album almost single-handedly sums up the listening parties. You need ALL the songs to get exactly what the band wanted you to hear. Live Bed Show and Pencil Skirt are just as important as the big singles. Like acts in a play, you need them all."
"That Jarv whisper *swoon*," Burgess remarked on "Pencil Skirt."
From track-to-track, this listening party revealed a handful of little-known intricacies about Different Class in a way that made it feel all the more like a homegrown effort. In hearing the band's tales about the duration of the record's recording, the aftermath, and how it feels to return to it so many years later, fans could feel the record's impact even more palpably. This was made even clearer by the fact that #pulp, Common People, Jarvis, and Something Changed were trending on Twitter in the United Kingdom during the party.
If you missed this discussion, you can check out the replay—which “plays” the tweets in real-time so you can listen and follow along—over at Tim’s Twitter Listening Party. A few more related tweets and pics from the Different Class listening party are below.
There are lots more Tim's Twitter listening parties coming up in the weeks ahead, too!
From an early Glastonbury: