#122 – [the lobster jam]

5 Dec

lobster-face

Unknown song from soundcheck, 5th March 1993 – South Parade Pier, Portsmouth
5 March 1993 – South Parade Pier, Portsmouth at Pulpwiki

So, here I am again. Hello. As anyone reading this is very likely aware, I’ve left it a very long time between updates, and done my best to stoke up anticipation of the upcoming hits to be covered. The next three entries are from Different Class, two are big singles, and one is actually Common People itself. But, unfortunate as it may be, we have to cover something else first. In the year-and-a-bit since I last updated, I’ve realised that I missed a few things. Most are thankfully in the blog’s future, but this one isn’t, so, here we are. The lobster jam song from the soundcheck. Let’s get it out of the way and move on.

Pulp were always a jam band – that’s where ideas came from, that’s why everyone had equal credit for songwriting. What seperated them from, say, Phish was that they would just use these jams to generate ideas, work on them until they were actual songs, and only then start playing them before an audience. In the era we’re approaching most songs would have at least a demo recorded before they were played live at all, so the variation we’ve become accustomed to would be increasingly calculated rather than organic.

What did a Pulp jam sound like? The answer to this is locked up in Jarvis’s attic, and very unlikely to see the light of day, with one very minor exception – two minutes of a soundcheck from 5th May 1993. There’s not an awful lot to report – Steve and Jarvis amble lugubriously through a series of vaguely gothy minor-key chords while Nick keeps time, after a minute Jarvis starts to mutter incoherently about “….smell… …there was a…. …a large lobster…” before Russell finally joins in with a lead-guitar line which just doesn’t work at all, and the whole thing suddenly grinds to a halt. That’s it.

It’s barely worth listening to, let alone writing about, but it does show quite how much went on between the jam and the finished product. This two minutes sounds nothing like the Pulp we know and, well, thank god for that.

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