Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Dos: Day 185
Sat. July 14, 2012
Why do I love Pulp? Let me count the ways: I’ve always said that the best bands have the best outtakes and b-sides because even in rough draft form—to capture the sound of honestly brilliant imperfection is always goal for any devoted artist reaching for greatness. This is probably why Jarvis and his Pulp counterparts never went back and improved the sound of this extraordinary gem: the demo version of “The Boss.”
Jarvis described “The Boss” in the liner notes for the 2006 Deluxe Edition of His ‘n’ Hers, when he wrote—“This was on our “audition tape” that we recorded at Island’s Fallout Shelter studios before we got signed. The synth riff was nicked from a BBC Radiophonic Workshop album and it was called “The Boss” ‘because we reckoned it sounded a bit like Bruce Springsteen.”
I don’t hear Bruce in this clever number— well, maybe, Springsteen on speed but all I know is “The Boss” makes me want to shake my scrawny backside with spastic harmony and I’m not the only one as Jarvis explained, when he said—“The thing I like about music, and why I started to do it in the first place, is that I’m a fairly reserved person in normal life. It was always my chance, when I got on stage, to show off and come out of my shell a bit. It would be kind of stupid to deny myself that. Well, I can’t help myself actually. I kind of do it to get excited.”
When Jarvis get’s excited, as Cocker fans recently realized up close and personal on Pulp’s successful reunion tour of America, he loves to shake and strut his skinny stuff. If you think about, it’s very good exercise from an artist like Jarvis who after turning 40, he talked about the physical toil it first took on his stamina when he said—“But the physical decay aspect is horrible, just foul. It was like a joke as soon as I got to 40. Within a month my hearing started going. You just have to accept that you’re going downhill. It’s in the post and it will arrive. There’s nothing you can do about it.”
But Cocker wasn’t complaining, Jarvis was only speaking the truth about what’s it’s like to grow old awkwardly on stage as one of the most dynamic pop singers in British history, when he said— “I’d better do it while I’ve still got the ability. I keep thinking I’m going to have to go to a gym to get in shape. I imagine it’s going to be quite strenuous to perform it. So come along people, and see if I have a heart attack trying to do it.”
With songs like this demo version of “The Boss” Jarvis is living the artists life, serving his age while betraying it when he said—“I’m trying to reach maturity, whether I ever get there…”Let’s hope that Jarvis Cocker stays the charmingly immature artist we know and love today. Growing up is sometimes confused with giving up your dreams. as Jarvis explained “As a man of a certain age you do start to become more aware of your mortality.”
That’s what I love about artists Jarvis Cocker. Instead of complaining on the eve of his 50th year on this planet, the sign of a true artists like Cocker is that Jarvis defies his own age; realizing that time is precious and leaving a brilliant corpse is secondary to having a reflective creative legacy that will live past after Cocker’s final chorused breath. Who else would take this cheesy Casio keyboard dominated ode to Bruce and create a 21st Century spaced out-ska-like demo classic like this? Wherever you are tonight, at home, in the car, at a party with your lady and with friends just makes sure to shake your thing, and dance; we honor the unconditional brilliance of “The Boss’” eternally animated grooves of Jarvis Cocker and Pulp.
Sorry folks, I couldn’t find any videos for “The Boss [demo]” but here is an audio clip from Pulp-radio.