Pulp talk first ever live show: ‘We stunk of cabbage’

Band consider a tour of their first venues after unveiling a plaque at Sheffield's Leadmill

Pulp have discussed their first gig and the possibility of a tour which saw them revisiting the venues they played 30-plus years ago.

The band were recently presented with a PRS For Music Heritage Award earlier this month (May 4) at the Leadmill in Sheffield, the venue that played host to the group’s first gig on August 16, 1980. The band unveiled a Heritage Award plaque at the venue, where they spoke to NME.

Speaking in this week’s issue, available digitally and on newsstands now, frontman Jarvis Cocker describes their first gig at the venue: “It was a festival and we were the second band on in the afternoon. It was the first time we’d been on a proper stage, and when our bass player started experiencing feedback he didn’t know what to do, so he started walking towards the front of the stage and fell off it. People found us entertaining, but only because we were a bunch of mad kids who didn’t know how to play.”


“We also made one of the best entrances of all time,” Cocker added. “There was a man across the yard with a mobile grocer’s van, and we used that to transport our equipment. We stunk of cabbage.”

Discussing the reputation of the Sheffield haunt, the singer stated, “If you played at the Leadmill, that was a big, posh, proper concert. Some of our best concerts and some of our worst concerts took place here.”

The PRS For Music Heritage Award was founded in 2009 to recognise live music venues and local artists. Previous recipients of the prize include Blur, Elton John, Spandau Ballet and Queen.

Following his band’s plaque unveiling, Cocker joked that Pulp could embark on a tour of the very first venues they played when they first formed. “I’m thinking we might do a tour of venues we played 30 years ago, and just go around the country unveiling all these plaques; the next one will probably be the Adelphi in Hull, and we’ll just go in chronological order from there. I think plaques are the way forward for Pulp now.”

Pulp recently spoke to NME about the likelihood of new material and future tours. Speaking at the NME Awards with Austin, Texas in February, Cocker said, “We’re very cloak and dagger about that, well, it isn’t cloak and dagger, we just don’t know! We’re not being mysterious, we’re just not very together.” Scroll below to watch the video interview in full.

Meanwhile, recent reports have suggested that the wife of Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, Danae Stratou, was the mysterious Greek woman with “a thirst for knowledge” depicted by Jarvis Cocker in Pulp‘s ‘Common People’.


Addressing the claims, Varoufakis said that while he “wouldn’t have known her back then”, Stratou was “the only Greek student of sculpture at St Martin’s College at that time”. The politician adds: “From personal experience, she is a very fascinating person.”