Britpop star moves past Pulp 

Jarvis Cocker, the bohemian who fronted Britain’s brainy pop combo Pulp for two decades, still wields a sharp wit.

Ask him about his new life in Paris with his fashion-industry missis Camille, if it’s all smoking Gitanes in cafes with Charlotte Gainsbourg (with whom he recently collaborated), and he replies, "Ah! I see you’ve been spying on me! Well, I hang out in coffeehouses but I’ve had to stop smoking, because it wasn’t doing me any good. … But I just do domestic things in France, really — take the kids to school, use the vacuum cleaner, try to put up some pictures or shelving. I’ve got one-and-a-half kids — a stepson, then one that I can lay full claim to, that I had with my wife."

One thing the singer isn’t joking about is the decision at which he arrived three years ago — to quit the rock world forever.

"And when I was thinking of retiring from music, I did more than toy with it," says Cocker, 43, who, in fact, has returned with a new RoughTrade solo set, "Jarvis," and a tour that hits the Fillmore on Saturday.

What brought back from the brink was a mystical teenage wizard, he says.

With Britpop classics like 1994’s "His ’n’ Hers" and ’95’s "Different Class," Cocker had gone as far as he could with Pulp.

But just as he was thinking about retiring, an old friend, film scorer Patrick Doyle, asked if wanted to create three originals for the soundtrack of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" and perform them in front of the camera. Cocker was also tapped to croon one of his compositions, the punky "Do the Hippogriff," in "Goblet’s" bustling ballroom scene. "I was there on the film set for three days, filming stuff, but of course in the final cut I’m featured for about 15 seconds."

The band, billed as the Weird Sisters, also featured Pulp bassist Steve Mackey and two members of Radiohead, guitarist Jonny Greenwood and drummer Phil Selway.

"So we were a supergroup, really. And I met Daniel Radcliffe and Ron and Hermione on set," he adds. "And they were all quite nice, so I got their autographs for my kids. And they’d actually heard of me, which was quite nice to know!"

With Mackey in tow, a reinvigorated Cocker bounded back into the studio to track humorous tunes such as "Fat Children," "Disney Time" and "I Will Kill Again."

"Black Magic" was penned for old La’s leader Lee Mavers, who was swallowed by stardom after only one album.

"Music gives you a glimpse of the glory or the light," he explains. "But just as quickly as you see it, it can disappear and then haunt you. Music can make you lose your way, and it really isn’t very useful for day-to-day living."

Jarvis Cocker

Where: The Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd., San Francisco

When: 9 p.m. Saturday

Tickets: $29.50

Contact: (415) 421-8497 or

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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