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Stephen Malkmus

August 2008

A PAVEMENT reunion to mark the 20th anniversary next year?
Unlikely, says the influential alt-rock band’s frontman and main songwriter.
“I haven’t heard these rumours except during interviews,” says Stephen Malkmus.
“We haven’t planned anything like that.
“This thing that I’m doing now is so much better than any Pavement show would be, not that anyone cares unfortunately.”
And he won’t be playing any Pavement tunes when he tours with The Jicks -- it would disrespectful to the current band, he’s been quoted as saying.
“Well, yeah. We wouldn’t really do them any justice anyway. But I think we’re just as original and new.”
Not that he’s ruling out a Pavement show at some point.
“If it was really grim and I needed to make a dollar from music I’d trot out... I could just call us Pavement and go out but that would be pretty depressing, you know.
“Echo & The Bunnymen kind of do that and it’s not so good. That was a great band at the time. There’s two Gene Loves Jezebels touring and it’s kind of sad, you know. Not that it was ever like that great.”
It’s the same with The Searchers. Has he heard of them?
“Yeah, they’re an old group.”
And there are Buck Fizzes.
“Yeah, they’re Eurovision.”
At the moment there’s no need for Malkmus to revisit the past, his latest album Real Emotional Trash, has earned him the best reviews of his post-Pavement career.
“More album sales is always better, of course but you take what you can get, you know,” he says of the critical acclaim.
“If someone is listening closely that’s nice. It’s all you can ask for.”
“Except for lots of record sales.”
When we speak he’s with the family on a mountain.
“We’re picking blueberries. Can you pick blueberries in Nottingham? Do they have berries?”
We have berries but you probably wouldn’t want to eat them.
He’s no memories of the times he’s been here in the past.
“I’m assuming it’s gotta be similar to Sheffield but not as industrial, you know. That’s my guess.”
We’re prettier than Sheffield.
“Yeah, it’s gotta be. It’s hard to get much grimmer.”
He adds: “What’s the best band from Nottingham ever?
Are there any hard rockers from there?”
Now you’re asking. I’m afraid it’s our greatest weakness. Have you heard of Pitchshifter?
“Yeah, they’re from the 90s, right?”
Yeah. And Alvin Stardust?
“OK, yeah he’s bostin’,” he says with a laugh.
“Any dirty pop rock or anything? Or punkers?”
There are but they’re pretty underground.
He likes Tindersticks.
“Those guys are nice.”
And he’s heard of Stereo MCs.
“Make a connection,” he sings, incorrectly paraphrasing their hit Connected.
“Dum dum da da da da... gotta get it right. There you go.”
For the last tour in 2004 there were few dates as he’d only recently become a family man. And that’s still really the case with this tour which had intended to be a few festival dates in the UK.
“This tour was kind of thrown together, like a last minute thing,” says the father of a one-year-old and a three-year-old.
“We told (record label) Domino that we’d come for some festival shows then we got offered some really nice gigs in America around the time that the better festivals were in the UK. So we threw together a tour for August around England, Ireland and Scotland. We’re not going to be there very long.”
Just seven dates in fact, starting in Brighton on Sunday and ending next Sunday in Ireland.
Malkmus is still getting a lot of dad action in.
“For the summer that’s how it should be really.”
His new status as daddy hasn’t mellowed him - the album, Real Emotional Trash is the hardest since Pavement’s Wowee Zowee.
“Yes, definitely.”
Was it what he set out to do?
“That’s the kind of music I like.”
How much of an effect did the addition of Sleater-Kinney’s drummer Janet Weiss have?
“She’s a hard hitter, so that was another influence.”
Along with dashing the hopes of a Pavement reunion, he’s also not, as some websites have reported, a fan of Luton Town football club.
“No. That’s not true. I much prefer Hull City to be honest. They’ve gone up to the premiership this year.”
But he did support Luton Town at one point.
“Back in the 90s our record label guy was from that area and he bought us a bunch of kits. But nah, they’re not my team. We’re pretty easy to... most of our crew is from Sheffield and at one time I was suddenly a Wednesday fan. And I’ve been known to support Crystal Palace and QPR - depending on who my friends are.”
It’s a good job you’re not still friends with Luton people as they’re doomed to fall out of the football league, starting the season down 30 points after the FA uncovered professional “irregularities” at the club.
“(Laughs) Well there you go. I knew to abandon ship. Midlands and the North, I tend to support those teams.”
But not Forest yet...
“No but I do know people who like Forest.”

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