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Pavement

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Stockton CA, United States (1989 – 1999, 2010 – 2010)

Pavement are an American band that formed in Stockton, California in 1989. For most of the period to 1999, the band consisted of Stephen Malkmus (vocals, guitar), Scott “Spiral Stairs” Kannberg (guitar, vocals), Mark Ibold (bass), Steve West (drums) and Bob Nastanovich (percussion, vocals). During that period, and since, they have frequently been described as one of the most influential bands to emerge from the American underground of the ’90s. While their split in 1999 was reportedly rather acrimonious, they undertook a well-received reunion tour during 2010.

Pavement formed in Stockton, California, in 1989 as a studio project of guitarists and vocalists Stephen Malkmus and Scott Kannberg, known originally only as “S.M.” and “Spiral Stairs”, respectively. Their debut EPs were extremely lo-fi releases titled Slay Tracks (1933-1969), Demolition Plot J-7, and Perfect Sound Forever. They were recorded at Louder Than You Think, the home studio of infamous Stockton local and former hippie Gary Young. The eccentric and aging hipster also provided drums. Upon first hearing the duo’s songs, Young was quoted as saying, “this Malkmus idiot is a complete songwriting genius”.

Pavement’s most obvious influence during this time was English rock band The Fall, although Kannberg stated in a 1992 interview that he preferred The Replacements to The Fall. The Fall’s primary member, Mark E. Smith, would often angrily claim through the years that Pavement was a “rip-off” of his band and that they didn’t “have an original idea in their heads”. However, some of the other members of The Fall actually enjoyed Pavement.

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