Pavement’s Scott Kannberg discusses the reunion


As expected, the Pavement show scheduled for September 21st, 2010 at SummerStage sold out immediately. When the band added dates at the same location for the 22nd and 23rd, they also went like hot cakes. As expected. They’ve just added another for September 24th. I quickly bought three tickets and am now in a state of disarray. I almost missed missed my chance!

But don’t fret. The band will apparently tour the world next year, so be sure to catch them if you can’t make the Central Park shows. Nevertheless, it’s still hard to believe this reunion is even happening. Let’s be honest, it’s never been out of the question, but as the years dragged on and the individual members shifted comfortably into their respective careers, we all lost a bit of hope. Now that the tour has been confirmed — seemingly out of the blue — fans are left wondering, “why now?” Thankfully, Pavement’s second guitarist and songwriter Scott “Spiral Stairs” Kannberg recently sat down with Rolling Stone and explained.

Typically for Pavement, the decision to get back together was made in a lackadaisical way. Says Kannberg, “Steve [Malkmus] and I just had a conversation on the phone, and we’d never talked about it before at all. We’ve talked over the years, but the subject never came up. Then our agent asked us about these New York shows, so we went around to everybody in the band, and they said, ‘Yeah, the time is right. If everybody’s ready to do it, then we’ll do it and see what happens.’ There was no real impetus — it just kind of happened naturally.”

“It’s weird how over the last however many years, Pavement’s become a much bigger thing,” Kannberg says. “This whole generation of kids discovered Pavement after we had disbanded, and made us into a huger thing than we ever envisioned. So now I guess we can tour and make those people happy.”

Kannberg says the goal is to keep it fresh. “It’s not gonna be like Echo and the Bunnymen, where they don’t talk to each other, yet they tour every year. I flew in to see them do Ocean Rain at Radio City last year, and it was good, but it wasn’t the same, you know? I don’t think we’ll be that way. We’re not still trying to flog a record or anything. It’ll probably feel like we’re just starting again. It’ll be fun to play these songs.”

I’m part of that generation of kids that discovered Pavement years after they broke up. I was still in college, playing in various bands in which I was either unhappy or simply goofing around. I had an idea of what type of music I wanted to write — I just couldn’t put my finger on it. When I heard Pavement, that all changed. I’ve always loved the pop and country rock of the 60s, the heavy sounds of the 70s, and the grunge of the 90s. Luckily, here was Pavement, combining all those influences. I couldn’t comprehend what I was hearing, but I devoured their catalogue with anticipation and awe. It will be another year until I see them in New York, but I can’t wait to share my experience with everyone here.


All is right in the world: Pavement to tour in 2010

Ladies and gentleman, I’m on cloud nine. I woke up in a bad mood and now I want to hug everyone I see. Pavement has confirmed that they will reunite and tour next year. All that’s been announced at this juncture is that they will play at the Central Park SummerStage in New York City. Even better, the first show of the event is scheduled for September 21st, which is my birthday. It’s very difficult to write journalistically right now as the music gods are doing everything they can to make my head explode. A ticket pre-sale begins tomorrow and I’m already daydreaming about flying to New York with my buddy Derrick, each of us taking our guitars, staying in some seedy hotel, and then waking up in the morning ready experience a day of magnificent yet unlikely music. Pavement is often regarded as the most important band from the 90s, but I can never find the right words to describe them. Simply put, they’re my favorite band. Funny enough, I didn’t discover Pavement until a few years ago. While the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and the Beach Boys will forever remain in my top five, I was getting fed up with the fact that I only listened to older music. I understand Pavement isn’t considered “new” music as they did break up in 1999. Still, their sound combined the influences of grunge and pop – the two genres that defined the 90s. As we’ve witnessed in the last decade, the advent of electronic music and crunk rap is tolerable at best. Trends, by definition, don’t have staying power, but when judged against the barometer of quality, 90s music destroys their competitors from the last nine years. True, Nirvana may have held the torch, but Pavement didn’t want to. I have no qualms in saying that Pavement is the closest thing we’ve gotten to the Beatles in the last 40 years. While not nearly as popular, Pavement spearheaded an era in music, produced amazing album after amazing album, and are now regarded as “timeless.” They weren’t experimental (Radiohead), avant-garde (Sonic Youth), or flashy (Smashing Pumpkins). Like the Beatles, they were just a band comprised of a few normal dudes who just happened to be more talented than everyone else.

Per Matador Records

After years of speculation, the most important American band of the 1990’s is returning to the stage, with the lineup of Mark Ibold, Scott “Spiral Stairs” Kannberg, Stephen Malkmus, Bob Nastanovich and Steve West reuniting for dates around the world in 2010. Please be advised this tour is not a prelude to additional jaunts and/or a permanent reunion.

Described in their own Wikipedia entry as having experienced “moderate commercial success”, Pavement’s catalog for the Matador, Domino, Drag City and Treble Kicker imprints has come to define in the eyes of many the blueprint for independent rock over the past generation. In spite of this, the records are still pretty fantastic, and we’re fully prepared to remind you of such with a details-to-be-determined compilation album planned for release sometime in 2010.

The first show announced is a New York performance on September 21, 2010 at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park. Things worked out really well when Diana Ross played Central Park in 1983, and we have no reason to suspect Pavement’s return to the live arena won’t generate similar headlines.

I’m so excited.

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