Being Steve Malkmus
Being Steve Malkmus
While taking my dear sweet time constructing this website, I stumbled upon a doorway into the conciousness of Steve Malkmus, lead singer of indie rock pioneers Pavement. Here are some of the more interesting things I observed on several trips into his mind...

[Disclaimer: If you haven't seen Being John Malkovitch yet, and you have no familiarty with indie rockers Pavement, this is going to sound like gibberish. If you haven't seen Being John Malkovitch, but are familiar with indie rockers Pavement, it will only sound mildly stupid. If you have seen Being John Malkovitch and are also aware of indie rockers Pavement, then you will find this article to be uproariously funny and send me the contents of your wallet.]


October 1999 observations:

Steve Malkmus Sleeps a whole lot.

On his fridge, there's a magnet that says: "At least you're not in Sebadoh."

He let Spiral Stairs out of his cage for a little while one morning.  Everything was going fine until Spiral picked up one of S.M.'s guitars and started writing a song. Needless to say, S.M. kicked him in the stomach HARD. After Spiral went down, a few more well placed shots to the head-and-neck region ensured that there would be no more "Dates with IKEA" anytime soon.  "How's that for creative input?" Malkmus said as he stood over Spiral's crumpled frame and admired the tracklisting to "Terror Twilight."

November 1999 observations:

Steve tours the UK. He decides that making a living by sleeping and playing the least popular songs off of all your albums is no way to live.  He resolves to break up the band.  He sits in the back of the tour bus listing possible witty retorts with which to close their "final show" on a sheet of plain white paper. This is what it looks like:

Highly quotable closing retorts.

Remember! Must speak as though you just made this up!!

- "Have you ever been in a particularly ugly mental ward? Because that's what being in Pavement is like."

- "I'm wearing Handcuffs because that's what it's like being in this band."

- "I'm holding Joni Mitchell's "Misses" album, because it's very similar to a Pavement show: You will hear no hits."

- "Have you ever been handed money for doing nothing but what you would probably do anyway? Because that's what it's like being in this band."

[At this point he fell asleep, and Bob Nastanovitch obliviously used the back of the list to keep track of his bookie debt.]

December 1999 observations:

He got a call from Axl Rose while I was observing.  Here's a rough idea of how the conversation went:

Axl: Hello, is this Steve Malkmus of rock band Pavement?
SM: Yes. Who is this?
Axl: My name is Axl Rose, you probably remember me from my multiple million-selling records.
SM: Sure...
Axl: Anyway, my agents gave me the names of a bunch of guys who I should consider collaborating with, and your name was on the list.
SM: Really?!
Axl: Yep.
SM: Wow.  Uh... Who else is on the list?
Axl: Well, I just got off the phone with some guy called Bob..(Muffled)..Hey, what was that last guy's name? (Pause) I don't know...Bob Pollack or something.
SM: Pollard?
Axl: Excuse me?
SM: Pollard?
Axl: Bless You.
SM: No, No...Was it Bob POLLARD?
Axl: Sure, whatever. He was raving about how prolific GN'R were for a major label band and telling me how he's mastered the prolific part, and would really like some pointers from me on keeping up the quality.
SM: I see. Wow.
Axl: Yeah... Then he started talking about some fucking weird conceptual shit, like writing from the point of view of a ribosome or something. I was like - Dude! I was in Guns and Fucking Roses, not Rush.
SM: That was definately Bob Pollard.
Axl: Great. Anyway.. if you wanna fly in and come by the studio, we could set up a jam-session.  I could probably fit you in somewhere between the sessions with Peter Gabriel and Tori Amos... What was your band's name again?
SM: Pavement.
Axl: Okay... Let me just write this down...(writing) Studio time... with... Steve Malkumus... from Pavement.  Got it.  Pavement, eh? What kind of music do you guys play? Do you sound like Concrete Blonde?
SM: No, no.. uh... we were telling the press "sports-rock" on the last tour...
Axl: Sports Rock? That's cool. Hey, did you know I had an endorsement deal with Converse?
SM: Really?
Axl: Yeah, dude. They made me these shoes that had my name stitched in red block letters on the tongues. Before that me and Duff were always getting our sneakers mixed up. We have the same shoe size, you know.
SM: I wasn't aware.
Axl: Fuckin' Duff. (Long Pause)
SM: Right... so.. What exactly did you want me to do on this recording?
Axl: Well, you know, just bring in a few riffs, y'know? And we'll just lay that down, I'll feel it out for vocals, maybe lay down a few tracks with my baby grand - but not too soft! I still can't believe I did that fuckin' Elton John thing. I kind of want to try this "post-rock" thing I keep hearing about.
SM: Well, anything anybody released after "Illusions" is post-rock as far as I'm concerned. Those were some killer rock albums.
Axl: Thanks, dude. Right on. Anyway, we'll do all that, maybe call Moby in to put some of his mechanichal farting on top, and just kind of build the song from the ground up, but modularly, you know?
SM: Right. Modularly.
Axl: What about drums? I don't want Moby pulling any of his drum machine crap on me again. Fuckin' vegans.
SM: What?
Axl: Nevermind. Anyway, how's your..what was the band name again?
SM: Pavement.
Axl: Right, Pavement. How's Pavement's drummer?
SM: Which One?
Axl: You have more than one drummer?
SM: Yeah.
Axl: At the same time?
SM: Uh huh.
Axl: Fuckin' a! That's tripped out dude.
SM: Well one of them is like our, I don't know, primary drummer, and the other one kind of plays and runs around and shouts and stuff.
Axl: Crazy Man! Are they stupid?
SM: Excuse me?
Axl: Are they stupid? In my experience, all drummers are virtually retarded.
SM: I don't know about that... Yeah. I guess they are both pretty retarded now that you mention it.
Axl: See? You know who the dumbest drummer ever was?
SM: Um.. Ringo Starr?
Axl: What?
SM: From the Beatles...?
Axl: Oh, I don't know too much about them. Anyway, no, the dumbest drummer ever was Lars Ulrich.  You know who I mean?
SM: The guy who lip-synchs in Metallica videos?
Axl: YEAH! (Laughter) DUDE! you just reminded me of the funniest fuckin' thing! Remember when GN'R did that wicked tour with Mettallica? The one where Hetfield got lit up like a fucking Christmas tree?
SM: Yeah, I remember that...
Axl: Killer show huh? Hetfield deserved it if you ask me. And now he's pulling all this shit on VH1 about how I could have stopped the riot and whatever. Cry me a fucking river, James. Him and Stephanie should get together and just cry their fucking eyes out together.
SM: (incredulous)
Axl: Anyway - funny story - while Metallica was playing we had these monitors backstage right? So Lars would wear this microphone, one of those headset microphones so he could talk to the crowd and shit, right? So we would have the sound guy mix our monitors so all we got was that Microphone. I'm tellin' ya Steve, it was the fuckin' funniest thing I've ever heard. Every single song - just Lars' off-key ass warbling the words. I think I still have a tape of some of it somewhere. I'll have to dig it out for when you come down.
SM: (incredulous)
Axl: Anyway, glad you're into it, guy. Maybe if it really comes together while you're here we can set up a secret show at the whiskey or something.
SM: Cool.
Axl: All right dude, I'll be in touch. Rock on.
SM: Right.

Steve hung up and went back to sleep for a few more days.

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