SHOW / EPISODE

MMT50 - 228

Season 2 | Episode 23
33m | Jun 10, 2024

This week on the ole Pavement top 50 podcast, jD welcomes Amir from Providence to talk all about his Pavement origin story and to breakdown song 28!

Transcript:

Track 1:

[0:00] Previously on the Pavement Top 50. Oh, I love this song so much. It's a song, I hadn't, it wasn't on my first wave of songs to study, even though I knew we were going to play it. But it wasn't, like, you know, there were other songs I felt like I had to nail more. So this was towards the end. I said, okay, let me get into this type slow jam. Hey, this is Westy from the Rock and Roll Band.


Track 3:

[0:24] And you're listening to The Countdown. Hey it's shay d here back for another episode of our top 50 countdown for seminal indie rock band pavement week over week we're going to count down the 50 essential pavement tracks that you selected with your very own top 20 ballots i then tabulated the results using an abacus and the kid from the sixth sense wait a minute am i dead how will your favorite song fare in the rankings. You'll need to tune in to find out. So there's that. This week, I'm joined by pavement superfan Amir from Providence. Amir, how the fuck are you? Hello, I'm calling from Providence, Rhode Island, and I'm very fine. Life is good. Excellent. That is good news. It's great to have you here. Let's just not beat around the bush. Let's get right into this. What is your Or pavement origin story. So that's a long origin story. So I live in Providence, Rhode Island, as I mentioned. By the way, cheers. This is local. Cheers. Watery domestic beer from Rhode Island. Narragansett Atlantic-like lager. So...


Track 3:

[1:37] A little plug for Atlantic Light Lager. Yeah. But anyway, yeah, that's very watery. Anyway, so I was not born here. I was born in Moscow, not Moscow, Idaho. Moscow, Soviet Union, which is more or less the same thing as Russia. And I grew up there in the 80s. And I loved music since I was, I don't know, since I remember myself. I started playing piano when I was four. So I listened to a lot of music it was also the 1980s were an exciting time for rock music in Russia because Russia was like after many decades of like complete censorship it was starting to open up and, rock music suddenly became legal so it was possible to listen to that, if you if this makes you curious I recommend everybody listen to the Wind of Change podcast It's just an amazing story. Oh, it's amazing. I've listened to it. Yes, it's brilliant. So, but, yeah, so I started, like, loving rock music when I was, like, a child. But we are a Jewish family, so we moved to Israel in 1991.


Track 3:

[2:52] And even though Russia was opening up back then, Israel was, like, always a very open country, open to everything. So we had MTV, or more precisely, we had MTV Europe, which is not exactly the same thing. Uh mtv like in the united states and mtv europe it's not exactly the same thing mtv europe has a lot of uh uk uh bias and uh like because it broadcasted from the uk uh and uh it's it also tried to incorporate some other european music like italian or german but it was mostly like very uk biased so that's when i was growing up mtv was uh important it was like there was no youtube YouTube kind of replaced MTV now but MTV was important culturally like hugely important not just for myself but for a lot of other people, but initially when I started like watching it it was kind of boring at least during the day but then during the night it got much more exciting because they started like after midnight, they started playing much more interesting stuff and there was a show called Alternative Nation I think it was every Tuesday on MTV Europe and they played stuff like Sonic Youth and Pavement and European what you would say alternative bands, like whatever alternative even means.


Track 3:

[4:18] I tried to figure out what does it even mean that it's alternative? Is it a certain guitar sound? It actually doesn't mean much at all. It's just rock music that is cooler than Bon Jovi. Well, what's funny, it was alternative to the mainstream and then it became the mainstream. Exactly. Like, if you look back at this, like, it was totally the mainstream. Like, Nirvana was alternative, but it was already quite the mainstream back in 1992. And by now, it's completely mainstream. But, you know, whatever. Names of things are sometimes funny. So, yeah. And they mentioned pavement occasionally. Now, initially, they mentioned, I didn't really dig it. Like I remember, I definitely remember they showed Cut Your Hair, of course. They never showed it during the day. They showed it late at night.


Track 3:

[5:12] I didn't really understand it. I was like, it just looked weird. And these days, I look at the Cut Your Hair video, and now I'm a Dan and I have children, and they look at it and they just think it's funny with the gorilla and the lizard. Yes. And I was just overthinking it totally. Like I was 15 years old. why what does what does this mean i was totally overthinking it um but yeah they should cut your hair and they i remember they showed the gold sounds video um maybe also yeah rattled by the rush like the weird the weird version with the bathtub okay didn't really understand like what's the deal with that so i did love like i did love a lot of other alternative bands like i loved sonic youth i loved therapy if you if you heard that's a band from northern ireland uh i love the, alternative, rock band, whatever that means.


Track 3:

[6:03] Anyway, so then I graduated high school. And as pretty much everybody else in Israel, I got drafted to the military. Now, what you don't hear, you often hear about the Israeli military on the news. What you don't hear about the Israeli military is that most people there, they don't do combat and wars and stuff like that. It's just, I work with computers And that's like what most people do. They work with, you know, cars, equipment, computers, whatever. I worked with computers. And I had a friend there. And that friend was much cooler than I am. He's probably still to this day much cooler than I am. And he had many more CDs than I had. And he knew alternative music like way better than I had. I did know Sonic Youth. Sonic Youth, which is another Samuel band. I did know Sonic Youth much better than he did. But other than that, he was like the huge expert. He taught me about cool bands like Mogwai and Mercury Rev and a bunch of others. And he taught me about pavement.


Track 3:

[7:08] And he gave me the Wowie Zowie CD to listen. Interesting. And I was immediately hooked. That was just incredible. So like from the first seconds of We Dance, oh my God, how did I miss that? We Dance is such a brilliant song. I'm just thinking about this. I will make this really weird comparison, but it kind of makes sense to me. Because like I mentioned that I play piano. I played piano for many years, like almost 40 years now. Oh my God. I'm old. And I...


Track 3:

[7:43] There's another band called Guns N' Roses. There is. Which is nowhere near as cool as Pavement. Nowhere near. But that's like the not-alternative thing that they were showing a lot on MTV. And I couldn't feel like, why are so many people excited about this band? And then I saw November Rain, which, ooh, it has piano. Piano is classy. So it's classy. It doesn't... No, I'm not comparing. I'm not comparing Guns N' Roses to Pavement, but We Dance had the piano, piano is classy. And so I heard like, Ooh, that's a much like, that's such an interesting song. And I absolutely loved it. And I loved the rest of the album as hectic and eclectic as it is and extremely long. I saw it described somewhere as three six-song EPs or six three-song EPs. That's probably the... That's an interesting way to look at it. Yeah, I saw it described like that somewhere. It's a very weird album, but it's so great. It's absolutely like all of it. I love it. And then I heard the rest of it from that friend. And he gave me like Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, and Brighten the Corners.


Track 3:

[9:10] And later I just bought them all myself. So slanted, of course. So I have them all twice because they released them with the usual version and then the Lux and Redux and all those. LA Desert, they expanded. So I have them all twice.


Track 3:

[9:27] Yeah. And yeah, so that's kind of my pavement origin story. And yeah, and I became a super fan, I guess, around 98 or 99. Wow. So you got to experience Terror Twilight when it came out. That one you got to experience, right? In real time? Yep. What did you think of that at the time? It was very different. I did love it. I loved all the songs. I listened to it a lot back then.


Track 3:

[9:57] It's very different it's very different from if I really have I don't want to but if I really have to pick a favorite album it would probably be Crooked Rain Crooked Rain I really love them all but Terror Twilight is very different, has its own style unlike Wawizawi which has like 20 different styles but yeah, Terror Twilight definitely has a certain and particular.


Track 3:

[10:25] Integrated feel to it. Yeah, I would agree. So did you ever get a chance to see them live? Yeah. So first time I saw something related to Pavement, it was not Pavement. And it was not Malcolm's solo. It was a show in Israel, in Tel Aviv, in 2004. It was a tribute show, like a bunch of local Israeli bands played a tribute show to Pavement and Malcolm's. Really? It was pretty brilliant. Yeah. Israel has like a very varied music scene. Okay. Rock of all kinds of styles and jazz. I know nothing about it. It's not that known around the world, but it has a very rich, vibrant music scene. Mostly sang in Hebrew, but occasionally in English. So that show had bands singing mostly in English. Like I remember a band that I really loved, they performed Gold Sounds.


Track 3:

[11:27] And here, I think, uh, that's like, that, that's how I, that's how I found out about that show that like, there was a band that I, that I love. They, they, that band used to be called blush and lure back then. And they sang in English later. They changed the name of the band and they started singing in Hebrew, but, but back then they were singing in English and, uh, yeah. So they performed two songs there. I think it's definitely gold sounds and probably here. Here and uh yeah there was a bunch of other bands and like some of them did like very similar versions to the original some of them completely reworked them as like punk songs some of them translated the lyrics to hebrew like there was a i think it was father to a sister of thought they completely translated it to hebrew that was that was fun so anyway uh yeah that was a cool show. The second time I saw something pavement related was in 2010.


Track 3:

[12:23] 2010, that was the first big reunion in New York, in Central Park. That was a brilliant show. It's actually possible that you and I went to the same show. Yes, I know. Yeah. And yeah, I absolutely loved it. I think, like you mentioned a couple of times on your podcast, that, how did you describe it? That they seemed tired or something like that?


Track 3:

[12:48] Yeah, they just didn't seem into it. You know, the same way they did on this newer tour. Maybe, um, maybe I, I was absolutely excited about this. Oh, me too. At least, at least the part, they also seemed like very excited. Uh, the Stanowich was like ecstatic, uh, eyeballed, uh, who is like, usually very like quiet and, uh, serious. He was actually quite chatty on the stage. I remember, like, I remember him speaking to New York and how cool, like he's, he's from New York and how cool New York is and how cool Queens is. He, he mentioned Queens. I don't remember what he's, what did he say exactly, but like, he's like, are there people from Queens or something like that? Like he looked. I don't remember that. Yeah. And he's, he mentioned something like that. So anyway, um, yeah, it was, it was a fantastic show. Such a fantastic show.


Track 3:

[13:43] Heckler Spray, Summer Babe. Oh, wow. In the Mountain Desert. Uh, just a fantastic, fantastic show. So is the record that you go back to now, like, is it Wowie Zowie when you have a hankering for Pavement, or is it your favorite, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain? I would probably say, it's so hard to say, I would probably say Crooked Rain and Slanted, but I love them all. I love them all. I listen to them all. There was a third Pavement-related thing I saw, and that was Malkmus.


Track 3:

[14:18] Malcolm's solo I think it was in 2012 or 13 it was the it was it was.


Track 3:

[14:26] Oh, I'm, I'm blacking out. Which, uh, which, uh, the album with, uh, uh, Senator, uh, which, which album is that? Mirror Traffic? Yes, that one. Uh, yeah. So that was, that was a brilliant show. Uh, that was a really brilliant show. Towards, towards the end, he did, uh, uh, something like, uh, funny, uh, Faith No More impersonation. Really? yeah like towards the end of the show he played he played a couple of famous so he played here and i think uh speaks he remember and uh at one of the songs towards the end they were like the jigs were getting all uh uh in a good mood and uh jamming and at some point they just started started playing um what's the famous faith no more song epic yeah yeah they just I started playing that. That's so cool. Yeah. Anyway, it was a brilliant rock and roll show. So yeah, so these are the three Pavement-related shows I attended. Nice. Well, what do you say we take a quick break and come back and talk about song number 28? Let's do that. Let's do that. Hey, this is Bob Mustanovich from Pavement.


Track 1:

[15:43] Thanks listening. And now on with a countdown. 28.


Track 3:

[20:18] Song number 28 on the countdown comes from Crooked Rain. Crooked Rain, amazingly, it's the first song from their sophomore effort to appear on this list. You can exhale now because track 28 is Stop Breathing. Amir. Yeah. What are your initial thoughts about this song? I love this song. It appears in my top 20 that I sent you. I think it's number 14 there. so it's, half of your number I know maybe I should have rated it even higher it's like it's a brilliant song it's kind of special I made a bit of homework so it has the, it has if I'm not mistaken I learned music for many years but maybe I'm mistaken about something but almost all Pavement songs have the quadruple rhythm 1, 2, 3, 4 okay this one is Because the correct term here is probably the six-eighths rhythm. Oh, okay. One, two, three, one, two, three, one, two, three, one, two, three.


Track 3:

[21:27] So there are not a lot of pavement songs in this rhythm. On the studio albums, it's just Our Singer and Stop Breathing. And half of Fight This Generation, the beginning of Fight This Generation. Oh, okay. The rest, and well, there's also 5-4 equals Unity, which begins in 5-4ths. And then I think actually the chorus is also in 3-4ths or 6-8ths. And the rest of the pavement, well, in all the kinds of B-sides and bonus tracks, tracks uh there are a bunch of uh um six eighths uh songs uh mercy snack kentucky cocktail so stark sagano stray fire um and yeah that's about it you did do your homework i did do my homework there's also kneeling bus uh also known as rugrat which is a very weird beat that i couldn't completely understand a very very cool one uh but it's like it's neither four neither three but yeah so that's so it's pretty.


Track 3:

[22:36] It's pretty unique relatively unique in that regard it's beautifully placed in the track list at the third third spot kind of a different mood between like the big rockers the, uh elevate me later and uh cut your hair yeah so that one has a different mood it has very beautiful uh guitar sound uh throughout the song and especially of course towards the end, um so yeah i absolutely love the song one of the best they the pavement has very, pretty much no songs that uh i would like say that they are bad but this this one is really one one of the best so what's your relationship with this song uh crooked rain crooked rain you said is your favorite record so what do you remember about the first time you heard this song or.


Track 3:

[23:33] Something like that so so this was the this was the second album i heard uh after wavy zowie and it's relatively much more uh much more of a straightforward rock straight absolutely relatively, compare it compared to wawi especially the first song like it gets a bit weirder towards the end but uh the beginning of it it's like it's a relatively very straightforward i agree.


Track 3:

[23:58] In a classic rock album i i i heard somewhere that uh malcolm called it like disparagingly classic rock like he said that silent kid is a is a classic rock song in like in a not very good way, but he's wrong well it's maybe he was just sarcastic i don't know it was Because Silent Kid is a brilliant song. And Stop Breathing is a brilliant song. It has this really, really beautiful guitar sound and this beat. And it may be, oh my God, this is such a cool rock band with cool melodies. And they do all these things so easily. And it sounds like they were just having fun. But the song, it's kind of somber, kind of solemn, kind of serious. Yeah, I agree. Relatively. It has this special atmosphere. Nevertheless, it feels like while they're playing it, they're having a lot of fun with these guitars. Like, that's a really special guitar sound, especially towards the end. And it gets stronger and stronger.


Track 3:

[25:08] And oh my God, it's just so beautiful. It's just so inspirational. Yeah. What do you think the song is about? I have no idea. I barely ever listen to lyrics, to be honest. In music, I mostly listen to the melodies and the playing and the arrangements.


Track 3:

[25:31] Volley. Like, volley has a... It's kind of a... Like, it probably refers to both things. Like, both to the volley in sports. ports and in the war. And that's kind of a menacing word. It's struck by the first volley. So that gets you in a kind of a tragic mood from the start. And then it says, stop breathing. And there's also this alternative version on LA Desert Origins where he says, start bleeding, like stop breathing and then start bleeding. Really? Yeah. I gotta re-listen to LA Desert Origins. My memory is so shit. Oh, well. Yeah. It's like the comment there is that it's from Louder Than You you think, 1993, and it's probably, I don't know, maybe it's a demo, maybe it's not a demo, maybe it was at some point intended to be released. But in the chorus there, he says, stop breathing and then start bleeding, which makes it even more menacing. Yeah.


Track 3:

[26:46] Yeah. So there's this menacing song, and right after it, there's Cut Your Hair, which is very fun. The exact opposite. The exact opposite.


Track 3:

[26:55] But menacing, you know, my attitude to music is embodied in a poem that I really love. It was written by a jazz musician who's very old, but he's still alive, I think. His name is Oliver Lake, a jazz saxophone player. And he wrote a poem. And in the poem, he mentions names of many musical artists that he loves. and they're very different artists.


Track 3:

[27:26] And he's like, and the poem is built like a conversation between himself and the waiter in the restaurant. And then he says, put all the meals in one, put all my meals in one plate. Don't ask me what kind of music I play. I play the good kind. So I like, I actually, I don't care very much about the genres of music and I don't care very much about the mood of a particular song. Like some songs are happy and some songs are sad and some songs are scary like these are all important things but uh eventually i i i judge all songs by like this is the good song or is it not a very good song and uh this song is is of the good kind uh yeah that's that's the really important thing like it like it definitely has a mood uh definitely has a very identifiable probably intentional mood and it's probably placed intentionally in that sequence uh on the album but it definitely has this character.


Track 3:

[28:25] So this is going to be I think I know the answer to this because.


Track 3:

[28:31] You've already told me what you rated it on your list but do you think this song is properly rated overrated underrated on the top 50 28 is lowish, I would be very unpleasantly surprised if it was not in the top 50 at all um i like i would probably rate it a bit higher uh maybe it's not my number one song but it's like it's pretty like it's pretty high it's pretty high on my list it's a great song it is absolutely there's nothing to shake a stick at unless it's a complimentary uh stick shaking your dick fun fun fact about uh the tennis part uh the so the song is like you mentioned it uh You mentioned that you read it from those notes that Malthus had in his own songs. And he mentioned tennis himself, so we have it from himself.


Track 3:

[29:28] I checked it. So I edit Wikipedia quite often in English and in Hebrew and occasionally in other languages. And I checked what is actually Malthus' relation to tennis.


Track 3:

[29:41] And the English Wikipedia mentions that he loves playing golf and tennis, but he doesn't, Here's where it gets funny. So Wikipedia editors, good, serious Wikipedia editors, try to fact-check everything. And the fact-check in Wikipedia is done by adding footnotes. You may have noticed that Wikipedia has lots of footnotes. So I checked the footnotes. So where it mentions that he plays golf and tennis, it had two footnotes. Both of them were not very good. One of them was a completely dead link. the other one didn't say anything about any sports so I found another source like it's actually a tennis website where he speaks about actually loving tennis so yeah so there's another confirmation that he loves tennis that other tennis website mentioned the song yeah so I improved the English Wikipedia article about Mr. Stephen Maltmes and now it has a better footnote for the tennis information, So, yeah, that's a kind of thing I do for fun. Cool.


Track 3:

[30:50] Well, it's been really great talking to you today. I'm curious if you have anything that you want to plug or mention for people to look at on the internet or anything that you've created, anything like that. Well not much I'm kind of I'm trying I'm trying to I moved I lived in Israel for many years and I moved to Providence a few months ago my wife is doing an academic project here so we all moved together with the kids.


Track 3:

[31:21] But I love as I mentioned I love Israeli music I'm, there's not much to plug I'm trying to start a band that would play covers of Israeli songs which is challenging in the united states i it's i'm slowly finding some people to do that but there's not much to say about this right now uh but uh you know you can you can find in the future there might be a band that we can look for hopefully and uh then i would maybe um i would i would probably i would probably mostly play uh covers of israeli music or maybe in the loop on that amir maybe an occasional pavement song what's that keep me in the loop on that shoot me an email when you get it going and I'll talk about it on the pod. I haven't tried that. Maybe an occasional pavement song. Yeah, that would be cool. Well, like I say, it's been a blast spending this time with you today. I really appreciate you doing this heavy lifting on a podcast that is ostensibly yours.


Track 3:

[32:21] So, thank you very much for that and make sure to wash your goddamn hands.




Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/meeting-malkmus-a-pavement-podcast/exclusive-content

Advertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands

Privacy & Opt-Out: https://redcircle.com/privacy
Audio Player Image
Meeting Malkmus - a Pavement podcast
Loading...