MMT50 - 230

Season 2 | Episode 21
31m | May 27, 2024

Devin Faraci joins jD today on the podcast. Beyond listening in on Devin's Pavement origin story, you'll hear him wax nostalgic about song 30.


Track 2:

[1:00] Previously on the Pavement Top 50.

Track 1:

[1:02] At 31, give it a day. What do you think, Scott from North Dakota?

This is a gem, and I love it so much. I love the whole EP.

This would have been something I did not discover until well after I knew all of Wowie Zowie, all of Bright in the Corners, and it wasn't something I easily could have. have it.

Track 2:

[1:27] Hey, this is Westy from the Rock and Roll Band Pavement, and you're listening to the Countdown.

Track 3:

[1:34] Hey, it's JD here, back for another episode of our Top 50 Countdown for Seminole 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 ballads.

I then tabulated the results using using an abacus and 28 grams of the best weed you've ever smoked, along with some drifter named Larry.

How will your favorite songs fare in the rankings? Well, you'll need to tune in to find out. So there's that.

This week I'm joined by Pavement superfan Devin from LA.

Devin, how the fuck are you? I'm doing pretty good. I'm doing pretty good. Really glad to be here.

Amazing to be on the World Wide Web talking about Pavement so many decades after I first started listening to them. Well, let's get right into that then.

Let's go back a few decades and get your Pavement Origins story.

You know, I have a lot of Pavement history. I started in around 92.

Oh, wow. Yeah, so Slanted and Enchanted.

And I'm pretty sure it was Summer Babe Winter Version that was the first song that I heard, I have to guess.

Track 3:

[2:50] And it was a weird time in my life I was a college student, I had been kicked out of college. Oh, shit. I had earned a 0.0 GPA.

And not for cool reasons, mind you.

I think that it was 1992, and my college had what they called a VAX computer system, which was the early internet.

And I was on the early internet all night playing multi-user dungeon games and did not go to school.

Track 3:

[3:24] So I got kicked out of college for playing video games. Really ahead of my time.

It's like big Gen Z energy, I feel like.

And I was living with my dad in Illinois, who was living in the suburbs, and it was the most miserable year of my life because the alternative rock world that I had been in back when I was living in New York City had exploded.

And I was stuck in the Chicago suburbs and I couldn't drive.

And all of these amazing things were happening and I was not part of any of it.

But there was a cool record store. And so I discovered Pavement and I have loved that band ever since.

And, um, yes, that's my original pavement experience trapped in the suburbs of Chicago, New York city kid trapped in the suburbs of Chicago, uh, watching the world explode into cool alternative rock shit all around me, but so, so far away.

Track 3:

[4:24] So what was it like when you walked into that record store? Was it the album cover that got you?

Had you heard of the band through like zines or anything like that?

Or was it just like a random purchase? I probably had heard it from a magazine, probably Alternative Press, if I had to guess back then. I read that shit religiously.

And I might have already heard the song, but I'll tell you, man, when I heard that album, it was like somebody had finally recorded music that was aimed directly at my particular personal brain.

Wow. You know, just sort of the discordant, weird lo-fi sound they had on that first record, especially back in the day.

But with melodic pop sensibilities, it was incredible to me.

It really was incredible.

And Malkmus' voice just really was, I mean, just got me, just nailed me.

Track 3:

[5:15] Yeah, it's very, I mean, they're very unique in a, in a world at the time where things were not yet starting to sound the same, but, and our guys were signing everybody out of Seattle.

They could, you know, this bright beacon of hope from Stockton, California, um, really shone a light for a lot of people.

I wish I could have been there at the time, but I didn't catch on until the late nineties.

So yeah no i was pretty happy to be there which means that i got to experience some pretty cool pavement stuff in real time um you know the greatest t-shirt i ever owned was a pavement t-shirt it had two fried eggs on the tits yes uh it's one of the great t-shirts of all time but i also have two really memorable i've seen pavement a few times but i have two very memorable pavement concert experiences all right share them uh so one of them was at the tibetan freedom Freedom concert in New York City.

And there were two stages. And I forget who was up against Pavement on the other stage at the time, but nobody came to see Pavement.

And so it was this big stage at Randall Island in New York City and Pavement playing.

And it was like me and 30 guys.

Track 3:

[6:30] Are you serious? There was nobody there. I got right to the front. Like it was incredible.

They were really playing to like the sparsest crowd you could imagine.

It was, I honestly forget who was up against them, but that was packed.

Um, and, and, and the pavement was, it was dead. It was just incredible.

Um, which I'm sure wasn't great for the band, but for me, uh, was a delight.

I mean, just an absolute delight, but the greatest pavement concert experience I've ever had.

Track 3:

[7:00] They did a secret show at CBGB, which is a very small venue and also disgusting and very historic.

And so I got tickets to this secret CBGB show, and I honestly forget what album this is, so I don't remember what they were playing.

But the big memory of the secret CBGB show is the band had been on for a minute.

And then Keanu Reeves entered CBGB wearing a tuxedo with a woman in a evening dress, evening gown of some kind, like they had just come from an award show or something. It looked like.

And every time the band finished a song, Keanu Reeves would yell, Freebird, which is something I know.

Track 3:

[7:52] Uh, for maybe the younger listeners don't realize that there was a period in rock music history where people would go to concerts and yell free bird at the bands in between every single song.

And I will tell you that shit did not fly with a pavement crowd.

Uh, the pavement crowd was not excited to hear this.

And so that was a very strange experience, but what it made it even stranger was years later reading an interview with the band.

And they talked about that night. And they talked about how Keanu Reeves had tried to come backstage and meet them. And they turned him away.

Because the other thing people have to remember is that in the 90s, Keanu Reeves before The Matrix was not cool.

He had started making a bunch of like really crummy movies and sort of for Gen X, Keanu Reeves sort of had crossed a boundary that we did not necessarily like.

And so he was not cool at the time.

That's why when he was cast in The Matrix, it was kind of a joke.

Like, you know, you couldn't believe that that guy was going to be in this movie.

So they didn't let him come backstage.

Track 3:

[8:54] And then they talked about, after the show, they were leaving the venue and they were walking somewhere and they walked past this very famous downtown restaurant, Veselka, which is like the heart of the village.

There's a documentary out about it right now, actually. But anyway, they were walking past Veselka and there by himself sitting in a window, sadly eating Ukrainian food, was Keanu Reeves.

And they felt terrible that they had turned him away from backstage.

Oh, that's a fantastic story.

Yeah. Jesus.

Keanu Reeves yelling Freebird. I can't believe it. It was unreal.

And a friend of mine, who's actually now a music executive, heckled Keanu at the show.

As Keanu was leaving CB, my friend yelled, Dogstar, love that band, which was Keanu's band at the time, his bad band at the time. So, yeah. Yeah.

So are there any records that you cleave to now, or do you go back, for nostalgia's sake, to Slanted?

Track 3:

[10:11] Man, you know, it's a great... I mean, I gotta say, for me, Crooked Rain.

Crooked Rain is the peak, I think. And I love every Pavement record.

But Crooked Rain is the one that I just find myself drawn to again and again and again and again.

Again um you know and that was the album you know where they started getting like videos on mtv which was a truly bizarre experience too uh you know when cut your hair debuted on 120 minutes and made its way into regular mtv programming uh was very strange because this was such an odd band uh for the time you know and and and crooked yeah crooked rain is i mean i love all of them Wowie zowie's amazing, bright in the corners.

But it's crooked rain.

Track 3:

[10:59] Yeah, I think so. I just went for a walk earlier this morning.

It's unseasonably warm here in Toronto.

And I went for a walk and I just had a hankering to listen to Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain.

So I threw it on and walked until it was over.

And I just forgot, even though I know deep in my bones that it's a great album, like I had forgot just how cohesive it is and how big it sounds.

And really it sounds completely different than slanted right yeah i know it's a total step forward but i think what's amazing you know so in the 90s i was a real diehard flannel guy you know i had my real deep opinions on selling out and for crooked rain they went much more rock oriented slanted than they had been on, on, uh, slanted.

And, um, but it worked like there was no sense of selling out.

Uh, it was more like a band fulfilling its promise.

Um, even though I love the lo-fi stuff, you know, uh, you know, Westing by Musket and Sexton. I love that. Like that, love that noise. Give it to me.

Uh, but, uh, but yeah, I mean, Crooked Rain, it just, it feels like a band blossoming into what they can be.

Track 3:

[12:18] Oh that's nice i like it yeah is there anything else you want to share about your pavement origins i mean i guess just that.

Track 3:

[12:33] Pavement is a really special band to me you know partially because of um, Where I was when I found them, you know, I was so trapped in the suburban hell that I just didn't understand and I was not part of, you know, this was the era when I had, um, like a blue undercut.

Like I had like that top knot thing going on the sides and back of my head shaved and my hair was dyed a little blue and I wore ripped jeans and flannels.

And when I was walking to work in the suburbs along the side of the road where they had no sidewalks, I had a car drive past me and throw a beer can at me and shout the F slur at me as they drove by.

So I'm not saying that I'm an oppressed person, but I'm saying that I was living in an environment that was not friendly to me and my kind of people.

Track 3:

[13:27] And I heard this band and it was like somebody talking directly to me.

And so as a result, it has always been just an important band to me.

And because I am still partially that Gen X, quote unquote, hardcore, never sell out kind of a guy, I love that Pavement never sold out.

I love that Pavement never ended up becoming some kind of a big, massive band that like the worst people you know got into. to.

Pavement has gotten more well-known and it has a great legacy, but it's closer to the way that the Velvet Underground used to be.

The Velvet Underground has sort of crossed over.

People know the Velvet Underground now, but there was a very long time where you could say to somebody that you love the Velvet Underground and if they got it, you knew they were a cool person that you were going to like.

Pavement has that right now.

If I tell somebody I love Pavement and they They actually know Pavement.

They don't just know two songs or something.

Track 3:

[14:35] Then I know, oh, that's a person who I can be friends with. That's a person who gets me. Because part of the deal is that Pavement...

It's not just this amazing music, but there's a thing I love about Pavement, which is that the kind of brain that I think it takes to really appreciate Pavement, because so many of the lyrics are close to nonsense, but not nonsense.

And it requires a brain that's willing to engage with that.

And I think it's sort of like really fun and smart at the same time that it can be incredibly dumb sometimes.

But, you know, that's, I think, the defining line for Pavement for me.

Those lyrics that, like, have silly things in them and have nonsensical things in them, but very often they add up to something that is emotionally true that you can really understand, even if you can't understand it as language necessarily.

And also every now and again drops in bizarre stuff that's like smart people stuff, you know?

You know, how many bands have songs about how the kids that made acid couldn't get laid?

I mean, like, you know, that's like an amazing thing to drop into the middle of a song out of nowhere.

So, you know, yeah, so that's my Pavement, yeah.

That's nice. I like it. Well, what do you say we take a quick break and come back to the other side and talk about song number 30?

Sounds good. All right, let's do that.

Track 2:

[16:01] Hey, this is Bob Mustanovich from Pavement. Thanks for listening.

And now on with a countdown.

Track 1:

[16:09] 30.

Track 3:

[19:08] Song number 30 on the countdown comes from Pavement's fifth and final album, Terror Twilight.

It's also the third song from this album to make the top 50 thus far.

At track 30, we have Spit on a Stranger.

What the hell do you make of this song, Devin?

Track 3:

[19:29] I'm really glad I got this song because I love this song.

And the thing about this song is that there's a real tension within the song that truly appeals to me, because I believe that musically and in the verses, this is the most romantic song that Pavement has ever recorded.

100%. Like some of these verses are things that you would say at a wedding.

Track 3:

[19:58] And then you get to the chorus and there's the you're a bitter stranger.

And it's obvious that it's about a breakup of some kind, but it has those that tinge of love in the verses.

And again, musically that I think make it really beautiful and really melancholic in a really incredible way.

The song, you know, you're a bitter stranger, but the song is not bitter.

Uh which i think is amazing and i just tender yeah i love the the the the tension within it i just it's it's so good because it's not an obvious tension like if you just listen to this song and don't pay attention to the lyrics it's just a beautiful lovely song that uh if you catch a couple of the verse lyrics you go that's really gorgeous you know um and then and then we listen to the whole thing there's like a lot more going on i i i adore this song yeah it's a it's a it's a standout on terror twilight for sure not just because it's a single it it just i don't know it just pops off that record um what's your relationship with the song do you remember hearing it for the first time or do you remember what that was like.

Track 3:

[21:10] I don't remember hearing it for the first time. I can't remember if this was a single before the album came out or not. I don't recall.

I believe it was. So I probably heard it as a single.

I'm sure I heard it on the radio or I bought the single before the album came out. But I don't really recall.

I remember when this came out and this album came out that this was a song that I fixated on pretty intensely at the time. This was kind of a track I kept going back to again and again and again and again.

And I just I just fell immediately in love with it.

It's funny, because now, with many years gone by, and the world having moved on and learning more about the making of this record.

Track 3:

[21:58] There's something beautiful about this being the opening track on their final record, because now I know behind the scenes, they were in the process of breaking up.

And so in some ways, this is a song about that process in some ways, you know, and that speaks to what the band was going through.

So I think that's a cool thing that has kind of grown on me over the years.

But like this is definitely a song that i have from just again from the very beginning, just latched on to i just think that some of those lyrics are just so beautiful and i just think that they're so lovely because i think that they're beautiful in a way uh.

Track 3:

[22:41] That feels relatable. It's not over the top.

So it's like, however you feel, whatever it takes, whenever it's real, whatever awaits, whatever you need, however so slight, whenever it's real, whenever it's right.

I mean, that's like a beautiful everyday idea of what love is, right?

It's a beautiful everyday piece of it. And then again, obviously, the choruses get a little different.

But I really just keyed into that because this is not a band that traditionally had a lot of songs that I would have felt super romantic about.

This is not a band that has a lot of songs that I would say, oh, I would love to play this for someone to let them know how I feel about them.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Not a lot of those.

But this is one that does have- You're not going to play Debris Slide.

Track 3:

[23:31] Uh, but this is, this is one of those. And, and so, yeah, it's always been a very special song to me. What do you think about the production values on Terror Twilight and this song specifically?

When you think back to putting on Slanted and Enchanted and hearing that real lo-fi and that crushing riff and that drum riff as well on Summer Babe, and then flash forward like seven years, eight years, and you've got this song that is, like you said, melancholic and beautiful.

But so lush as well. Yeah, it's a very thick production. It's very crystal clear.

Track 3:

[24:14] I mean, I think it's really important for me, because of how I experience pavement, I experience them in real time.

The gap between 92 and 99 is enormous.

I mean, just sort of like what the world was like and what the music scene was like.

And so in 99 was the year of the second Woodstock.

That's right. And so we're looking at a world with all of this new metal and stuff, which, as a guy who had been a big...

Track 3:

[24:46] I was a metal and punk guy, you know, when I was younger.

And when grunge broke through and heavy rock hit the radio airwaves and MTV, I was like, we won.

We did it. Like, this is incredible. This is really great music.

And then that all turned into Nickelback and Linkin Park and stuff like that, which I hated.

And so by 99, I felt like we had lost the war.

A lot of what I was listening to was more electronic at that point.

You know, a lot of the bands I liked had sort of moved in that direction.

And this gorgeous, gentle sound felt like an evolution that I could roll with because the rest of the world had become so ugly in so many ways.

The rock music scene had become so gross.

And so as a result, this album sounding this way, I think, feels alternative to what was happening then.

Ah that's nice yeah i would i would say you're bang on the money because uh this was the time where pop music really reared its head you know with the spice girls and n-sync and backstreet boys and then on the flip side of the coin mainstream wise hip-hop was finally you know crushing through so rock really was left behind and the flag bearers for it were pretty trash Yeah.

Track 3:

[26:03] You know? So for this band to come out and release Terror of Twilight at the time that they did, you're so right.

It was maybe the last battle, but it was a battle nevertheless.

And also, I mean, again, I mean, for me, I mean, I'm going to be very personal here. You know, when I first heard Slanted and Enchanted, I was 19.

And, you know, seven years later, I'm heading to my late 20s and I'm about to be 30. And a lot changed.

Changes in that decade, you know, a lot changes.

And I had begun a process of growing and changing in a lot of different ways and that the band grew and changed worked for me.

I didn't need them to stay what they were, I think is the thing.

Track 3:

[26:51] Yeah, and it just leads to like, what would a sixth album have looked like?

I'm so pleased that, you know, despite two reunions, they haven't ventured down that path.

We're just left with these five great records and multiple EPs that stand the test of time, quite frankly. Yeah, no, I agree.

I have the controversial opinion that I'm really glad when bands don't do new records or I'm not going to say, I don't know how to say this in a way that I'm not going to get in trouble for, but like, it's not good that John Lennon died, but I'm glad the Beatles didn't get back together for Live Aid and then release some terrible late 80s record. Do you know what I mean?

Like, so I obviously it's horrible. Like, it's terrible that John Lennon was shot dead.

But I'm glad that today I don't have Kurt Cobain on Twitter because I'm afraid of what he would be saying.

And so as a result, sometimes it's good when things just end.

Track 3:

[27:54] And these days, people don't let things end. And the fact that the band Pavement has let Pavement be a thing that exists in this one decade.

Decade uh i mean it still exists because they do reunions but like it is of that decade they're not out here trying to do new songs for soundtracks or shit like that i really respect that and i like that me too i i couldn't agree with you more i think um there's a time and place element to it all like you said uh i discovered them when i was uh just approaching 30 probably just approaching So I got to go back and zip through it, but through my 30s.

And it was a similar type thing that you experienced because you know that the difference between 30 and 40 is enormous as well.

And so by the time I got to really experience Terror Twilight in a way that it was meant to be experienced after, you know, um, pouring through the other four records, it, it did live up to that for me.

Track 3:

[29:02] It's so funny. We're such old motherfuckers and the band's a bunch of old motherfuckers.

And this is honestly, especially the early records are young people music, but it still really holds up as an old guy.

I mean, like Crooked Rain is young people music. They're over there talking shit on other bands and stuff like that.

I mean, like, that's what you do when you're a young little snobby hipster.

Uh and here we are i'm 50 man and uh i still listen to the exact same tracks i listened to when i was 19 um so either i haven't grown at all in any acceptable or understandable way or perhaps this music is eternal and speaks to us at every stage of life oh i'll take the latter then.

Track 3:

[29:46] Yeah absolutely well devin it's been absolutely a thrill to have you on and you know to talk Walk through song number 30, Spit on a Stranger.

I'm wondering if you have anything you need to plug or you would like to plug.

Yeah, so I have a couple of podcasts that I do, and I have a Patreon where I do writing about pop culture stuff.

So you can go visit that, slash cinema, sanga, S-A-N-G-H-A.

And you can go join and get access to the writing and get access to my numerous podcasts that happen over there where i am being told today my sound quality is pretty good i'm very happy to hear this because this is my number one concern in life is how my sound quality is so yeah it's great thanks so much thank you for having me i really appreciate it all right wash your goddamn hands thanks.

Track 2:

[30:40] For listening to meeting malchus a pavement podcast where we count down the top 50 pavement tracks as selected by you.

If you've got questions or concerns please shoot me an email JD at

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