Pavement's Promise

Why Malkmus and Co. still need their seminal band

He seems fine with living in Iowa and devoting his life to thoroughbreds, but if he wants to play music, he really needs Pavement: "Nobody really has ever heard of Pavement in horse racing," he says. "But they've heard that I was in some band, so they'll be like, 'We've got this band, we do this thing every Thursday night, play covers — why don't you come up and jam with us?' I can't jam. I can play Pavement songs and Silver Jews songs. And I made up all my parts, and they're all pretty rudimentary. If you can keep time, I could teach you all my parts in an hour."

Why Pavement needs him: It's great when bands include a joker in the deck, and Nastanovich's wild-card presence is perhaps his most important role in Pavement. The band's original drummer, Gary Young, was a great player, but he was also a crazy drunk, so Nastanovich was recruited to help keep time. Young — who still lives outside Stockton — is planning to perform with the band at the Bob Hope Theatre in Stockton (and perhaps the Greek), which means Nastanovich should definitely be on guard. Nastanovich is also looking out for fans by suggesting that the band should expand the current live repertoire to include songs like "Embassy Row," "Transport Is Arranged," and "Type Slowly."

Player: Mark Ibold
Position: Bassist
Why he needs Pavement: It could be argued that of all the members of Pavement, Ibold needs the band the least. He always looks like he's having a great time onstage with Malkmus and the crew, but he's been sharing the love with Sonic Youth for a few years now, and that gig seems a lot more secure than what Pavement is offering these days. He'll be pulling double duty in September at the Hollywood Bowl, when Sonic Youth hands over the headlining spot to its former pupils. And just in case his role in Sonic Youth goes the way of Jim O'Rourke's, Ibold has food porn to fall back on, and he could always ask Kim Gordon about getting involved with Free Kitten again.

Why Pavement needs him: Have you seen that smile?

Player: Steve West
Position: Drummer
Why he needs Pavement: While the projects Malkmus and Kannberg have fronted over the past decade have been extensions of their work with Pavement, Steve West pulled a Dave Grohl and became the frontman of Marble Valley. The international outfit is a strange bird, playing around with pop, postpunk, psychedelics, rap, and whatever else it can get its hands on in service of songs that can go from weird to weirder. They sound like fun to play, but they're not exceptional; West is still at his best when he's holding a couple of sticks.

Why Pavement needs him: The intricacies of what makes a particular drummer so important to a band can be lost on the average listener, so we've brought in a professional to explain why Pavement needs Steve West. Evan Sult, who has drummed for Harvey Danger and Bound Stems, is about as big a Pavement fan as they get. "I think that Malkmus might argue that Steve West was kind of an interchangeable drummer," says Sult, who now holds down the beat for St. Louis duo Sleepy Kitty. "In [Pavement documentary] Slow Century and elsewhere, he seems to be sort of condescending toward West as more of a classic-rock drummer. But I think that West was able to bring steadiness and clarity to the songs." Contrary to what Malkmus sings in that "Stereo" B-side, Westie can drum.

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