Five Things We Learned From Stephen Malkmus in Our Podcast Interview

In the latest episode of our podcast, Rolling Stone Music Now, Stephen Malkmus breaks down his new solo album, Groove Denied — which combines digital experimentation with some more traditionally Malkmus-ian moments — and touches on many other topics. Most notably, he hints that another Pavement reunion is back in the realm of possibility. A few highlights follow, but to hear the entire discussion, press play below or download and subscribe on iTunes or Spotify.

Pavement could play again. As recently as last year, Malkmus downplayed the chances of playing again with Pavement, who broke up in 1999 and reunited for a tour in 2010. But he seems to have shifted his thinking, describing the chances of another reunion as “realistic.” “Anything’s possible,” he says, adding that all of the members are “still alive.” “If there’s interest, you know, that’s always a factor. If people are really psyched about it, I’d be psyched about it too. So we’ll see.”

He’s gained respect for Weezer, despite his initial suspicion of their instant success with a “Pixies/Pavement-y” sound. “I like that song say ‘Say It Ain’t So,’” he says. “I’m a fan of that song – and the band in general. They just kind of came out of nowhere, and there was a bit of whatever – just tribal indie stuff. There’s bands that were on Matador or Homestead or Sub Pop and then some groups just started right away in Los Angeles on David Geffen Company or something. So some were suspicious, but it doesn’t really matter. Music’s music, right?”

He wishes he could have jammed with Neil Young in L.A. in the ’70s. “He just seems like a cool cat,” says Malkmus. “Seems like I probably would like to be hanging out over there, like, drinking tequila, looking at the sun setting and smoking joints and stuff. I don’t know. Sounds fun.”

Malkmus, who plays drums himself on his new album, has a philosophy about the instrument.  “The drums should stay out of the way, kind of,” he says. “And I feel bad saying that, having drummers. They just should get a good groove going. No disrespect to drummers! I mean, all the great drummers know to say, like, ‘The song is king,’ or they don’t get jobs. Or they can start their own bands or whatever.”

He’s still happy not to be mainstream. “You’d rather be Iggy Pop than Three Dog Night, even if Three Dog Night made more money and more people have heard them and maybe even they made some good songs. It’s generally assumed, even by people that don’t even know who Iggy Pop, that that’s a better person to be in our society.”

Download and subscribe to our weekly podcast, Rolling Stone Music Now, hosted by Brian Hiatt, on iTunes or Spotify (or wherever you get your podcasts), and check out two years worth of episodes in the archive, including in-depth, career-spanning interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Halsey, Ice Cube, Neil Young, the National, Questlove, Julian Casablancas, Sheryl Crow, Johnny Marr, Scott Weiland, Alice Cooper, Fleetwood Mac, Elvis Costello, Donald Fagen, Phil Collins, Alicia Keys, Sebastian Bach, Tom Petty, Kelly Clarkson, Pete Townshend, Bob Seger, Gary Clark Jr. and many more — plus dozens of episodes featuring genre-spanning discussions and debates with Rolling Stone’s critics and reporters. Tune in every Friday at 1 p.m. ET to hear Rolling Stone Music Now show broadcast live on Sirius XM’s Volume, channel 106.

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