Klosterman vs. Malkmus

Stephen MalkmusRemember back when Liz Phair came out with her Matrix-produced pop album and rebuked her indie fanboys by saying she’s always been attracted to manly Marine type dudes as opposted to bookish music nerds? Well, bookish music nerds are getting rebuked once again by another 90s indie icon. This time Stephen Malkmus reveals that he’s really, really into fantasy league sports to Chuck Klosterman in an interview for GQ.

The only member he consistently communicates with is multiinstrumentalist Bob Nastanovich, but that’s mostly because they’re in some of the same fantasy leagues. “Stephen is a pretty difficult guy to access,” Nastanovich explains via telephone, calling from a racetrack in Illinois where he’s working. “If you’re not in the same town with him, you don’t really hear from him. I’ve found that the easiest way to get in touch with him, even if it’s about a Pavement-related issue, is to propose a trade in one of our fantasy leagues and attach my question in an e-mail memo.”

Klosterman adds, “I cannot exaggerate the degree to which Malkmus enjoys fantasy sports; he almost seems to like them more than music. […] Malkmus does not watch the NHL, yet he still participates in a fantasy hockey league. He’s that kind of guy.”

That’s almost too weird to believe. Or is it? Lots of music geeks love sports, I guess…

The best quote Klosterman gets out of Malkmus is only loosely related to fantasy sports:

“I barely think about music anymore,” he says, although somebody must have come up with the songs on those Jicks albums. “I have other interests now. ADD things, like fantasy sports. Things I can think about while thinking about something else, as opposed to songwriting, where you have to focus really hard on what you’re doing. That’s not the only reason people make inferior music when they’re older, but it’s probably a factor. Your ambition and confidence change. It’s not right to say any music I make now is not going to be as good as music I made when I was younger, but it’s probably not going to be as intense. I’m not going to yell as loud—figuratively or literally. I used to drunkenly yell on a record. I wouldn’t do that again.”

That’s a pretty insightful comment about growing up. The older we get, the tougher it gets to conjure the will to yell. Grown up musicians can still make great, intense music (see Leonard Cohen), but they probably can’t make punk rock. Or can they? Maybe angry, poor older dudes can still pull it off, but comfortable dads who drive Audis probably shouldn’t really try.

Pavement: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

3 thoughts on “Klosterman vs. Malkmus”

  1. This is a totally transparent way to share one of my very few Awesome Rock’n’Roll Moments in my life, but I don’t care, because it was cool: My buddy’s band got to open for Malkmus and the Jicks at the Vic Theater here in Chicago back on their debut tour. He knew how much we loved Malkmus/Pavement so he somehow fandangled myself and two friends in as “roadies”. You would find that amusing if you know what I look like because I’m good for lifting one amp about 20 feet and then I’m spent. Anyways, we were all HUGE fans, and were so nervous when we were backstage before their show that we could barely talk. So when we finally got to go into the green room with our friend, Malkmus and Jicks were just sitting on the floor, Indian-style, playing cards. They were like, “Hey”. No alcohol, no smoking, no underage girls, no nothing. It was the most un-rock and roll scene you could imagine (and I once shared a stage with Colin Meloy, so that’s saying something), and we could barely keep it together and not laugh at how completely normal and unpretentious they were. I don’t know exactly what we were expecting, but they might as well have been those dudes at the table sitting next to you at your neighborhood bar that remind you of your friends so you don’t pay any attention to them. And they were talking about sports while playing cards. That there’s the tie-in.

    Oh, and then they went out and put on a seriously awesome show involving a lot of rock. Now I shall return to high-fiving myself.

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