CL: We had a deal with Atlantic Records at that point—[for the Crooked Rain advance] I think they gave them $100,000, profit split. Insanely good deal for them. But it was all one-offs, short-term deals which we've extended over the years.

SW: Stephen lived and worked in Manhattan, and was influenced by the bands that came through. Most of the band lived there and worked there and really loved that scene. I think the beginning ethics started in Stockton, but Pavement grew and changed over the years. It's always evolved.

SK: We definitely came out of a scene, where there were cities where bands were from: Minneapolis, Athens—I guess Seattle, later on. We felt part of that. Even though Stephen and Mark and Bob were all living in New York, I think we still felt like we were a California band. At least when we started, we thought it would be cool to be from Stockton. We were part of the whole indie-fanzine scene.

They looked so happy here.
Gail Butensky
They looked so happy here.
Malkmus at Easley Studio in ‘94
Courtesy Matador Records
Malkmus at Easley Studio in ‘94

BN: I think that the songs were always good—the presentation of them in a live setting was always a bit of a mystery. I think we were fortunate for the first several years of the band there, through '94, that crowds would really be on our side—sort of rooting for us to do well. We cared about it, but there was one interesting aspect about Pavement: We never really lived close to each other. We never rehearsed and basically just got together a few days before, and Stephen would show us what he was working on. He did a lot of the work at home, by himself. When Steve West joined the band, they'd jam together occasionally. But we'd have to get together and it'd be like cramming for exams—figuring it out all very fast. There'd be situations where we'd get together and start practicing 48 hours before we were about to play in front of 2,500 people. So it was a pretty haphazard way of doing things. But we took it more serious than people think.

SW: We made a whole lot of songs in a fairly short period of time—and I think over the years, people really appreciate the catalog and not the overproduction or the shine you get from bands these days, or before, when it was very well thought out and planned. I think that's one of the things that's helped our music hold up better over time.

Pavement would go on to release three more albums before disbanding in 2000. Malkmus moved to Portland, Oregon, sometime around the release of Crooked Rain. Kannberg never left California. West eventually left New York to return to his home state of Virginia. Nastanovich left New York in 1993 for Louisville, Kentucky. Ibold recently left the East Village for the spacious hillsides of Queens, though he can still be found working shifts at the Great Jones Café or touring with Sonic Youth. In September 2009, Pavement announced their first reunion show, to be held in Central Park on September 21, 2010. But, like the early days of their career, it just sort of blossomed into something more.

Pavement play the Williamsburg Waterfront on September 19 and Central Park SummerStage September 21–24.

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