Stephen Malkmus: It’d Be “Total Cringe” If Pavement Wrote New Music Today

"These songs are good, they exist in this present. There's no point."

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Pavement, photo by Michael Wong

    Pavement’s long-awaited reunion tour felt just like a postcard from the 1990s, and they’re trying to keep it that way: In a recent interview with NME, frontman Stephen Malkmus said that if the slacker rock icons tried putting out new music today, he thinks it would be “total cringe.”

    In the interview, Malkmus and guitarist Scott Kannberg chatted about their experience reuniting Pavement and how they feel about their legacy in 2022. Evidently, they’re pretty pleased as-is: “It’d be total cringe if we [wrote new music],” Malkmus said. “No way. These songs are good, they exist in this present. There’s no point. That’s just me, anyone can do what they want. It’s your life, choose your adventure. If any band wants to make a new album, they like to do that, that’s totally rad. But, yeah, not happening.”

    Though their initial run together was relatively short, Pavement have plenty of songs in their catalog — enough so that they switched up the setlist each night of the tour, dusting off old hits and resurrecting fan-favorite deep cuts. “We like what we’ve done,” Kannberg chimed in.


    Malkmus went on: “We’re real without doing that, you know? I understand the impetus to put out a new record — it makes it sound like the band’s more legit or something, and not just like a cash-in deal. But it doesn’t have to be that way if you just own your songs.”

    Watch the Pavement members in conversation below; the above quotes begin around the 20:30 mark.

    Though they haven’t written any new music, Pavement have still found ways to treat fans: They reissued 1999’s Terror Twilight LP and Spit on a Stranger EP earlier this year, and also shared a new music video for their runaway TikTok hit “Harness Your Hopes” starring Yellowjackets actress Sophie Thatcher. If you haven’t yet dug into the band’s discography and aren’t sure where to start, revisit our ranking of their 10 best songs.

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