Pavement’s Original Drummer Gary Young Passed Away At 70s
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At the age of 70, Gary Young, Pavement’s original drummer, passed away. The band was a significant indie rock band.
The news of Young’s passing was confirmed by Pavement’s lead vocalist Stephen Malkmus through a post on social media on Thursday. In his post, Malkmus mentioned that Young’s drumming style for Pavement’s songs was characterized by a “one take and hit record” approach, which he executed exceptionally well.
How Gary Young’s Studio Shaped Their Debut
In their native Stockton, California, Stephen Malkmus and guitarist Scott “Spiral Stairs” Kannberg established Pavement. At that time, Gary Young, who would later join the group as the original drummer, operated a modest recording studio where they cut their first extended play (EP).
They went back to Young’s studio to work on their influential 1992 debut, Slanted and Enchanted. In 2015, Bob Nastanovich, who joined the group at this time and said in a Rolling Stone interview:
“Gary deserves a lot of credit when it comes to that album.
“The whole thing was really brought together by him. Pavement was really fortunate to stumble upon this guy.”
Young’s studio, named Louder Than You Think, had a somewhat makeshift setup. Despite its limitations, the album Slanted and Enchanted was produced there. According to Nastanovich, the album’s greatness emerged from this environment, even though the recording was done on a 15-track machine due to one track being non-functional.
Nastanovich emphasized the relaxed and authentic atmosphere of Young’s studio, where the band members could be themselves without pressure. Young’s contributions to Pavement’s music and the unique character of his studio played a pivotal role in their success.
The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list by Rolling Stone included Slanted and Enchanted. They stated:
“Pavement were the quintessential American independent rock band, and this is the quintessential indie-rock album. The playing is loose-limbed, the production laid-back and primitive, the lyrics quirky and playful, the melodies sweet and seductive … Slanted and Enchanted is one of the most influential rock albums of the 1990s; its fuzzy recording style can be heard in the music of Nirvana, Liz Phair, Beck, the Strokes, and the White Stripes.”
Onstage Antics and Contributions
Early on, Young’s outrageous stage antics contributed to Pavement’s image, with the drummer giving out cabbage, mashed potatoes, and cinnamon toast to fans and performing headstands while the band was on stage. Nastanovich said:
“This guy was from another planet. He could drink some of the largest quantities of some of the worst vodka ever made.”
Although Young quit Pavement after their 1992 Watery, Domestic EP, he came back to produce two tracks on their last Major Leagues EP in 1999, and he later played two performances in 2010 with his old comrades.