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Published: 2014/01/03

Stephen Malkmus Talks Grateful Dead, Lynyrd Skynyrd in New Interview

Stephen Malkmus had a couple of things to say about the Grateful Dead, Lynyrd Skynyrd and more in a new interview with Rolling Stone. The former Pavement frontman—who currently leads his band Stephen Malkmys & The Jicks—talks about the Grateful Dead references in his new song, Lariat, saying:

Back then, the Grateful Dead was a fratboy stand-in for alternative. If you were into the Dead, for a frat boy, that was like being into Faust or something. So the St. Elmo’s rich guys at UVA would play it on the lawn and throw some Frisbees.

Malkmus also talked about Southern rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd. When asked about the classic Pavement lyric, “Good night to the rock & roll era” (from the Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain track “Fillmore Jive”), Malkmus responded:

Yeah that was. . . [laughs maniacally] I guess I was just being provocative there. You know, the Fillmore and the long jam and the fadeout of “Free Bird.” Just last night I was watching this Muscle Shoals documentary. I’m here at the house with the kids, and my wife’s out of town, so when they go to bed, I just search the net for shit to watch and drink beer. I totally understand the alcoholic housewife thing, when I’m by myself with the kids. Like “the bottle is my friend” or whatever.

But I was watching this documentary and Lynyrd Skynyrd were there at Muscle Shoals, talking about the “Free Bird” solo and how the label tried to make them cut it down to three minutes. And they say their big break was the Who tour. When did opening for a headliner propel you to stardom? I always thought that was a myth. Whoever the fuck is opening for Nine Inch Nails, no one gives a fuck, they’re just there to see Nine Inch Nails. Also, how do you blow away the Who? I think that’d be pretty hard to do.

As previously reported, Malkmus and The Jicks recently released a music video for their single “Cinnamon & Lesbians.” The video contains references to the Grateful Dead, while the song shares some melodic similarities with “St. Stephen.”


There are 7 comments associated with this post

Oransky January 3, 2014, 23:12:20

Odd. He questions the Skynyrd story like he knows better. And while I’m sure he’s quite good, his impact on music is just a fraction of theirs.

MC January 4, 2014, 10:51:27

I’m not sure he’s questioning the opening slot myth, it was just a different era. I saw LS open for Ten Years After at the Boston Garden in the 70’s. Both were great, however it was the LS performance that I remember and made me a huge fan. Back then, it was the only access to performances other than vinyl.

me January 4, 2014, 22:24:09

Read the whole Rolling Stone piece, couldn’t figure out if he respected The Dead, LS or even the music of the era or not…seemed like an arrogant DB to be quite honest. I saw his video (Cinnamon and Lesbians), thought it was contrived and mocking. Screw ‘im.

space January 5, 2014, 23:48:42

been a huge SM, SM and Jicks, and Pavement fan for years – he is a great songwriter and a very underrated guitarist. I think some people are getting the wrong impression of his comments.
SM music can really get jammy so I think he actually respects the dead and the st stephen references are sincere (and is mind is certainly expanded enought to see the value of jamband music) – he does have commentary regarding the ending of the Fillmore era in Fillmore Jive (pavement), but also pokes fun at hipsters jsut the same in jicks material – regarding the Frat dead comments (which are true btw – in my Frat there was Phish instead, but it was the nineites…) are in my view poking fun at the elitism of the Jamband culture. Bringing up the dirt to remind the hip jamband scene of their forefathers – 60s and 70s hippies and then Frat boys (lol)- a pretty funny evolution if you do not take offense and look at how the jamband culture has grown. But whatever- I can be totally wrong.

jambandguy January 8, 2014, 15:02:11

“rich guys” Elitism” ??? Not terms usually associated with jam bands or their fans. Totally opposite really, which makes me less interested in what space or Malkmus has to say. How old is he anyway? Old enough to remember $6 concerts on the Boston common? Old enough to remember when there weren’t sooo many bands and you could not simply you tube them? “Back up” bands could not draw (yet) as the headliners did so this was the best way to get to that many people…back in the old days, probably before either of you were born. I still don’t miss a “back up” band by the way. Usually very good entertainment…nothing wrong with seeing a Skynyrd quality band BEFORE the band you went to see…

BobP January 12, 2014, 22:56:11

I have a lot of examples where I discovered a great band warming up…..North Mississippi Allstars warming up for Widespread Panic…...Big Head Todd for Blues Traveler…..Yonder Mountain, Umphrey’s McGee, Particle, etc…that’s how I find the next bands. Not sure what he is talking about.

space January 13, 2014, 22:18:02

jamband guy- last I checked many established jambands charge a pretty penny for tickets. I believe that does change a sizable part of the concert going fan base to a more elitist group – at least the ones who can get the good tickets to the big shows.
An elitist group that would certainly if transported back in time -squirm during a massive ’73 dark star and complain about the foul smelling dancing hippies banging into them and ruining there phone recording… times have changed and the business took over. Not trying to troll, but trying to give an alternative view of the current scene.

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