When Pavement Sends You Running for Cover

21st July 2021

Did you see Pavement at Reading Festival?

It is the oldest popular music festival in existence today. In the last five decades, Reading Festival has hosted big bands and acts, such as Nirvana in 1992, Paramore in 2014, and Metallica in 1997.

Reading ’92

If you want to listen to some nineteen-nineties-era rock that you could share with friends, you should have no problem finding Pavement’s discography. They are an unparalleled example of a fun, witty rock and roll band, that won accolades and a level of popularity that has helped their discography endure.

  1. What happened?

It was on 23 August, during their two-week Europe tour with rock band Sonic Youth, that the band played at Reading, an approximately 40-minute set.

Pavement was a five-member band, although Stephen Malkmus, Scott “Spiral Stairs” Kannberg, and Gary Young alone formed the band in 1989. Pavement recorded the music at Gary’s studio, Louder than you Think.

The song from those sessions includes Box Elder, seeming to be about leaving town in frustration, which enjoyed some interest. The Chicago record label Drag City handled it.

  1. Why it was so awesome

On 23 August, ’91, the band was playing on the strengths of a 7″ single, Summer Babe (Winter Version), and three earlier EPs. The first full-length LP was a big deal, as Matador Records was working to help make Pavement a name for themselves. Meanwhile, Geffen Records was getting Sonic Youth major success, Sonic Youth having previously been shoegazers known for their song Death Valley ’69.

Both Sonic Youth and Pavement are influential music acts.

Death Valley ’69 (Sonic Youth, 1985) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1zPOcllS9Q

Refute https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6C78dcy8-w

  1. What the crowd thought

Despite obscurity in 1991, Pavement was becoming a success. Pavement’s most recent album now is Quarantine the Past, and the time seems right for both old songs and unseen material.

The unreleased songs from Pavement won’t be hard to find. Bandcamp is making it available in different formats in April. Besides the reissue of Spit on a Stranger from 1999, there is a set of all their music.

You don’t need to hear the complete collection if Pavement interests you. You could begin with Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, which is their best-known release.

  1. What the band said about Reading

The members of Sonic Youth and Pavement became pretty good friends. When Malkmus turned his attention to Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, he sold a lot of units, but not as much of Pavement’s music after that found the same popularity.

Certainly, it would have been more difficult to make videos that would have been more popular with MTV audiences. Still, the two videos Pavement released with Wowee Zowee in 1995 were, in one instance, simply a bathtub filled with water, and, in the second one, the band appeared to be in a country-rock video, even though they were known for their straightforward rock music.

Perhaps Malkmus was being difficult. I like the Father to a Sister of Thought video, but Wowee Zowee obviously had little chance to break into the country music market, being an experimental rock album.

  1. You can’t see them, but they were great!

You can get an idea of what they were like with the second CD from Slanted and Enchanted Luxe and Reduxe, where, for example, the discs include the song Frontwards from the Watery, Domestic EP, in both its studio recording and also played live, at Brixton Academy, in December of 1992.

An MTV video from 1995 of Pavement talking at Reading can be seen on YouTube. You can watch how they handled themselves when they are talking somewhat candidly.

Pavement is a band that you might find interesting if only for the sake of hearing songs that are both unique and entertaining. Like Range Life, from Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, or In the Mouth a Desert, on Slanted and Enchanted. Artistically, Stephen Malkmus is competent.

“Thanks for coming to Reading Festival this year. As you probably already know, we’ve got a few of our most interesting acts playing live on the Main Stage: Arctic Monkeys, Rage Against The Machine and Megan Thee Stallion. We also have other great names, such as Bring Me The Horizon and Halsey.”

I’m joking, I’m not a Reading Festival emcee 😉 Those artists are apparently in for Reading this year, however.

MCMLXXXVIII #thiswasweirdbutcool

The YouTube channel Justin Hawkens Rides Again did a video about the Pixies this week.

As a source for blog posts, some time ago I joined in reading a blog that encouraged its readers to write about songs inspired by specific words in the titles or lyrics of songs.

A Valentine’s Day prompt was the following: Brain/Mind/Think

Inside Our Heads – A Unique Title For Me (wordpress.com)

The Pixies are an influential alt-rock band in the US. The word mind is in both the title and the lyrics of the Pixies’ 1988 song, Where is My Mind? …so both checkmark boxes have been scratched.

Inside Our Heads took us to task by asking what song invokes the words Brain, Mind or Think. That Valentine’s Day I was wondering if the special someone in my life might be there to stay. Where is My Mind? is a wonderful indie rock song, that, for example, helps to conclude an excellent feature film, and it would be a spoiler to tell you which movie.

An anti-hero doesn’t always get the girl.

In 1988, the Pixies were a band who were combining punk rock and surf rock. I don’t know right away what Where is My Mind? is about. You can see that the title is an apologetic expression, which means: it’s unfortunate that I have not been paying attention.

The word mind is in the title of the song and furthermore provides the band with the chorus, written and sung by Black Francis, with some repetition.

where is my mind?

it’s what you say when your head callaspes and there’s nothing in it.

with your feet in the air
your head on the ground
try this trick
and spin it

by “marooned” October 31, 2004, https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=where%20is%20my%20mind%3F

This was a definition provided by a different encyclopedia than Wikipedia. Urban Dictionary explains this meaning. The line-up of the Pixies, in its incarnation in the eighties and nineties, includes singer Black Francis, which is a stage name, and Kim Deal, playing the bass guitar. Joey Santiago plays the lead, and David Lovering, the drums.

Known as “Black Francis”, Charles Thompson IV is an American singer, songwriter and guitarist. Come 1988, Thompson (“Frank Black”) put together seventeen songs. He had met Kim Deal for the first time when she was looking to join a band and answered his newspaper ad.

They got their first songs together, and after several rejections, which is surely customary, the Pixies struck a deal with the record label 4AD. Their first release, as a band, was the EP Come on Pilgrim.

Where is My Mind?

The EP is from the year 1987, followed by a 1988 LP, Surfer Rosa, on which you will find Where is My Mind?.

Pixies

YouTube’s Rock N Roll True Stories says that the Pixies’ 1989 album Doolittle was the one that was most commercially successful, with two hits in the US, and a third in the UK.

Eight years late, the cover of the 1997 retrospective Death to the Pixies bears a kind of tagline which identifies that the Pixies are a punk band, presenting 1987 as the band’s first year together. The Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia explains that Where is My Mind? is the seventh track on the LP. That tune was composed by Black Francis while he went to the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, with, perhaps, recollections of scuba in the Caribbean.

Until an unknown visitor to my blog commented to me about the Pixies and their reunion in 2004, the first since 1993, I held the mistaken belief that Kim Deal had quit the Pixies, opting not to rejoin when the band first synched up again. It seemed to me, from Rock N Roll True Stories, that Deal rejoined long enough to do one new song, and there was an accompanying Best of the Pixies release.

By the way, the word “stop” in the first line of Where is My Mind? has, from time to time, got me thinking of why listeners wouldn’t consider stopping the album during play. By the way, Black Francis sings the word mind nine or ten times during the song.

Where Is My Mind? PixiesOfficial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49FB9hhoO6c

Pixies

Ooh, stop
Ooh
Ooh
With your feet on the air and your head on the ground
Try this trick and spin it, yeah
Your head will collapse
But there’s nothing in it
And you’ll ask yourself
Where is my mind?
Where is my mind?
Where is my mind?
Way out in the water
See it swimming
I was swimming in the Caribbean
Animals were hiding behind the rock
Except the little fish
Bump into me, swear he’s
Tryin’ a talk to me, say wait wait
Where is my mind?
Where is my mind?
Where is my mind?
Way out in the water
See it swimming
With your feet on the air and your head on the ground
Try this trick and spin it, yeah
Your head will collapse
If there’s nothing in it
And you’ll ask yourself
Where is my mind?
Where is my mind?
Where is my mind?
Way out in the water
See it swimming
Ooh
With your feet on the air and your head on the ground
Try this trick and spin it, yeah
Ooh
Ooh
Ooh
Ooh
Ooh

Songwriter: Black Francis
Where Is My Mind? lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group