WTF Podcast

Episode 493 - Stephen Malkmus

Stephen Malkmus was the frontman of what Marc believes is one of the best rock bands ever. The two of them talk about the formation of Pavement and why Stephen’s music withstands the test of time. They also get into modern art, Keith Richards, fatherhood and Edgar Allan Poe. Lots of Poe for some reason. This episode is sponsored by Qello Concerts, ProFlowers and Shari’s Berries


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Jules May 01, 2014 at 8:12 am


Erika May 01, 2014 at 8:50 am

Marc - I <3 you - sorry about Moon, I’m bummed about it with you.

Adam May 01, 2014 at 9:14 am

Marc - whats the Pavement song your playing in the very beginning, its great!

Different Marc May 01, 2014 at 10:23 am

Adam - It’s “Unfair” from the “Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain” album.

Stuart May 01, 2014 at 10:58 am

Sorry man. When I heard about Moon I felt like I got punched in the gut. I can’t even begin to imagine how you both feel. I hope you’re okay man. Take care.

Thomerson May 01, 2014 at 11:07 am

Great interview.

Ever considered getting Paul Thomas Anderson on the show?

Mark May 01, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Grand gesture time, man. Not jester.

Jordon Flato May 01, 2014 at 1:49 pm

So glad this interview happened.  A great one, which is a bit unexpected with SM, who doesn’t always give great interviews.  Really enjoyed this!

Michael P. Gowdy May 01, 2014 at 2:47 pm

(Cat Stevens voice) Mooooon Unit, Moon Unit
Sorry, bud.
Brighten the Corners is my favorite Pavement album by far. “Range Life” from Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain is my favorite song, though. Great interview.

max May 01, 2014 at 4:10 pm

without knowing the history on that guy - he was a douche in that interview!  right?

Marc, you handled him well - but jesus, a challenging individual to have a conversation with.

ItalianGuy May 01, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Sorry to hear about your relationship Mr. Maron. I was surprised you got so fast from the previous one to this one, both so significant. I hope you can find relaxation in being alone for a while.

You are a person with chops on his issues and the psychology of them, I can’t see you as destined to be alone, even if your close family messes with that idea. Don’t think about that and enjoy the second season of your show airing!

Disappointed May 01, 2014 at 5:23 pm

I believe, Maron, you’d become noticeably more emotionally healthy over the last year in particular. But then you allow your parents to re-impact your life to the extent that you likely alienate yourself from your beautiful girlfriend. I assuming a lot, but the two must be related in at least a small way. Maron, your hopeless. I’m disappointed.

Richk May 01, 2014 at 5:48 pm

Stinson, check, Malkmus, check, DBT guys, Lucinda Williams, super cool and also you could have had her….check (of course Iggy, etc)....I love the music interviews.

Need: Westerberg, John Doe would be cool. Steve Albini for his engineering but also Big Black if you ever got into that. I’d like to hear from Bob Mould.

How about some writers: George Saunders would be cool. Lorie Moore just pubbed a new book…Junot Diaz would be killer…

Anyway, all great stuff Marc. More, please.

Sorry about Moon.

Lee Howard May 01, 2014 at 6:33 pm

Great interview.

Get Spoon’s Britt Daniel and GBV’s Bob Pollard on the show and you’ve pretty much interviewed the three main indie rock heroes.

Frank May 01, 2014 at 7:55 pm

The intro was the first intro ever that I felt like skipping. The pain was tangible and my heart aches for what the both of you might be going through. I thought that the two of you were great together but sometimes, things just doesn’t go right. Anyway, I didn’t skip the intro. Never have and not gonna start now. Sometimes you just got to feel the pain.

I’ve never heard of pavement before but, from the snippets of music you have there playing in the intro and the end, they sound like a band that I would love. Got to hunt down those records then.

sarah May 01, 2014 at 8:01 pm

I’m late to WTF world, just started listening to the podcasts maybe one month ago and listened to a full 8 hours driving last week. I’ve immensely enjoyed every single episode I’ve listened to. You are great. People have a lot of love for you as a comic, podcaster and person. Hang in there. Keep playing guitar.

Stephen May 01, 2014 at 9:46 pm

Regarding the terrorist training your parents giving you:

Stephen May 01, 2014 at 9:46 pm

I have hoped to hear Malkmus on WTF for a long time and this did not disappoint. Wonderful episode, right on down to him declining to play a song for you. That’s classic. Anyway, that was a painful intro/outro, and I know where you’re coming from, but things will work out. That’s all I gotta say.

J R May 01, 2014 at 10:00 pm

Marc, I saw you in Austin last week and you were hilarious. But, I told a friend of mine that I was worried you had broken up with Moon, since you had made some obscure comments onstage about not being sure you were still in a relationship or not. I’m really heartbroken to hear it didn’t work out. You deserve to find love on your terms.

Isage May 01, 2014 at 11:52 pm

Great interview, both Maron and Malkmus have been huge influences for me.

Haley May 02, 2014 at 12:13 am

Wow, bummer :/ Hate to see cute couples break up. I was hoping Marc was going to live happily ever after. It’s fine to be single too, but I’m sure he can find love again.

M. Peerce May 02, 2014 at 1:24 am

Have you tried to get the Smothers Brothers, Carol Burnett, Tim Conway, Ray Romano? Seems like there’s a lot of fertile territory to cover. Good luck with #500.

Mark from Lansing MI May 02, 2014 at 6:06 am

Great interview with Stephen Malkmus (AND Judy Greer back on Monday). Like many others of a certain age, Pavement provided most of the soundtrack of my 1990 existence. And you’re right, Marc, the music really does hold up today.

I’m very sorry to hear about your breakup with Moon. I was so hoping this relationship would work out for you. Hang in there, man.

Frank May 02, 2014 at 8:19 am

@M. Peerce: Ray Romano has been on the podcast, though not alone. He was with Mike Royce. I would like to hear a one-on-one interview and catch up with Ray Romano though. Also, I second the suggestion of getting Smothers Brothers, Carol Burnett and Tim Conway.

stephen May 02, 2014 at 8:52 am

haven’t listened to this one yet. but i remember seeing a post on your twitter about getting your first The Fall record recently. i dunno if you asked SM about The Fall at all, but i hope you did. for those interested, google ‘the fall pavement’.

Violette Ivy May 02, 2014 at 11:49 am

Love the podcats. Sorry to hear about Moon. We put way too much pressure on ourselves and on our relationships. Relax, be yourself, accept others, accept yourself, life is too short. Do what makes you happy. Never be embarrassed, be open to experience. You are a success and you deserve someone to share it with.

Ps. that is not a typo  

Cat Admirer May 02, 2014 at 11:49 pm

Sucks, man. Sorry.

Allison May 03, 2014 at 5:49 am

Marc, I’m so sorry to hear about you and Moon… Hang in there, man. Keep going. You’re a huge inspiration and source of laughter and joy for so many of us. You deserve so much love, and it’s meant for you, just like it’s meant for everyone. You’ve got a great heart, man! Keep it alive.


Dee May 03, 2014 at 4:33 pm

I am hopeful that Berman will talk to you. Hearing Malkmus talk about him made me listen to some SJ. The song Pretty Eyes can make me cry anytime I hear it. Direct portal to tears. Something about that damn song. Malkmus also got me wanting to pull some Poe off the shelf!

Re: comment above about being hopeless: no one is hopeless. We’re all a bit nuts and are on individual paths. Be grateful for the time spent with someone and take the lessons from it for later. Breaking up hurts and so does life a lot of the time, but there is a lot to look forward to too. May you & Moon both have peace in your hearts. Not a failure - a victory that both tried. It takes courage to open your heart and try.

Happy weekend!

P.S. Re: your interest in Detroit (expressed in a few recent episodes but not this one): uh, we love you - come any time!

Julie May 04, 2014 at 11:07 am

Geez Stephen, why stop with dirty cereal bowls? How about some advanced visioning about what women sans children might be getting up to?!

andy May 04, 2014 at 10:09 pm

When a guest makes Marc nervous he often kind of listens past what they are saying to whatever is already in his own head—a lot of interesting directions Malkmus started to go in were thwarted this way. It felt like if Marc had had no ideas about him in advance—as an interviewee, or as the brilliant songwriter/ musician he is—he would have been more mellow, less antsy. Nobody’s fault, but kind of a disappointing interview—and short—but still pretty cool.

andy May 04, 2014 at 10:15 pm

Oh yeah, and I was gonna actually do the Sherri’s Berries thing for my mom, but geez, check out the yelp reviews/ pics…
I regret now making the earlier criticism in the other post…I only came here bc I forgot to download Judy Greer, I was so excited about Malkmus. Oh well, maybe I can make partial ammends by saying I too am sorry things did not work out with Moon. I will also say I thought the Nick Cave and Harry Stanton interviews were actually really good, and I know Marc was nervous with those…

Sam Floyd May 05, 2014 at 6:21 pm

First, @ Max on 5/1/14 @ 4:10 pm: Um, like, dude: Malk is rubber, and you are glue, and everything you say bounces off of him and sticks to you. Yup.
Second: Marc, “without knowing the history on” you: this podcast, the first of yours I’ve heard, has made me (will have made me?) a life-long fan. I came for the SM, and I left with a whole lotta podcasts to enjoy in the future. Thank you, from a (very) new fan.
Third: If there’s a gol’dang one a’ ya out there who knows and loves Pavement but has not assimilated the Jicks’ ouvre into your neural network: I envy the hell out of you. I really do. What I wouldn’t give to hear the Jicks again, for the first time?! If you love (uber alles) Wowee Zowee, but don’t know Pig Lib and Real Emotional Trash, your best personal future life involves the immediate acquisition thereof. If you love Pavement but only really know CRCR, then a) buy everything Malkmus et al. has\ve ever recorded, dig a hole big enough to live in over the next decade of your life, and b) just listen.

Zach May 05, 2014 at 11:58 pm

Speaking of poets—I’d love to hear Bucky Sinister on the podcast. I’ve been wanting that since seeing this quite a few years ago.

Matt May 06, 2014 at 11:24 am

Great interview!  You had a lot of ground to cover, but next time why not ask about his relationship/influence/feud with Damon Albarn? Was that off limits?

Justin May 06, 2014 at 9:07 pm

Those who say Malkmus influenced Stralmer fail to appreciate how much Malkmus is himself influenced by Jon Lestman and the critical ‘protoglam metal’ sounds of of alley-punk (rammit, stoogefuck, etc). I’m not saying that’s what Malkmus is (obviously hes more) but during this transcendent epoch the incomprehensible achievements of Denster, Entburn (and what about legendary frontman Stockton?) cannot go unmentioned - these are the most important innovators of ChapScat and obviously the so-called ‘Jizzpunk’ scene as well which DID bring forward even ‘fagtown racers’ and ‘Jems are Mine’ and guys like Dave Monterey etc…. 

Okay anyways, the only episodes I never listen to are these musician ones. But basically that’s what it sounds like to me.

Shay May 08, 2014 at 11:41 pm

Huge fan, Marc. Lots of people love and respect you, try to remember that when you’re feeling down and listening to Malkmus.

sally May 11, 2014 at 2:19 pm

so sad to hear about you and moon:(
you are worthy