High fidelity

Pavement isn't breaking up. It's just learning how to grow old together.

Kannberg laughs off these accusations. He does, however, point out that maturity and marriage do make life difficult for a member of a rock band. "We have other things going on that kind of take away from Pavement and are just as important as Pavement. You can only spend so much time away from your friends before they stop being your friends."

During his time off, Kannberg has kept busy maintaining Pavement's official Web site, pavementtherockband.com. (As it turns out, pavement.com is owned by the American Concrete Pavement Association.) He's also been spending time around Bay Area clubs and making acquaintances, which has led to the formation of a new record label, Amazing Grease. The label's first release is a single by Oranger -- a psychedelic-pop-rock trio featuring former members of San Francisco's coulda-shoulda-woulda-been-stars Overwhelming Colorfast -- which came out in early June.

Tired of "seeing bands spending all this money, not get any money, and probably getting dropped," Kannberg figured the do-it-yourself ethic might work, and besides, he'd taken a shine to Oranger. "They practice three times a week, and just seeing how good they are as a band practicing in a rehearsal space, it makes me think, 'Oh man, we were never a band like that.'"

Turn those frowns upside down, fellas: Pavement is, from left, Steve West, Stephen Malkmus, Scott Kannberg, Bob Nastanovich, and Mark Ibold.
k. westenberg
Turn those frowns upside down, fellas: Pavement is, from left, Steve West, Stephen Malkmus, Scott Kannberg, Bob Nastanovich, and Mark Ibold.

Amazing Grease is currently a modest operation -- 1,000 copies of the Oranger 7-inch single were pressed, with runs of half that for upcoming singles by Sunless Day and Carlos -- though there's talk of expanding to include more bands. The label is coordinated by four people: Kannberg, Oranger members Mike Drake and Matt Harris, and Ben Lutch, a friend and fan who was happy to assist.

Harris explains that his band had run into Kannberg routinely over the past few years and had formed a friendship. "We always had in mind the idea of our own label," says Harris. "So when Scott said, 'I'm gonna start a label,' we thought if we could merge forces, it could be pretty strong."

The other Pavement rumor currently making the rounds is that Kannberg plans to work on a solo record -- besides Malkmus, he's the other main songwriter for the band, and Malkmus has been playing with the side project Silver Jews almost since he began playing with his "real" band. But Kannberg says he has no plans for a solo recording on Amazing Grease or elsewhere, though he does want to do something.

"Pavement's kind of limiting because we live so far away from each other and we don't see each other," he says. "We only see each other at certain times of the year, and those times of the year we're working: We're playing live or we're doing a record. It'd be nice to do something else. I'm getting a little antsy."

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