Gary Young, the first drummer for Pavement, has died at the age of 70.
Young’s death was confirmed by his former bandmate Stephen Malkmus today (August 18) via a social media post. Malkmus, who fronted pioneering indie-rock band Pavement with Young, Scott “Spiral Stairs” Kannberg and Mark Ibold, wrote on Twitter/X: “Gary Young passed on today. Gary’s Pavement drums were “one take and hit record”… Nailed it so well. RIP.”
Gary Young’s cause of death has yet to be revealed.
Gary Young passed on today
.. . Gary’s pavement drums were “one take and hit record”…. Nailed it so well
— Stephen malkmus (@dronecoma) August 18, 2023
On the official Twitter/X page for Pavement, the band shared an old photograph of Young doing a headstand onstage while Malkmus was performing.
— PAVEMENT (@pavement_band) August 18, 2023
Pavement have also shared a lengthy statement following Gary Young’s death.
“He was made to play drums in rock and roll bands. He came from the “Keith Moon school of drummers”. It’s an unofficial school. But, Gary graduated from it with honors,” they wrote.
“To us and all who knew him, he was a fearless fireball. His enthusiasm for playing live music was relentless and unrepentant. He was the best storyteller we’ve known and a unique judge of character.”
“Gary loved tension. He wanted to make people excited and anxious. He accomplished both. We embraced him and he taught us myriads of things that we never thought about. He was an educator. In ways, we were his apprentices.”
“Without Gary, many people would not have noticed us. In all of the best ways, he was a freak-show. He was magnetic. He was magical. He was dangerous. We could think of him as an uncle, an older brother that none of us had. But he was a rare breed called Gary aka The Rotting Man.”
Pavement concluded: “Love you Gary. We’re sure you’re doing handstands off of roofs, biting high hat cymbals, fake drowning at the bottom of your pool and dodging rocks glasses and police-fired bullets aimed at your head. Never fear. The Plant Man lives on every time Pavement steps on a stage and will continue to do so.”
Our words on the passing of Gary Young:
Stephen Malkmus and Scott Kanneberg formed Pavement in the late 1980s, and had booked Young’s Louder Than You Think Studio to jam and record music. Since the band did not have a drummer at the time and Young provided studio drums, he would jam with the band, eventually becoming their drummer.
Gary Young was with Pavement from 1989 until 1993, but would reunite with the band to play two shows in 2010. During his time with band, Young performed on four EPs – 1989’s ‘Slay Tracks (1933-1969)’, 1990’s ‘Demolition Plot J-7’, 1991’s ‘Perfect Sound Forever’ and 1992’s ‘Watery, Domestic’ – and the band’s celebrated debut album, 1992’s ‘Slanted and Enchanted’.
Young was eventually replaced by Steve West in 1993 over conflicts with Stephen Malkmus. However, Young teamed up with the band once again in 1999 to produce two ‘Major Leagues’ EP tracks, ‘Your Time to Change’, and Stub Your Toe’.
Following his split from Pavement, Gary Young would go on to release three albums, ‘Hospital’, ‘Things We Do for You’, and ‘The Grey Album’ under the name Gary Young’s Hospital.
Earlier this year, Young starred in a documentary about his life and career, aptly titled ‘Louder Than You Think’. Directed by Jed I. Rosenberg, the documentary film premiered at SXSW in March.
See tributes to the late drummer below.
we were exceedingly lucky to know the amazing human, drummer, producer and solo artist Gary Young. Much love today to his family, friends and bandmates
📷 : Gail Butensky, 1993@pavement_band pic.twitter.com/MnUpDijt09
— Matador Records (@matadorrecords) August 17, 2023
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