Pavement guitarist Scott Kannberg and his band may have scrapped the
idea of releasing a live album, but they have high hopes of getting
concert material to their fans without having to go through all the
marketing and distribution.
In fact, that's only the beginning of Pavement's plans to take their
act to the World Wide Web.
Rather than relying on a label to distribute this rare and officially
unreleased music, Kannberg and his indie-rock act are turning to the
Net -- specifically to their new official website (www.pavementtherockband.com)
-- to get their live sound out to the world.
"There's lots of stuff we want to offer eventually," Kannberg said.
At this point, the site has relatively few audio and visual elements.
But it does feature 30-second clips of such songs as "Spit on a Stranger"
(RealAudio excerpt) and "Folk Jam"
(RealAudio excerpt) from the forthcoming Terror Twilight (June 8).
Last year, indie-rock aficionados' appetites were whetted when word got
out that Pavement were working on a live album. But the group decided to
jettison the album in favor of a new studio project. Now that those
plans have been set in motion, Kannberg says the group has begun developing
a strategy for the site. Releasing live recordings as downloadable music
is one of many ideas the pioneers of indie rock are considering for the
site, which launched last week.
Kannberg and site designer Greg Burton plan to post near-CD-quality MP3
files of songs from assorted Pavement bootleg albums.
"I've still got to get hold of all the bootlegs somehow," Kannberg, 32,
said from his home in Berkeley, Calif. He figures there are 10 to 15
songs he'd like to post online.
"Most of them are really, really bad quality, but two or three are good,"
he said. "If [fans] do want to go out and buy it, sure, I don't care,
but at least they can listen to it first instead of spending 30 bucks."
Last year, the Beastie Boys pioneered the idea of beating the bootleggers
at their own game by posting MP3s of unauthorized albums on their official
webpage. But their label, Capitol Records, insisted the band remove them.
Pavement, thus far, have not run into any problems with their label,
Matador, which is partially owned by Capitol.
In addition to offering their bootlegged work, Kannberg and bandmates
Steve Malkmus (vocals, guitar), Mark Ibold (bass), Bob Nastanovich
(percussion) and Steve West (drums) plan to record concerts digitally on
the upcoming Terror Twilight tour, with the intent of posting the
best live takes online.
Designer Burton deadpanned that he wanted to give Pavement "the big rock
sound, in a website." Before the band's tour kicks off in June, he also
hopes to have a section called "Pavement TV" up and running.
"That's going to have each one of the Pavement superheroes in their
respective environments," he quipped. "It's a top-secret project."
Kannberg was less guarded. "There will be six different channels," he
said. "Each member of the band has their own channel, and everybody's
gonna videotape whatever they want to videotape, and they'll put up
something once a month. And then channel six will be us sending in feeds
while we're on tour, some live footage and that kind of thing."
As the site takes shape, Kannberg said the guiding principle has been
for the band to provide what it thinks avid listeners want, be it an
official fan club (also set to start through the site), "Pavement TV" or
less-conventional offerings, such as the bootlegged work, even if the
site doesn't bring in money.
"It's nice to get paid for a record, but it's also nice to have it so
widely available," Kannberg said.