Pavement Planning To Go On Hiatus

Band's guitarist says lo-fi art-rockers will break from recording, touring to pursue personal matters.

Lo-fi art-rockers Pavement plan to take a break from recording and touring for the foreseeable future, according to guitarist Scott "Spiral Stairs" Kannberg.

Recurring rumors of the band's demise resurfaced during the weekend after

singer Steve Malkmus told the audience at London's Brixton Academy on

Saturday night that the show would be the band's last, Kannberg said.

Malkmus also pointed to a pair of handcuffs hanging from his microphone stand and reportedly said, "These symbolized what it's like being in a band."

"They got it all wrong. They got the quote wrong," Kannberg said from his Northern California home on Monday (Nov. 22) afternoon, referring to the report on the website of the British pop-music weekly New Musical Express.

Kannberg said what Malkmus actually said was more benign, at least as far as the band's future is concerned. "He actually said 'These symbolize what it's like being in England,' " Kannberg laughed.

As for Malkmus' assertion at the end of the show that it was the band's last, Kannberg said it was indeed the final show in support of the group's most recent album, Terror Twilight, but not necessarily the last ever.

"We don't know, it might be [our last show]," Kannberg said. "We're going to take a couple of years off." Kannberg attributed the time off to impending fatherhood for one of the bandmembers, other bandmates' interest in starting families and the fatigue of touring and recording for nearly a decade.

"We've been doing this pretty full-on for the last eight or 10 years," he said. "We just want to rethink what it means being in a band."

The group's Matador Records spokesperson said that while it's safe to assume Pavement are not going to be touring or recording in the immediate future, there has been no official word from the members about what's next.

"There have been rumors [about a breakup] since [Terror Twilight] came out in June," publicist Deborah Orr said. "They've always refuted those and taken pains to say they're not breaking up. If they are, it would take us by surprise, as well."

The band — which also includes bassist Mark Ibold, percussionist Bob Nastanovich and drummer Steve West — released a seven-song EP, Major Leagues, in October. In addition to three previously unreleased songs, the EP featured covers of "The Classical" by British post-punk band the Fall and "The Killing Moon" (RealAudio excerpt) by new-wave group Echo and the Bunnymen. The EP was the second bonus-track release from Pavement in the wake of Terror Twilight, which is the band's fifth album.

Before Terror Twilight came out, principal songwriter Malkmus said he tapped into deep emotions while making the album.

"We have no complaints or bitterness or disappointment," he said. "Personal disappointment — that's an emotion that you can tap into and that has resonance in a certain kind of soul. And we're trying to be a soulful band, as much as you can be, being relatively privileged suburban kids and stuff."

Known for their obscure lyrics and anti-pop arrangements, Pavement formed in 1989, in Stockton, Calif., and released their critically acclaimed full-length debut, Slanted and Enchanted, in 1992. Mirroring the group's fractured nature, the album was not recorded by the full band at one time, but pieced together by Kannberg and Malkmus. Despite its noncommercial sensibility, the group scored a minor hit with the song "Cut Your Hair" (RealAudio excerpt) from 1994's Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain.

Rumors of the band's breakup have followed the release of nearly every one of its albums, and Kannberg said that the latest talk doesn't phase him.

The guitarist said he plans to concentrate on recording some solo material and developing his independent record label, Amazing Grease, which recently released a single by the indie rock band Carlos. Drummer West is slated to release the second album, Sunset Sprinkler, from his side project, Marble Valley, in January. Kannberg said he was unsure what Malkmus would do during the band's hiatus.