Stephen Malkmus

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Stephen Malkmus
Malkmus performing in 2005 at the River To River Festival, Battery Park, New York City
Malkmus performing in 2005 at the River To River Festival, Battery Park, New York City
Background information
Birth nameStephen Malkmus
Also known as
  • SM
  • Hazel Figurine
Born (1966-05-30) May 30, 1966 (age 56)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
OriginStockton, California
GenresIndie rock
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • bass
  • drums
Years active1982–present[1]
Member of
Formerly of

Stephen Joseph Malkmus (born May 30, 1966)[2] is an American musician best known as the primary songwriter, lead singer and guitarist of the indie rock band Pavement. He currently performs with Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Pavement and as a solo artist.


Early years[edit]

Stephen Malkmus was born in Santa Monica, California, to Mary and Stephen Malkmus Sr.[3][4] His father was a property and casualty insurance agent.[4] When Stephen Jr. was 8, the family moved north to Stockton,[4] where he attended Carpinteria's Cate School and Lodi's Tokay High School. As a teenager, Malkmus worked various jobs, including painting house numbers on street curbs and "flipping burgers or whatever" at a country club.[5] At age 16, he spent the night in jail after consuming alcohol, urinating in the bushes, and walking on the roofs of several residential homes.[3] Later, he was placed on probation for underage drinking,[3] and was also expelled from school "for going to a party in the woods where people were taking mushrooms. I didn’t take them, but some guy narc’d on me."[3]

Malkmus learned the guitar by playing along to Jimi Hendrix's recording of "Purple Haze".[4] Around the age of 16, he started playing in several Stockton-based punk bands: Bag O Bones, The Straw Dogs, and Crisis Alert. After graduating from high school, Malkmus followed in his father's footsteps by attending the University of Virginia, where he majored in history and was a disc jockey for the college radio station WTJU. During this time, Malkmus met fellow WTJU DJs David Berman (who would later front the Silver Jews) and James McNew (of Yo La Tengo) and formed the lo-fi band Ectoslavia.[6][7] In the late 1980s, he was employed as a security guard at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, along with Berman and Bob Nastanovich.[3]



Malkmus performing with Pavement in 2010

Malkmus formed Pavement with Scott Kannberg (aka Spiral Stairs) right after finishing college at UVA in the late 80s.[8] Their first album, Slanted & Enchanted, was released to critical acclaim, and the band continued to receive attention for subsequent releases. Pavement, and Malkmus in particular, were hailed as spearheading the underground indie movement of the 1990s.

Pavement reunited in 2010 and embarked on a world tour,[9] and reunited again in 2022 and 2023 for another tour.

Solo work and The Jicks[edit]

In 2001, following the 1999 dissolution of Pavement, Malkmus released his first self-titled album with his new band, The Jicks (although they were uncredited).

On May 23, 2003 in Milwaukee, while touring with his new band The Jicks, Malkmus opened the show by saying, "This is off our first record." The band then notably proceeded to play an evening's worth of Pavement songs, marking the third time Malkmus had played any of his previous band's songs since their 1999 breakup; the first was in January 2002 in Seoul, South Korea.[10][11]

Malkmus's fourth studio album with The Jicks, Real Emotional Trash, was released in March 2008.[12]

In August 2011 he released his fifth studio album with The Jicks, Mirror Traffic. He played the album Ege Bamyasi, originally by the band Can, in its entirety on December 1, 2012 at WEEK-END Festival in Cologne, Germany.[13] A recording of this performance was released as a limited-edition live album on Record Store Day 2013.

Malkmus performing with the Jicks in 2018

Malkmus's sixth studio album with the Jicks, Wig Out at Jagbags, was released on January 7, 2014. On February 7, 2018, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks released "Middle America", their first material in four years. It was their first single from their seventh studio album, Sparkle Hard, which was released on May 18, 2018.[14]

Malkmus released an electronic album titled Groove Denied on March 15, 2019, after having worked on the album for 12 to 13 years. After he submitted the album in 2017, Matador's president and founder Chris Lombardi, who has been releasing Malkmus' records since Pavement's 1992 debut Slanted and Enchanted, flew personally to Portland to inform Malkmus that it wasn't the right time to release the album. The album features Malkmus on all instruments and production and engineering.[15][16][17] Malkmus released Traditional Techniques on March 6, 2020. The album was produced by Chris Funk of The Decemberists and features guitarist Matt Sweeney and musician Qais Essar.

Side projects[edit]

Malkmus also was a member of rock group Silver Jews along with poet/lyricist David Berman.[18] In early 1999 Stephen Malkmus participated in a Sonic Youth side project called Kim's Bedroom that included bassist/vocalist Kim Gordon, guitarist/vocalist Thurston Moore, Chicago avant-garde veteran Jim O'Rourke, and renowned Japanese drummer Ikue Mori; they never released an album, but did play a few live shows. By 2001 he was performing as frontman of The Jicks.[19]

In 2007, Malkmus provided 3 songs to the Todd Haynes' film I'm Not There, based on the life of Bob Dylan. He contributed on the songs "Ballad of a Thin Man", "Can't Leave Her Behind" and "Maggie's Farm". Malkmus has admitted that he was never "really a really big fan of Dylan,"[20] but noted that his involvement with the film had made him listen "to him again a little closer."[5]

In 2016, Malkmus scored the soundtrack to the Netflix series Flaked, which stars Arrested Development's Will Arnett.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Malkmus moved to Portland, Oregon, where he met his wife, artist Jessica Jackson Hutchins.[22][23][24] The couple have two children: daughters Lottie (born 2004)[25][26] and Sunday (born 2007).[27] In 2011, before the release of Mirror Traffic, Malkmus and his family moved to Berlin.[26] By the release of Wig Out at Jagbags in 2014, however, the family had moved back to Portland.[28]

Malkmus is a sports fan, supports Hull City Football Club and is known to play golf and tennis;[3][29] he also played second base for the Portland-based Disjecta softball team.[30] Malkmus also previously played lacrosse in his high school.[31]


Malkmus currently plays a Fender Stratocaster and a Guild S-100.[32] Other guitars used are a 1960s Fender Jazzmaster that can be traced back to the Brighten The Corners era, a Gibson Les Paul Deluxe, and a Fender Stratocaster that was his guitar of choice during the majority of his time with Pavement. He used a Gibson SG with Pavement during the Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain era. For the 2010 Pavement reunion tour he used his Stratocaster extensively. During his 2011 tour in support of Mirror Traffic he played a Guild S-100. He has also played a Danelectro Silvertone (Sears model dating to 1962 or 1963) for one-off solo shows.

Typically, he uses an Orange Retro 50 head through a 1970s Marshall 4x12 cabinet when playing live, though he has used various other Orange, Marshall and Fender amps, including a vintage Silverface Twin Reverb during the early Pavement years, an Orange OR120 during later Pavement years, and a single channel Orange AD30 with the Jicks. Malkmus's other confirmed (though not constant) gear includes: Z.Vex Fuzz Factory, Diamond J-Drive, Line 6 DL4 Delay Modeler, T-Rex Replica, Lovetone Big Cheese, Lovetone Meatball, BOSS TU-2, DigiTech Whammy, Crowther HotCake, Kaisser Instruments Reamer and Pro Co RAT.


With Pavement[edit]

With Silver Jews[edit]

Singles and EPs
  • Dime Map of the Reef (1992 – 7"ep)
  • The Sabellion Rebellion & Old New York (1993 – 7")
  • The Arizona Record (1993 – 12")
  • Hot as Hell – Live 1993 (1999 – 7" Single)

With The Crust Brothers[edit]

With The Jicks[edit]


Solo albums[edit]

  • "Discretion Grove" (2001) – w/ "Sin Taxi" and "Leisurely Poison" (2001)
  • "Jenny & the Ess-Dog" (2001) – w/ "Keep the Faith", "That's What Mama Said" and "Alien Boy"
  • Phantasies EP (2001) – w/ "Malay Massaker"
  • "Jo Jo's Jacket" – w/ "Polish Mule", "The Hook (live)" and "Open and Shut Cases" (2001)
  • "Sex Life of Robinson Crusoe, Pt. 2" (2001) – B-side available only on official site
  • "Us" (2003)
  • "Dark Wave" (2003) – w/ Pig Lib bonus disc B-sides
  • "Post-Paint Boy" (2005)
  • "Baby C'Mon" (2005) – w/ "Wow Ass Jeans"
  • Kindling for the Master EP (2006) – w/ 4 remixes
  • "Cold Son" 10" EP (2008) – w/ "Walk Into the Mirror", "Pennywhistle Thunder" and "Carl the Clod"
  • "Gardenia" (2008) – w/ "Walk Into the Mirror"
  • "Middle America" (2018)
  • "Shiggy" (2018)
  • "Refute" (2018)
  • "Viktor Borgia" (2019)
  • "Rushing the Acid Frat" (2019)
  • "Come Get Me" (2019)

Compilations and collaborations[edit]

  • SubUrbia Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1997) – "Unheard Music" (with Elastica)
  • At Home With the Groovebox (2000) – "Robyn Turns 26"
  • All Tomorrow's Parties 1.1 (2002) – "Good Kids Eggs"
  • Colonel Jeffrey Pumpernicklel (2002) – "Blue Rash Intact (Quarantined-Hallucinations Due To Severe Allergies)"
  • Under the Influence – 21 years of Flying Nun Records (2002) – "Death and the Maiden"
  • Matador At Fifteen (2004) – "It Kills (live)"
  • This One's for the Fellows: A Sonic Salute to the Young Fresh Fellows (2004) – guitar on "No One Really Knows" (with The Maroons)
  • Chokes! EP by Silkworm (2007) – guitar on "Spanish Harlem Incident (live)"
  • I'm Not There (Music from the Motion Picture) (2007) – With [The Million Dollar Bashers]: "Ballad of a Thin Man" and "Maggie's Farm"; with Lee Ranaldo: "Can't Leave Her Behind" and "What Kind of Friend is This?" (iTunes only)
  • Early Risers by Soldiers of Fortune (2015) – "Campus Swagger"
  • Day of the Dead (2016) – "China Cat Sunflower -> I Know You Rider"
  • Battle Hymns (2017) – "Midnight Cruisers" Digital Download

● Fiddle player in the 2019 film "First Cow"


  • The New Yorker College Tour: University of Washington, Seattle: A Conversation with Stephen Malkmus (2006)

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Director
2001 "Discretion Grove" Grant Gee
"Jenny & the Ess-Dog" ?
"Jo Jo's Jacket" Shynola
2003 "Death and the Maiden" Mitchell Hawkes
"Dark Wave" Scott Lyons
"Baby C'Mon" Lana Kim & Andy Bruntel
2005 "Mama" E.J. McLeavey-Fisher
2008 "Gardenia" Daniel Woods
2011 "No One Is (As I Are Be)" Steve Doughton
"Senator" Scott Jacobson
2013 "Lariat" Michael Leblanc
"Cinnamon and Lesbians" Jay Winebrenner
2018 "Middle America" (acoustic) Brook Linder
"Solid Silk" (acoustic)
2019 "Viktor Borgia" Jan Lankisch
"Rushing the Acid Frat" Robert Strange & James Papper
"Come Get Me" (lyric video) Marisa Gesualdi
2020 "Xian Man" (lyric video)
"Shadowbanned" Jan Lankisch
  • Cover of "Death And The Maiden" by New Zealand band 'The Verlaines'. Available on Flying Num DVD 'Very Short Films'.


  1. ^ Although the Jicks are not credited within the title, the album Stephen Malkmus is in fact a Jicks recording. Initially, Malkmus simply wanted to call his post-Pavement band the Jicks with no mention of his name, but Matador records resisted the idea and released the album as Stephen Malkmus, although the word "Jicks" is printed both on the CD itself, and on the inner sleeve of the vinyl pressing.
  2. ^ Similarly, while Face the Truth is technically Stephen Malkmus's only true solo affair, the Jicks do provide instrumentation on nearly every song, and "& The Jicks" is visible on the back of the album artwork.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Stephen Malkmus – the path to Pavement included the druggy hardcore scene of central California". Loud And Quiet.
  2. ^ Eric Weisbard (2008). "Pavement". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Blender is coming soon". Archived from the original on July 10, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d "Stephen Malkmus: Being Stephen Malkmus". April 1, 2001. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
  5. ^ a b [1] Archived January 31, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Hogan, Matthew (January 10, 2015). "Secret knowledge of Silver Jews, Pavement, Ectoslavia and Horse Racing with Bob Nastanovich". The Indian Specific. self. Retrieved February 13, 2020.
  7. ^ [2][dead link]
  8. ^ "Stephen Malkmus – the path to Pavement included the druggy hardcore scene of central California". Loud And Quiet.
  9. ^ "Pavement Launch Tour, Add Dates | News". March 1, 2010. Retrieved April 15, 2012.
  10. ^ "Pavement - Stephen Malkmus live in Seoul (2002)". YouTube.
  11. ^ "Stephen Malkmus Setlist at Club SH, Seoul".
  12. ^ "Stephen Malkmus news at Matador Records". Archived from the original on July 2, 2009. Retrieved July 26, 2009.
  13. ^ "Watch Stephen Malkmus Perform Can's Ege Bamyasi | News". December 6, 2012. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
  14. ^ "Interview: Stephen Malkmus". June 26, 2018. Retrieved December 7, 2020.
  15. ^ Knopper, Steve (January 17, 2019). "Stephen Malkmus is still enigmatic, but with a big heart". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  16. ^ "Stephen Malkmus - Groove Denied". Amazon. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  17. ^ Vozick-Levinson, Simon (January 22, 2019). "Stephen Malkmus' Excellent Electronic Adventure". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  18. ^ "Interview with The Corduroy Suit". Retrieved July 26, 2009.
  19. ^ "LIVE: Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks". Chart Attack, November 23, 2001, Review by Chris Burland
  20. ^ "Music News: Latest and Breaking Music News". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on February 10, 2008. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
  21. ^ "Stephen Malkmus Is Scoring Will Arnett's New Netflix Series 'Flaked'". Billboard. February 12, 2016. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  22. ^ "Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks: Rule Portlandia". September 12, 2011.
  23. ^ Tannenbaum, Rob (May 14, 2018). "Stephen Malkmus Doesn't Think He Was a Jerk". The New York Times.
  24. ^ Sherburne, Philip (March 20, 2019). "Stephen Malkmus: 'There's this reggae song where I sing in patois – it should not be heard'".
  25. ^ Klosterman, Chuck (March 2010). "Greatest. Indie-est. Band. Ever". GQ. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
  26. ^ a b William, Goodman (July 6, 2011). "Q&A: Stephen Malkmus on New LP, Beck + More". Spin. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
  27. ^ [3] Archived December 15, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ "Stephen Malkmus on Why Everyone Wants to Be a Nineties Kid, the Jicks' 'Wig Out at Jagbags' and More | Music News". Rolling Stone. January 3, 2014. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
  29. ^ [4][dead link]
  30. ^ Caraeff, Ezra. "The Portland Mercury | Blogtown, PDX | Disjecta - Softball Champions!". Archived from the original on February 23, 2012. Retrieved April 15, 2012.
  31. ^ "stephen malkmus high school - Google Search".
  32. ^ "The Current's Guitar Collection: Stephen Malkmus". Retrieved November 3, 2017.

External links[edit]