Gary Young, Original Pavement Drummer, Passes Away at 70

Gary Young, the pioneering drummer of the legendary band Pavement, has sadly departed at the age of 70, leaving a profound void in the world of music. The somber news was revealed by Stephen Malkmus, the frontman of the American rock group, through a heartfelt post on social media.

“Gary Young passed on today,” Malkmus conveyed on the evening of Thursday, August 17, via his social media platform. He fondly recalled Young’s exceptional drumming style during Pavement’s formative years, where the beats were often captured in one seamless take, giving rise to an unmistakable charm. “Gary’s pavement drums were ‘one take and hit record’…. Nailed it so well. rip.”

Matador Records, the record label responsible for releasing Pavement’s debut album “Slanted and Enchanted” in 1992, joined the chorus of tribute. In a touching online homage, they reflected on Young’s multifaceted talent as a drummer, producer, and even a solo artist. The label extended their thoughts to his family, friends, and fellow bandmates, acknowledging the void his absence will create.

Hailing from New York, Gary Young embarked on his musical journey as a drummer for various punk bands during the vibrant 1980s scene. His roots intertwined with the realm of music as he also worked diligently as a talent booker, establishing connections and a deeper understanding of the industry.

Gary Young

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Pavement’s inception is traced back to the creative minds of guitarist vocalists Stephen Malkmus and Scott Kannberg. The pivotal moment came when they were recording at Young’s home studio, known as “Louder Than You Think.” Young, who was producing the session, offered his drumming prowess to the fledgling duo.

The session in 1989 marked the genesis of Pavement’s musical journey and led to the release of their debut EP, “Slay Tracks: 1933–1969.” While Jason Fawkes briefly assumed the role of the band’s drummer, Young’s return was orchestrated due to creative differences between him and Malkmus. This collaboration gave rise to the EPs “Demolition Plot J-7” (1990) and “Perfect Sound Forever” (1991).

However, it was the release of “Slanted and Enchanted” that etched Pavement’s name into the annals of rock history. Widely regarded as an alt-rock masterpiece, the album showcased Young’s distinct drumming style, garnering both praise and admiration from music enthusiasts.

As the band embraced the touring circuit during the “Slanted and Enchanted” era, Young’s on-stage antics began to make waves. His unpredictable behavior, including serving food to concertgoers, performing headstands during fellow bandmates’ performances, and spontaneous venue dashes, became part of Pavement’s live show allure. Unfortunately, these eccentricities were fueled by his battle with alcohol abuse, a struggle he overcame in 1998 when he embraced sobriety.

Although Young’s tenure with Pavement concluded in 1992, he continued his musical journey independently. Under the banner of “Gary Young’s Hospital,” he released three albums (1994, 1999, and 2004), showcasing his evolution as an artist. In 2016, he ventured into the realm of solo music with the release of “Malfunction,” leaving a testament to his creative spirit.

Notably, Young was also an accomplished technician, leaving his mark in the world of audio technology. He is credited with designing and crafting the Universal Shock Mount for microphones, a contribution that further highlighted his multifaceted talents.

In a heartwarming reunion, Gary Young reunited with his former Pavement bandmates in 2010, gracing the stage for a special performance in his hometown of Stockton. This event marked a momentous culmination of the band’s journey, paying homage to their shared history and the indelible mark Young left on the world of music.

Gary Young’s legacy as a pioneering drummer, producer, and musician will continue to resonate through the notes of his music and the memories he created. As the music world mourns his loss, his contributions will forever remain woven into the fabric of rock history.

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