With a Pavement reunion tour lined up for spring, it may – or may not – be a good time to chat to Steve West, drummer for the seminal American act. His band – now, in a sense, a ‘side project’ – Marble Valley, visit Glasgow to play an itm? show. We caught Steve for a few words…
itm?: So, we may as well get it out of the way. Pavement are reforming. But more importantly, Marble Valley – it is quite far removed from your ‘other’ band, so do you see it as a chance for you to try out stuff that’d not fit? Or is it more that Pavement being inactive means you’re just keeping creative?
SW: I played drums in Pavement and made wise ass comments, sang a little and kept up rhythm moral. The Valley has been a way for me to express my more sensitive side while on Pavement sabbatical.
itm?: I’m guessing that interviews like this one may treat Marble Valley like a new act every time an album comes out – how does it feel to be the next big thing every three years?
SW: The Valley has been the Next Big Thing for the past ten years – we just have to convince everyone else of this very fact. It makes the shows more edgy.
itm?: Since Pavement split you’ve had 10 years of ‘freedom’ to do your own stuff. Were there other projects apart from that?
SW: Yes, I took up a trade as a stone mason and started beating on rocks, not drums.
itm?: Is it hard to go back to being part of a band rather than the frontman?
SW: I love the stage – front, back or sides. I was one of those kids that did a lot of jibber jabber in class – the class clown. On stage, in the front, you feel the heat and cold of the crowd. In the back, I can zone out and rock out. Its all cool for me.
itm?: Did the Valley’s debut CD also coincide with another quieter period for the ‘day job’?
SW: Yes – the first CD as the Valley was in 97 I believe, Sauchiehall Street, it came about during free time between Pavement releases.
itm?: So have you chosen Sleazys as your venue for its location on ‘Sauchiehall Street’?
SW: What a lovely music vibe that street has. I always have a great night when I’m on the Sauchiehall. A bit out of control but always landing on my feet. Sleazys is one of my favourite clubs.
itm? Is it hard to get Marble Valley together, with members in Amsterdam, and the UK? You are the main songwriter so can the other guys contribute to the songwriting?
SW: I wish there could be more input but the Atlantic Ocean gets in the way. However, when we do get it together the creative vibe is Volcanic.
itm? Are you still involved – or likely to be – with the Silver Jews? How do you find the time?
SW: David has ended the Jews as far as I know. I have fond memories of my participation in that band and would jump at a chance to play with him again. Alas all good things must come to an end.
itm?: You must be, technically, almost, a UK band, with a UK label to boot. Did the connection with the Sea guys come through the UK members?
SW: Sea got in touch with me through our German label Indikator Rekords. I feel fortunate to be a part of such a multicultural thingy wingy, we are all trying very hard to make the world a little less nationalistic
itm? – How about the fans back home in the US – will you get the MV album released there? And back to Pavement, do you think the old “Pavement’s drummer’s side project” could, for all the presumably tired questioning, make it easier for you to get a release and gigs sorted out?
SW: Maybe to all those questions – I would love to bring this new CD to the States with the band. We will see, it is a busy year but now would be the time to do it. All the reunion talk over Pavement helps!
Marble Valley play Glasgow’s Nice’n’Sleazy on Tuesday 26th February, a co-promotion via Cry Parrot and is this music? Support comes from Lyons and Y’All Is Fantasy Island’s Adam Staford. Album Slash & Laugh is available on Sea (UK) and Indikator (Germany).