Sex Advice From Stephen Malkmus

The indie legend and former Pavement frontman gives us his wisdom on romance.

By Carly Pifer

In the '90s, Stephen Malkmus led Pavement through a streak of cultishly adored albums that remain massively influential on contemporary indie rock. His new album, Mirror Traffic, comes out today.

So, you're married now. How did you meet your wife?
At a wedding. I was single, she was single, you know. Most people who are single at a wedding have targets on their faces. That's why they make movies like Wedding Crashers.

Your lyrics are famously abstruse, but there are hints of deep emotions. Should your admirers imagine you're the same in romantic situations — wistful with a touch of detachment?
Perhaps! That doesn't sound so bad. But you can't really judge an artist's personal life or their romance from their music. There's a lot of projection. I suppose someone's lyrics are sort of like the first few dates. After that, whatever cleverness or wistfulness you have isn't really important. That's just personality, which is kind of a front to what you really are. Then you're left with the reality that we're all kind of the same.

Won't your lady fans be disappointed to hear that?
I think it's just a realistic psychological evaluation of relationships. I would say the same for Bob Dylan or Jay-Z. He can brag about Bentleys or whatever, but Beyonce is not going to fall for just that.

You lived in Williamsburg before the hipsters. What was the dating scene like back then?
There was no dating really in Williamsburg at that time. I usually had a girlfriend, but when I didn't, it just seemed hard to meet people. Maybe coming out of the '80s with the AIDS paranoia, people were a little more reserved. In the late '90s people seemed to get more debauched — it was easier to meet people either for a one-night stand or a relationship. A one-night stand is probably more like a drunken thing, which isn't particularly rewarding, but you put less in, you get less back. Who really knows? Maybe some people like to roll that way — they can really fly their freak flag with someone one night and then kick them out and hope they don't see them again.

Let's talk about the bong rip at the beginning of "We Dance." Does marijuana enhance sex, or ruin it?
I don't smoke weed anymore, but it could be pretty good, as long as you weren't paranoid. Marijuana is so powerful these days I think I'd have to go to the psychological ER. I'd be fried.

What would be the sex drug of choice then?
Sex on acid.

That would be terrifying.
Yeah, I think it would be too.

What if the person transformed into a monster?
Exactly. Or maybe he or she would turn into an Indian deity, and you would go to some fifth-dimension tantric realm.

Let's hope for the latter. Do guys or girls get laid more on tour?
Definitely guys. It's hard for girls to get laid on tour if they're in a band. Maybe boys are intimidated a bit. If you're on the hunt, if you're totally just a dog, then I'm sure you can.

Did you just compare a horny female to a dog?
Boys or girls, it's an analogy for someone who's not particularly picky and just wants to have sex. Just a term.

Sometimes it seems the groupie is a lost archetype. Were the '90s better than the 2000s?
People still get crushes and fantasize, especially in Britain, where the bands are all cute little boys. But a groupie is a concept that's pretty sexist. These women were just like "Oh, I need to take care of this boy while he's out on the road. I'll just pamper him, give him a blowjob, and make sure his hair is shampooed when he goes to the next gig." I don't think people buy that anymore.

I think women want to blow musicians more for bragging rights than for caretaking. At least today.
Yeah, they could probably tweet about it. Probably the biggest turn-on, in the short term, for women and men, is how many other people want the person. Getting a lot of action comes in streaks.

Commentarium (14 Comments)

Aug 23 11 - 2:56am

the beginning of this interview was crazy good

Aug 23 11 - 12:19pm
Pacific Trim

"There is no castration fear"

Aug 23 11 - 4:26pm

"So you were pampered and given blowjobs your whole life?" Love it

Aug 24 11 - 5:07pm

Two funny things in this article. First, the interviewer actually used the word abstruse. He couldn't just say "your lyrics are sometimes hard to understand." No. He had to use a word like abstruse to make it sound like he is ultra-hip and intellectual.

Second funny point, the interviewer says to this guy "You lived in Williamsburg before the hipsters." Hilarious. Just WTF does he think he is talking to? Take a look at the guy's picture. He is very clearly a hipster. I bet he is wearing skinny girl jeans in that picture.

Aug 25 11 - 5:31pm

You sound more like a regular douche than an anti-douche. Also, I think the interviewer's a girl.

Aug 24 11 - 6:46pm

Where the hell is Williamsburg?
The Rest of the Planet

Sep 06 11 - 6:11pm

mmm NW Corner I meant....

Aug 25 11 - 11:20pm
unsexy ferret

Women's underwear seems comfortable???

Aug 26 11 - 2:49am
Groupie Wannabe

I had the great pleasure of interacting with Stephen Malkmus in the flesh last year while they were on the Pavement reunion tour and I can honestly say he is the sexiest man I've ever met in my entire life. He, like, OOZES cool and calm and intelligence and... bangability! His hotness rendered me totally stupid, though, and I couldn't talk to him without making those weird baby noises that people sometimes make in the movies—I always thought that was fake, but that's literally what started coming out of my mouth because I was so stunned. When I got a picture with him and he touched his head to my head, I almost fainted.

Aug 28 11 - 12:54am

talk to him

Aug 28 11 - 5:01pm
groupie for real

i had a one night stand with him...wasn't very memorable. he wore boxers.

Sep 07 11 - 7:25am
kaufen generic Ciali

j2aYBT Pleased to read intelligent thoughts in Russian. I`ve been living in England for already 5 years...

Sep 10 11 - 4:45am

This just in:
My goat just ate next doors geranium.

Aug 09 12 - 7:27am

Man, he's married? My heart is broken. Although, he would be to old for me anyways considering I'm like half his age. Sigh.