Original Pavement Drummer Gary Young Has Died

He helped formulate their early sound...

Original Pavement drummer Gary Young has died, the band have confirmed.

Pavement shared a note overnight (August 17th) mourning their loss. Gary Young was 70 years old.

The drummer and producer played a key role in their early recordings, helping to get that distinctive Pavement sound on tape. Later departing the band, Gary Young remained close, with the film Louder Than You Think detailing his remarkable life.

In a note, Spiral Stairs wrote: “Gary left us today! What a beautiful legend! Learned so much from his years! SM and I started this whole mess with Gary back in 89 and his music and soul will live on forever! Much love to Geri and his friends and family.”

Stephen Malkmus also posted a tribute:

A full tribute was posted on Pavement’s social channels and website. It opens:

Stephen and Spiral knew him from the Stockton punk rock scene and got his phone number from the yellow pages. He made all of their early songs happen as tried to grasp their youthful mayhem and, make sense of it all. That, he did.

The note continues:

He was made to play drums in rock and roll bands. He came from the “Keith Moon school of drummers.” It’s an unofficial school. But, Gary graduated from it with honors. We’ve had the great pleasure of seeing insanely talented drummers. He drummed very hard from a different planet despite being born and raised in Mamaroneck, New York on the easiest birthdate ever to remember (5/3/53). 

To us and all who knew him, he was a fearless fireball. His enthusiasm for playing live music was relentless and unrepentant.

He was the best storyteller we’ve known and a unique judge of character. The things he experienced before we knew him blew our minds.

Gary loved tension. He wanted to make people excited and anxious. He accomplished both. We embraced him and he taught us myriads of things that we never thought about. He was an educator. In ways, we were his apprentices.

Pavement has been an extremely fortunate endeavor from the start and, somehow, continues to be.

Without Gary, many people would not have noticed us. In all of the best ways, he was a freak show. He was magnetic. He was magical. He was dangerous. We could think of him as an uncle, an older brother that none of us had. But, he was a rare breed called Gary aka The Rotting Man. We loved his parents, Bob Young and Betty Quick. On many occasions, they looked after us.

We all loved him and it was life changing to have a staggering weapon to play music with. 

Collectively, our hearts go out to Geri Bernstein, Gary’s wife, who was with him for nearly 50 years and kept him going and staying as vibrant as possible past the age of 70.

Love you Gary. We’re sure you’re doing handstands off of roofs, biting high hat cymbals, fake drowning at the bottom of your pool and dodging rocks glasses and police-fired bullets aimed at your head.

Never fear.

The Plant Man lives on every time Pavement steps on a stage and will continue to do so.

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