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Stephen Malkmus talks about prog rock

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There’s no denying the prog slant of much of Face the Truth, the new album from ex-Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus. While flirting with prog is nothing new for the arch and arty singer-guitarist, we wondered just how comfortable he is being lumped in with the new school of noodlers.

EW How does it feel when your music is described as prog?

SM I don’t mind, although to me Radiohead is more a classic prog band. Our original drummer in Pavement was a big Yes fan.

EW Do you consider yourself a leader of the prog revival?

SM Maybe a band like the Mars Volta is, but most of our so-called progressive moves are still pretty blues- and acid-rock-related. We’re kinda garagey. Not quite out there in chin-stroking-land.

EW Since ’70s punk was partly a rebellion against bands like ELP, is it weird that punky bands are moving in that direction?

SM As the punks grow up, it’s good to mess around with the forms. People might be getting tired of these Strokes-y bands, the Kings of Leons and the Jets, and wanting something else.

EW Who are your fave prog acts?

SM There’s a band called the Groundhogs who made some kind of progressive albums. Soft Machine, at least through their third album, were classic. And early Chicago, when they were Chicago Transit Authority. I would say listen to those for sure.

EW Whoa. Steve Malkmus digs Chicago?

SM Hey, those first two records were amazing.

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