Back from Berlin, Stephen Malkmus busy making music 

click to enlarge Stephen Malkmus
  • Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks’ catch new album is “Wigout at Jagbags.”
When Pavement bandleader Stephen Malkmus moved his family from Portland, Ore., to Berlin three years ago, he noticed how carefully people in Europe were soundtracking their lives with iPods and Spotify playlists and chuckled at people’s homogenized Top 10 Desert Island Disc rundowns on hipster music websites. He no longer felt the need to curate his existence, which stylistically freed him to compose “Wigout at Jagbags,” his hook-happy new sixth solo recording with current backup band The Jicks. In Germany, he says, “I listened to a lot of pop radio, club DJs or whatever was playing in the coffee shop. It was like letting the water pour over you and not trying to fight it.”

Why did you move to Germany, anyway? Because it was cool! And we like going cool places. We’re back now — we returned to Portland last August. But we didn’t know we’d end up staying, and the kids really liked Berlin. They don’t understand a concept like a year or two years. They get there and they think they’re on vacation.

Many artists have moved to Berlin — Peaches, Eddie Argos, Fran Healy from Travis, with whom you just recorded. Peaches is in L.A. — that’s what somebody told me yesterday. And she’s cool — I know her and I’m a fan. But Berlin is not so expensive, compared to a lot of European cities, and it’s centrally located via airplane. So you’re really close to everything.

What was your daily routine like? Take the kids to school, come back, watch a movie, do nothing for a little while, then pick them up again — it was mostly kid care. Or maybe I’d write some tunes or go out to lunch. It was very simple. And I kind of liked it.

But you got involved in the club scene? I had a younger DJ friend who took me out a few times. But I couldn’t keep up. Eventually, you become a night person or a day person. And I had kids, so I was a day person. But there were parents there who got babysitters and stayed out till 6 a.m. on weekends.

In your new Jicks video for “Cinnamon and Lesbians,” you’re devouring a bowl of Froot Loops. You’re back in the US of A, all right. Yeah. I just threw that box away, actually, because it was left here and one of my kids was always wanting them. So they went into the recycling today. And I don’t even know if they’ll decompose, really!

It was recently revealed that all Froot Loops colors are actually the same flavor. I am shocked! I don’t know if I can even continue this interview!


Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks

Where: Slim’s, 333 11th St., S.F.

When: 9 p.m. Thursday

Tickets: $21 (sold out)

Contact: (415) 522-0333,

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Tom Lanham

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