Preston School of Industry Are Skipping Over Pavement's Cracks

Preston School of Industry Are Skipping Over Pavement's Cracks
Pavement cofounder Scott Kannberg isn't interested in revisiting details of the pioneering indie rock band's unceremonious 1999 break-up. The problem is, it's damn near impossible to discuss his new project, Preston School of Industry, without going there. Harder still to talk about PSI's full-length debut, All This Sounds Gas — the album was built around material originally intended for Pavement's ‘99 farewell release, Terror Twilight.

The new disc's catchy, undeniably Pavement-esque opener "Walebones," along with "Encyclopedic Knowledge of" and "The Idea of Fires" were carried over and re-recorded by Kannberg with the help of a half dozen Bay Area musician pals.

"Those were going to be my contributions to that record," says Kannberg (better known to the Pavement faithful as Spiral Stairs), "but some unforeseen circumstances prevented that."

Care to elaborate, Mr. Stairs? "Not really. It's just, you know, as time went on every record we did seemed to be more of a struggle and more frustrating to have a consensus in Pavement. So I don't know... I don't really want to talk about why someone didn't want songs on the record, or why someone did. I allowed it to happen," he continues, semi-sweetening the grapes, "so it's not a big deal."

It was a big enough deal to inspire at least eight more new tunes from the guitarist/vocalist, ranging in style from melodic guitar pop to woeful twang and dark, brooding rock. "It kind of spurred me on to do my own thing," admits Kannberg. "I'm glad something positive came out of it."

Pavement keeners who catch PSI on tour this month in Canada and the U.S. are bound to recognise some of the other set list titles. Kannberg says the unit's repertoire includes a number of his Pavement compositions — some only now enjoying their live debuts.
"We're doing songs that I wrote that we never really played live in Pavement, songs that were either B-sides or whatever," he explains, citing "Coolin‚ By Sound," "Mussel Rock (Is A Horse In Transition)" and "Stub Your Toe, I Don't Have One" as examples. "I like those songs a lot and I never got the chance to play them before. Now I do."

Joining Kannberg in the live PSI fold are Oranger drummer Jim Lindsay, Glitter Mini 9 guitarist Mauri Skinfill and former Creeper Lagoon bass player Dan Carr. As far as his bandmates of yore are concerned, Kannberg says he hasn't seen a great deal of the Pavement crew. "We all stay in touch off and on, I guess. I've seen Mark Ibold a few times, but I haven't seen Steve [Malkmus] or Bob [Nastanovich]. I think we're going to stay with Steve West when we go down through Virginia, so that'll be nice to see him again."
Kannberg adds that the members of Pavement lived in different U.S. cities for years and therefore rarely saw each other outside of touring and recording sessions. "Pavement was a pretty fractured group of people," he says. "We live in different cities and we're all just moving on."