Gary Young dead – Pavement’s original drummer dies at 70 as grieving fans and band-mates pay tribute

GARY Young, the legendary original drummer from the alternative rock band Pavement, has died aged 70.

The iconic musician passed away on Thursday, according to the group’s frontman Stephen Malkmus.


Pavement’s original drummer Gary Young has died aged 70Credit: Melbourne International Film Festival

Malkmus announced Young’s death on social media and said: “Gary Young passed on today. Gary’s pavement drums were ‘one take and hit record’…. Nailed it so well. rip”.

Record label Matador Records, which released the band’s 1992 debut album Slanted and Enchanted, also shared a touching social media tribute to the late drummer.

It said: “We were exceedingly lucky to know the amazing human, drummer, producer and solo artist Gary Young. Much love today to his family, friends and bandmates.”

Young left Pavement in 1992 after drumming on the group’s debut album Slanted and Enchanted.

A joint tribute from the remaining members of Pavement said Young was a “fearless fireball,” stating: “We all loved him and it was life changing to have a staggering weapon to play music with.”

Fans have also been paying tribute to the drummer on Pavement’s official Instagram page with one saying: “These songs and his drumming truly shaped me as a young music fan finding my feet. RIP”.

Another commented: “Sad news, another legend gone!”

Following Young’s departure from the band over three decades ago, Steve West took over his position as drummer from 1993 to 1999.

Young was born in Mamaroneck, New York, in 1953 and began his musical career in the 1980s.

He booked musical acts to play around Stockton, including Dead Kennedys, Circle Jerks, and Black Flag.

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Early in the decade, he played in the punk band The Fall of Christianity with Brian Thalken of The Authorities.

Pavement was formed in 1989 by Stephen Malkmus and Scott Kannberg with their first EP, Slay Tracks, recorded at Young’s Louder Than You Think Studio.

Young also appeared on their next two EPs, Demolition Plot J-7, and Perfect Sound Forever, released in 1990 and 1991.

He began gaining the band a reputation with his on and off-stage antics.

The drummer was well-known for personally greeting the audience at the door, giving out cabbage, mashed potatoes, or cinnamon toast to fans, and for doing headstands.

His latest release as a member of Pavement was the EP Watery, Domestic – but he later appeared on two tracks on the Major League EP as a producer.

Young was fired from Pavement in 1993 after experiencing conflict with Malkmus and the rest of the band but reunited with them in 2010 to play two shows.

After leaving Pavement, the drummer released three albums – Hospital, Things We Do For You, and The Grey Album.

He was ranked number 42 of the 50 Greatest Rock Drummers by Stylus Magazine and developed and patented the Universal Shock Mount used for microphones.

In 2023, he starred in a documentary about his own life and career made by Jed I. Rosenberg and titled Louder Than You Think.

The film had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 13, and received critical acclaim, winning the “Audience Award”.

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