Gary Young, the original drummer for the indie rock band Pavement, has died. He was 70.
“Gary Young passed on today,” Stephen Malkmus, the lead singer of the Stockton-born band, posted on X, formerly Twitter, on Thursday. “Gary’s pavement drums were ‘one take and hit record’…. Nailed it so well.”
The band’s verified Instagram account shared a message on Young’s passing that read: “Garrit Allan Robertson Young put Pavement on the map. He recorded all of our records from the ‘Slay Track’s 7 through to the ‘Watery, Domestic’ EP. He did it all in his garage, a studio called Louder Than You Think.”
“He was made to play drums in rock and roll bands. … He drummed very hard from a different planet despite being born and raised in Mamaroneck, New York on the easiest birthdate ever to remember (5/3/52),” the seven-slide text post reads. “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.”
Pavement’s record label, Matador Records, also paid tribute to Young on its Instagram account.
“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,” the label posted Thursday alongside an archival photo of the drummer.
A cause of death was not revealed.
‘Next thing you know, I’m in the band,’ Gary Young said of becoming Pavement’s drummer
Earlier this year, a documentary about Young, “Louder Than You Think,” premiered at SXSW and won an audience award. The “up-close cinematic walkabout through the life of Gary Young, the original (and highly unlikely) drummer of indie rock royalty Pavement,” has been screening around the world.
“His booze and drugs-fueled antics (on-stage handstands, gifting vegetables to fans) and haphazard production methods (accidentally helping launch the lo-fi aesthetic) were both a driving force of the band’s early rise and the cause of his eventual crash landing,” reads the 90-minute film’s description.
In a 2015 interview with Vice, Young recalled how he first got involved with his future bandmates Malkmus and Scott Kannberg when Pavement was just being formed in the late ’80s. Malkmus and Kannberg would come to his shows with the band The Fall Of Christianity and recorded their first EPs, as well as their first studio album, “Slanted and Enchanted” (1992), with Young at his home studio.
“In the beginning, they had no drummer so I invited myself to play drums and next thing you know, I’m in the band,” Young said. “Here’s the deal: When I first heard them, I did not understand it. I’d tell my friends in New York I just made this weird record and I don’t really know how to describe it.”
He added, “Three or four years later, I realized that we had really done something. But it took me a long time to figure it out.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Gary Young dies: Pavement bandmate Stephen Malkmus mourns drummer