Pavement vs. Pitchfork in the Case of the Live Stream Fiasco

07/21/2010 1:03 PM |


This story would be of much more impact if Pavement had refused to play the Pitchfork Festival altogether, but, in a gentle F-you, they did opt out of the live stream that Pitchfork had scheduled to broadcast of their headlining set on Sunday night. The band’s longtime booking agent, David Viecelli, explained to The Chicago Tribune on Monday:

“One of the band members has some issues with [Pitchfork], comments that were made [in past articles] that demeaned that person in the context of Pavement. Some of the things he objected to were bitchy, personal attacks that, if someone had said them about me, I wouldn’t have been happy either. Because of that, he had a problem with the video being streamed not just on the festival web site, but on the editorial side as well.”

THIS IS QUASI-EXCITING. WHO WAS IT?! Viecelli wouldn’t pinpoint which band member, though sources close to the situation said it was not Stephen Malkmus.

Yesterday, the Mystery of the Pissed-Off Guy in Pavement took a turn when Vanity Fair did a little digging around, coming to the conclusion that Scott Kannberg, aka Spiral Stairs, was the member in question. As evidence, they provide a rundown of all the awful things Pitchfork has written about his side project, Preston School of Industry, among the most cringe-worthy being the lead line from their review of Monsoon: “This album has all the charm of a flaccid penis protruding out from beneath a fold of flesh on a balding, middle-aged man.” That’s a 9.7 on the harsh scale.

A spokesperson for the ‘Fork made it out to be not much of anything, pointing out that Broken Social Scene, a band that the web site has consistently championed, also chose not to be filmed. “Talking to other festival producers, it’s common that come the day of the show the manager or a band might say no, for a variety of reasons,” a festival promoter said. In true tender-hearted indie-rock tradition, Kannberg also jumped on the downplay train with his response yesterday:

“Regardless of my thoughts about the Pitchfork e-zine, myself and the rest of the band had a great time playing the Pitchfork Music Festival. The crowd were super enthusiastic and we couldn’t have asked for a better day. We only found out the day of the show about the live webcast and I personally thought that it was not something that Pavement should do. We apologize to the fans for pulling out at the last moment and hope that you’ll come and see us in September. We’d gladly look forward to playing the Pitchfork festival in another 10 years.”

So, there you have it. Scott Kannberg hates Pitchfork, at least maybe a little bit.

One Comment

  • I’ll just call out the festival promoter on his statement that it is “common” for bands to pull the plug on streams at the last moment or even day of. Name me shows and bands where this has happened. This is just plain twisting of truth. Yes, it is common for bands to refuse to participate in streams in the first place, like BSS here, and it happens at all the other fests too, but at the last minute? Can’t think of one instance that this has happened in the past 4 or 5 years since streaming started at the major fests.

    Also, it feels like if Greg Kot didn’t follow up on this it would have been swept under the rug. Didn’t Pitchfork think they owed their viewers an explanation? Why do we have to read about this on a newspaper website, why have they not issued on apology to all the thousands of people (I’m assuming the numbers here, I wonder if info on that will ever come out) who got the blank screen on Sunday?

    As for Scott Kennenberg, however strange his reasoning (as has been pointed out – why agree to play there in the first place if you feel so strongly about it) at least he was man enough to apologize to the fans.