Stephen Malkmus Has No Problem With Houston, He Swears
Malkmus casts Houston in some questionable light during the track in question, singing: "Houston's Hades for Houston ladies... This town, so impressive from a distance / Listen boy, I'm talking to you."
"First of all," Malkmus begins, "the ladies of Houston shouldn't feel bad, because I'm not really speaking to them. So, half the audience should be on my side," he laughs, hopeful. "That leaves the men of Houston to have to answer to me -- a person who's barely ever been there, who's kind of, like, talking shit."
Don't drop your gloves quite yet, dudes of Houston; there's not much power behind Malkmus' punch.
"I don't want to pick any fights. I know the men of Houston couldn't care less - like Lynyrd Skynyrd didn't care about what Neil Young said in 'Southern Man,'" he compares.
Fans are used to such contentious Malkmus-isms, though it's amusing hearing his explanatory stream of consciousness, and long-winded attempt to come clean.
"I don't mean any ill will," he pledges. "And I'm not saying Houston is hell; it's got its strong points. I'm just saying in the 'love battles,' it can be hell for Houston ladies -- but I'm not taking on the whole city."
With the air now cleared, Malkmus is more than eager to shift gears away from music and discuss his other passion: sports. A former high-school athlete, Malkmus maintains a keen interest in sports, and participates in an online fantasy basketball league.
"The NBA is like a theater show," he beams. "I like those gladiator-style sports, with heroes and villains."
His fantasy team is full of "heroes" of the indie-rock caliber, including Sleater-Kinney (and former Jicks) drummer Janet Weiss and Built to Spill front man Doug Martsch.
Sometimes, Martsch and Malkmus take their games to the court. "Doug's pretty good," Malkmus credits. "He's not tall, so he's at a disadvantage, but he's smooth."
Malkmus' sporting double life takes a back seat for now, while the Jicks tour. Fans who have peeked at recent set lists already know Malkmus has some surprises in store -- though he struggles to think of anything noteworthy, when asked if there's anything he'd like to add.
For the first time during our conversation, he's speechless.
"I don't know what to say," he concludes, finally unveiling a glimmer of slackness. "I have performance anxiety."
Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks perform Friday, March 7 at Fitzgerald's with special guests Purling Hiss. Doors open at 8 p.m.
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