Gary Young, Pavement’s First Drummer, Dies at 70

Former Pavement drummer Gary Young has died, a representative for the band confirmed to Pitchfork. He was 70.

A veteran of the Stockton, CA punk scene who was known for performance antics like onstage headstands, Young played with The Fall Of Christianity before becoming Pavement’s first drummer in the ’80s. 

“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 recalled to Vice in 2015. “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. Three or four years later I realized that we had really done something.”

Young drummed in Pavement through their 1992 album Watery, Domestic, after which Steve West took over. Young also produced two songs on Pavement’s 1999 EP Major Leagues, and joined the band on multiple dates of their 2010 reunion tour. In a tribute shared to his Twitter, Stephen Malkmus recalled Young’s drumming for the band as “one take and hit record.”

Post Pavement, Young also released a series of albums under the name Gary Young’s Hospital, and also shared the Malfunction EP in 2016. In 2023, a documentary chronicling Young’s life and career, Louder Than You Think, premiered at SXSW.