Great Quotations: Stephen Malkmus

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

malmkus

The most important thing about a song that I write is if I can sing it in a good way—if I can pull off sounding like the band I think I’m in. Lyrics are more placeholders at this point. You hear a Red Hot Chili Peppers song, where Anthony Kiedis is singing, “What I know is I don’t know/ I’m just looking for a place to go,” and it sounds like placeholder lyrics; you see those lyrics on the karaoke screen and you think that the band maybe thought he would change them at some point, but he just kept them. They’re probably like, “Hold on a minute, I worked really hard on this bass part.” But that Red Hot Chili Peppers song works and it’s a good song because when you’re hearing it in your car, you’re like, [sings] “I don’t know a place to go, ba de ba ba ba ba ba be ba ba.”

Stephen Malkmus

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