Spiral Stairs talks Pavement, Memphis, & how kids are funner

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This Saturday, Growlers will host a bona fide indie-rock icon when Spiral Stairs – aka Scott Kannberg, singer/guitarist in Pavement and Preston School of Industry – rolls through town in support of his latest record, Doris and the Daggers. The show will also be a homecoming of sorts for two Memphis musicians – Snowglobe members Tim Regan and Luke White, who have been playing in Spiral Stairs’ band on this tour. Spiral Stairs spoke to the Flyer from the road this week about his new album, Pavement reunions, working with Regan and White, and more.

The Memphis Flyer: It’s been eight years since your last album, The Real Feel. What have you been up to?
Spiral Stairs: I met a girl from Australia. Got married, moved to Oz. Had a kid. Tended a veggie patch, mowed my lawn. Life stuff. Moved to LA, drove around a lot. Made up some great songs. Oh, and Pavement reunited!

What inspired you to finally get back in the studio?
I was ready again. It takes me awhile. I meant to do it earlier but the kid was funner. And I wanted to be prepared.

There seem to be a lot of new wave elements - rhythms, synths, chunky guitars - on this record.  Where does that influence come from?

I grew up on new wave. Devo was the first band I saw live in 1980. Also I did a bit of production with Kelley Stoltz, who is so new wave it hurts. He did most of those sounds.

What made you decide to start using the name Spiral Stairs?
I did The Real Feel under the Spiral name in 2009. It felt like the time for a change. New players and a new vibe. Older and wiser.

How did you get hooked up with Tim and Luke? What do you like about playing with those guys?
Lovely gentlemen, and sick musos. Tim runs Nine Mile, which put out the record, and tries to manage me at times - which he does an amazing job considering all the stuff he does. I don't see how he has the time to sleep. Luke came highly recommended and has some licks. Now I want him to start doing more kicks!

Looking back on the Pavement reunions, how do you think they went?  Is it something you would want to do again?

Yes. Of course! It was so fun and amazing to see how our band made people happy! Hopefully in a couple years!

How much of your back catalog are you playing on this tour?  Should folks expect to hear Preston School of Industry and Pavement songs?

We try to do it all! Lots of Pavement for sure! Those songs are really fun to play!

What do you remember about recording Wowee Zowee (1995 Pavement album) at Easley-McCain?  Did y'all have a good time in Memphis?
Soul Food! Easley’s was great, such a good vibe. And Doug and Davis were the best! I can't wait to go back to Payne’s. I wish the Grifters and Guided By Voices would play again!


Spiral Stairs will appear at Growlers on Saturday, July 1 at 9 p.m. with special guests BOINK and Carson McHone. Admission is $10.


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