When the DVD chronicling iconic indie rock act Slint's recent reunion tour hits stores at the end of the year, it will feature a piece of footage not even band members knew existed: a 1987 performance
When the DVD chronicling iconic indie rock act Slint's recent reunion tour hits stores at the end of the year, it will feature a piece of footage not even band members knew existed: a 1987 performance by the group at guitarist David Pajo's Louisville high school during a "battle of the bands" contest.
"We told everyone there was only a little footage of us practicing, and that was only excerpts -- not even a complete song," Pajo tells Billboard.com of Slint's scarce visual archive. "That's the only stuff I know about. But [director] Lance [Bangs] somehow dug this up. It was amazing because the reunion was exactly like the way it was in '87. There's tons of tuning in-between songs, except we didn't have tuners then. So we're tuning by ear and it's really loud, but it's even longer between each song. The stage dynamic is exactly the same."
The DVD booklet is also expected to feature a high-school newspaper review of the concert by a then 14-year-old Drew Daniel, better known now as half of experimental electronica duo Matmos. "He talks about how it took us an hour and a half to set up our equipment," Pajo chuckles. "People started yelling at us."
The as-yet-untitled DVD, which will be released by Touch & Go, will comprise highlights from two reunion shows in San Francisco. "The goal was to have one complete show from start to finish, but each night there are some mistakes in certain songs," Pajo says. "One night is better than the other, but I can't justify these songs I really like being in sloppy versions that will be documented and everybody remembers."
Pajo says he's very pleased with the brief reunion, which found the group playing highlights from its two albums: 1989's "Tweez" and 1991's "Spiderland." But after vocalist Brian McMahan and drummer Britt Walford finally agreed to regroup with him after a series of in-depth meetings, the guitarist admits playing with his old friends after so long was "pretty weird."
"Once we finally flipped on the amps and started playing, we had maybe three or four songs we wanted to start with," he recalls. "We hadn't sat down to listen to them to learn them; we were just going by memory. So it was really funny and sloppy, but I was surprised by how much we all remembered. We still had that connection, and I guess that's just what happens among people who grow up together."
Pajo admits the door is not closed on the possibility of new Slint music at some point. "We talked about maybe doing a soundtrack, where we don't have to play live," he says. "It would give us the chance to write again. It didn't seem like anyone was opposed to it, but it would be such an undertaking."
"It's a great band," he continues. "But every tiny decision is up for long debates. So it would take such a large amount of time. I just don't know if it will happen. I mean, it could. I'm not saying it won't, but in a way, I think we're happy just to deal with the stuff we already have on our plate and not deal with composing new stuff."
As previously reported, the artist's new album, "Pajo," is due July 12 via Drag City. He is also playing in a new band tentatively named Dead Child with Slint touring musicians Todd Cook and Michael McMahan.