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The former member of Pavement explains how he ended up supporting Steve Bruce's side and why Arsenal would be his alternative team, via Philipp Lahm and the Oakland Stompers

Goal caught up with Stephen Malkmus, former member of Pavement, to discuss his upcoming album and UK tour, how he started following Hull City, why he would rather see Germany win the World Cup than USA, the 'ultimate survivor' Philipp Lahm and Arsenal's range of baby dummies.

You were born in California; how did you end up supporting Hull City?

SM: It's mainly from my crew in Pavement and people who work with me and for me from Pavement and the Jicks. They are kind of an obscure team. Not a lot of people are talking about Hull.

And you weren't tempted by the Hollywood teams like Manchester United or Arsenal?

SM: No. I don't like those teams. If I had to pick a bluechip team, it would be Arsenal. I just like Arsene Wenger, I like his disposition and his vibe.

My kid has got an Arsenal pacifier - somebody gave me it, a fan, and they said the only thing their kid liked was this specific shape. I think it was more the shape of the pacifier rather than the Gunners' logo but I gave that to my kid and she liked it too.

Were the Hull City dummies sold out?

SM: Yeah, they should [make one]. Which team do you support?

I don't support anyone. I'm from the south of England and there were not that many decent teams around me when I was young.

SM: I've been to a lot of Queens Park Rangers games. That's probably the team I've seen the most in England. My friends have tickets plus I used to stay in that neck of the woods when I stayed in England.

HULL CITY LATEST
14/1 Hull are 14/1 with Bet365 to beat Liverpool 1-0
Ever gone to watch Hull play?

SM: Not yet. I want to. It's a bit out of the way.

(There's a pause and SM sounds like he's scrambling to find some notes)

SM: I was asking my friend what was the most ghastly Hull City performance was in his lifetime, in preparation for this interview. He said it was Tuesday, March 17, 1981, when they lost 1-0 at home to Colchester. It was a dismal Hull City performance.

That was probably the bottom for Hull, you know. The [Margaret] Thatcher years were starting and Hull was grey back then.

Have you been keeping track of Hull this season?

SM: Not really. I know they are in the top division and they are in the middle but I haven't kept track these past few weeks. How are they doing?

Well, they are not in the relegation places - four points above relegation, in fact…

SM: That's good, that's where they were last time I checked.

They've only won one of their last six games and they lost on Saturday to Crystal Palace.

SM: I actually saw that. That's too bad but who's next?

You're playing Liverpool on Sunday.

SM: At home?

Yes.

SM: Well, I think it's great that many of these world-class players have to come to Hull and fight in a battle. It's pretty cool and it's great for the city.

And they've kept some of the players who got them promoted, rather than overhauling the squad completely.

SM: That doesn't work ever. You have to have a youth system and things, a bit like Borussia Dortmund.

So you follow European football as well?

SM: I was living in Berlin so I followed the Bundesliga. I wasn't able to go to games but the Germans are good.

Imagine this. It's a Champions League final, Chelsea are in it and you are at a Chelsea fan's house for a party. And they lose. What do you think the atmosphere would have been like? Do you think the party would go on? There would be bad vibes.

It would be like: 'Err, maybe it's time to go. Come on, honey. Pick up your stuff.'

But Germans, [after Bayern Munich's defeat to Chelsea in 2012] they were like: 'Ah, this happens, you know, it's just bad luck.' I thought it was kind of cool that they could handle defeat in a good way.

Maybe they knew they'd win it the following year?

SM: Exactly. They pulled it right back.

Do you following the USA national team?

SM: Not really. You're talking to the everyman, not a real fan. I don't even like our team. I'd rather have Germany win the World Cup than America.

Did you like football growing up?

SM: I played. We had the NASL with Pele. We had a team, an obscure team called the Oakland Stompers. The Stompers had a vine of grapes on their club badge - they stomp grapes and they stomp you, I suppose, when they win. I thought that was kind of ridiculous. They didn't last very long.

Speaking of names, do you know Hull City are changing theirs to Hull Tigers?

SM: It doesn't get me up in arms. I don' lose sleep on it. If your dad wasn't a Hull City fan, if you're not part of the organisation, then, you know, I don't see the change being that big.

I'm not one of those guys but I respect those people [who are] and that team and the people who support it as a way of life, that does matter to them. It matters to them a lot. You have to respect those people. That is your target audience, your audience who will keep that commodity if you're the owner. They'll keep it viable forever.

Those people are not normal consumers. It's like the perfect thing that a commodity wants where they get your loyalty at a young age and you're never going to leave that product.

Like old people who watch TV - they are not going to buy a new razor because they see an advertisement, they are going to buy the same razor they have been buying since they were 19.

Beyond that, soccer is a unique commodity. It's not logical. That guy can say: 'Oh yeah, I just changed the name, it's going to be all right.' But it's not like that.

They are actually offering refunds to season ticket holders if they are unhappy with the name change…

SM: Oh really? Wow. So he's still going to change it? I think it is sort of ridiculous that these people change the names and the colours. It's kind of crass but it gets the big money and the crassness sort of comes with it.

Your new album is coming out in January - Wig Out At Jagbags - where did you get that name from?

SM: It's slang and supposed to sound kind of f****d up. It's just like you're going crazy with a bunch of weirdos, you know - 'Wig Out At Jagbags' - where the freaks are running the show and stuff.

And you're touring in the UK in January; when was the last time you were over here?

SM: Not that long ago. It was a summer festival. This is a football website and stuff?

Yeah…

SM: If you're expecting to hear chant songs ... I know there's a new football man in England. You guys are welcome. Nerds. Soccer nerds. Fantasy soccer-type people. If you're into fantasy soccer you're going to like us.

Maybe that's you. You said you don't like a team, maybe you might just like individuals.

That sounds like me...

SM: That's how I am, too, in American sports. Because of the way the teams are, the players' loyalty is to the dollar. It's more about the individual athlete and the great way they play.

I support Hull City as a supporter with my mates but really I like individuals.

Who are your favourite individuals?

SM: I like [Mesut] Ozil.

I think some people you don't like because they are good. Philipp Lahm. He's like the ultimate survivor dude, the little guy who you say 'how does he manage to keep playing?' but it's because he's solid in a weird way.

Stephen Malkmaus & The Jicks release new album 'Wig Out At Jagbags' on 6 January 2014 on Domino http://stephenmalkmus.com/

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