Stephen Malkmus began his career as the lead singer and songwriter of the indie rock band Pavement, which formed in the 80s and released its first album, Slanted & Enchanted, in 1991. The band later recorded the albums Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, Wowee Zowee, Brighten the Corners, and Terror Twilight.
After Pavement broke up, Malkmus went on to pursue a solo career, releasing his first, self-titled solo album in 2001 and performing with his backing band, the Jicks. In 2003, he released another solo album, Pig Lib, and his most recent album, Face the Truth, appeared in May 2005. He also performs, with David Berman, in the Silver Jews.
James Surowiecki has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2000 and currently writes the Financial Page for the magazine. His recent subjects include the effects of the DVD on the movie business, the economics of concert tours, and tipping in restaurants. He is the author of The Wisdom of Crowds.