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Berman was born in 1967 in Williamsburg, Virginia. Berman began writing and performing songs (often left on friends' voice message machines) with his loose band, Ectoslavia, primarily composed of Stephen Malkmus and Bob Nastanovich.
Later when they moved to New York they shared an apartment and adopted the moniker 'Silver Jews,' in part after the '60s group Silver Apples and slang for blonde-haired Jewish people.
Malkmus had also founded another band, Pavement, with his childhood friend Scott Kannberg. Berman tried to protect the Jews' individuality by listing Malkmus and Nastanovich under aliases.
Dan Koretsky, founder of the Chicago-based indie label Drag City, met Berman at a Pavement show. When he heard of the Jews' tapes, Koretsky offered to release them.
In 1999, Berman's first collection of poetry, the critically-acclaimed Actual Air, was published by Open City Press.
Though he is a reluctant live performer as a musician, Berman occasionally does readings of his short stories and poems in both the U.S. and the U.K.
Berman currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife Cassie.