It’s rare enough for a rock group to contain enough talent to sustain one brilliant career –small in number as they were, the Pixies (population: 4) managed in its time to give rise to two. In the mid-1980s, the band came together under modest circumstances to become the most challenging and influential cult band of their time.
It was a turbulent ride to the top of independent music, but certainly not an unproductive one. Kim Deal had more creative energy than the Pixies could harness, and her group The Breeders provided an outlet that transcended the status of side-project to become a commercially successful (and wonderfully strange) band in their own right.
As the Pixies get ready to unleash Doggerel, the third album of their post-reformation second phase, our latest Ultimate Music Guide celebrates the explosive talents and artistic triumphs of both bands in 124 pages of in-depth reviews and revelatory archive interviews. No lesser entity than Black Francis himself has stepped up to introduce the magazine, in which he graciously accounts for the band’s birth and subsequent turbulent history.
“It was very much post-punk alternative rock,” the man today known as Charles Thompson says. “We were really starting from scratch in terms of a sound – it was basically whatever songs I came up with, whatever guitar lines he came up with, that was the sound, that was all we had. Kim Deal came over to my apartment – I had a plain canvas army cot that was my couch, one of these stretchers that you see in a gymnasium during a flood – and she sat on it, she was the only person that answered the ad looking for a bass player. I played her all my songs and she said ‘I like them and I’m interested and I don’t have a bass but I’ll borrow one from my sister’. And we were a band.”
Acclaim brought with it an intense touring schedule which placed additional pressure on the faultlines which were already present in the band. When the band split in 1993, Kim focused fully on The Breeders – piloting them on a course which has led to the huge successes of “Cannonball” and The Last Splash, and on a creative path which continues to be rewarding to the present day.
Still, the lure of the original band couldn’t be denied and in 2004, the original Pixies reunited for 10 years of thrilling live performance. New Pixies music would be made, but without Kim. “After we recorded a few songs Kim definitely didn’t want to do more than that so, to her credit, she just gracefully bowed out. She met us at the coffee shop and said ‘I’m finished, I don’t want to do this anymore’.
In an exclusive interview for the issue, the Pixies tell us about their second phase, and the wild inspirations of their latest album, Doggerel.
“Making new Pixies records has been just as rewarding,” writes Charles “…I don’t think our music pales in comparison to what we did before.”
Buy a copy of the magazine here. Missed one in the series? Bundles are available at the same location…