Early Pixies Tracks Surface

Legendary "Purple Tape" castoffs to be released in July

May 17, 2002 12:00 AM ET

An album of Pixies demos, titled Pixies, will be released on SpinArt Records on July 9th. Recorded at Boston's Fort Apache Studios in March of 1987, the demos are one half of what Pixies fans know as the "Purple Tape," with the other half becoming the group's debut album, Come On Pilgrim.

Among the tracks are early versions of "Here Comes Your Man," "Subbacultcha" and "Broken Face" -- songs that would became staples of later Pixies records.

"We knew it might just be a demo if no one was interested in it," former Pixies frontman Frank Black says. "It was all still fun. It wasn't like I had my mortgage riding on the line at age twenty or whatever. I was still running away from my phone bills and school bills. Money was the least of my concerns. It was pure art."

Black vividly remembers the sights and the smells of the sessions, as Fort Apache was located in a warehouse above a fish market. "There was some question as to whether [the market's owners] were really in the fish business. There were rumors of cocaine shipments inside of fish, that kind of thing. We brought sleeping bags because we had to do it in three days. It was on the second floor of a warehouse with a bunch of recording equipment. I sang out in some big, giant lonely hallway with freight elevators all around me."

Continuing his prolific post-Pixies career, Black plans to release a pair of albums on August 20th. He says Devil's Workshop is the shorter more straightforward of the two albums, while the eighteen-track Black Letter Days is a more complicated listen. "There's a song on there that evokes a certain kind of more difficult raunchy blues," he says. "It's got a couple songs that are super mellow country rock like Freddy Fender. And there's a couple acoustic numbers that are just vocals and guitars and not much else. We have a few Led Zeppelin campfire moments -- you know, where it's Robert and Jimmy hanging out by the big bonfire that's being burned in the courtyard of their castle, playing some old folk song."

Pixies track listing:

Broken Face
Build High
Rock a My Soul
Down to the Well
Break My Body
I'm Amazed
Here Comes Your Man
In Heaven

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories


The Pack | 2006

Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

More Song Stories entries »