When Rock Daily spoke with Breeders leader and Pixies bassist Kim Deal recently about the Breeders’ April 8th album Mountain Battles, Deal didn’t shy away from talk of a new Pixies record: She says there won’t be one (with her on bass, at least). “Helll no,” she says. “Because I don’t want to.”
Her reasoning? She’s a music fan who doesn’t want to hear new albums from bands she enjoyed years ago. “I heard the last Rolling Stones record was good,” she explains. “The thing is, I don’t even care if it’s the best thing they’ve ever done, I just wouldn’t listen to it. And it’s not anything that they’re doing wrong. As a listener, I don’t want to hear about it. I like the Stones at this period of time that I like them, and that’s why I like them. Maybe I’m an elitist, but I don’t feel like I am.” Deal adds that on some level, she thinks Pixies leader Charles Thompson (a.k.a. Frank Black) doesn’t really want to make a new studio album either. “I was kind of waiting for Charles and [guitarist Joey Santiago] to get together and do demos and they never did.”
Her reluctance to record with her first band doesn’t mean she didn’t get a kick out of their 2004 reunion tour — or that she wouldn’t do it again. “I enjoy doing the tours,” she says, musing on the number of groups who attempted similar reconciliations in the wake of Pixies’ extremely successful trek. “It worked for us because we didn’t have to fit into the black leather pants and do the high kicks. Because we never had black leather pants and we never did high kicks. We were overweight and ugly then, and we’re overweight and ugly now, so it really wasn’t a stretch. Nobody looked at us and thought, ‘Oh, their youthy dew has gone.’ Other than their hair, that’s about it.”
But Deal did undergo a significant change before Pixies’ reunion: she stopped drinking. In fact, work on Mountain Battles began even before she entered rehab in 2002. When she emerged, she was nervous about writing clean. “That was a really scary thing, because I thought everybody who gets sober begins to suck,” she says. Rehab, however, was a necessity because she’d been doing drugs since age thirteen. “Somebody said this and I recognized myself: I wasn’t a musician with some drugs in the room, I was a drug addict with some musical gear in the room.” After a tumultuous stint at 2002’s All Tomorrow’s Parties festival (“I thought I was going to fucking die there. I had really bad shakes, and I was drinking so much”), Deal scheduled herself a trip to rehab over Christmas.
She was subsequently totally sober and healthy on the 2004 Pixies tour, and made the decision to rejoin the band with a clear head. “Me and Joe agreed, okay, what we’ll do is we’ll just get into a practice space and try it,” she says. “And if it sounds stupid or it feels stupid, we won’t do it. Charles was touring a record, so me and Joe and [drummer] David [Lovering] got into a rehearsal space out in L.A. I drove out there in my Volvo, we used the Breeders’ rehearsal space, and it was the three of us, and it sounded exactly the same as it did. Exactly. For better or worse. Me and Joe were like, is this good in that we’re so good we can sound like ourselves, or is this bad in that we haven’t grown one inch musically?”
• Breeders’ Long-Awaited ‘Mountain Battles’ Due April ’08