Fans of the Breeders waited six years between the band’s 2002 album Title TK and last year’s Mountain Battles, but Kim and Kelley Deal are back already, returning with four fresh tracks next month. On April 21st the group will release a limited-edition EP called Fate to Fatal, which features a Bob Marley cover and a tune sung by former Screaming Trees frontman and Queens of the Stone Age collaborator Mark Lanegan.
“I’m always writing and stuff,” Kim Deal says, explaining that the band recorded the title track in London during a Mountain Battles tour stop, and she laid down “The Last Time” in her basement in Ohio. “Chances Are,” the Marley cover, was recorded live at Steve Albini’s Chicago studio, and the last track, “Pinnacle Hollow” is one of her four-track creations. Bob Weston (of Shellac and Mission of Burma) is mastering, and the band has some special plans for its artwork — they’re hand screening the EPs themselves, based on a design by Chris Glass, an Ohio graphic artist who produced a new logo that will grace everything associated with President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. “Of course we told him that it could be the swastika of his generation of things go horribly wrong,” Deal says.
Kim Deal stresses that fans shouldn’t interpret the Bob Marley cover as a sign the band’s new merch will be tie-dye. “This was in the ’60s, when all the guys in Jamaica wanted to get laid they would do doo-wop,” she says. “It’s not reggae, I’m not doing a reggae song.” As for the Lanegan cameo on “The Last Time,” Deal says it came together after a conversation in her basement with the guy she brought in to run her Pro Tools setup. “He was telling me that the Lanegan solo record Bubblegum was really good. And I said, that’s a weird name for a Lanegan record. That conversation resonated in my brain, because I thought it’d be great to have a male vocal on this.”
If the name of the title track sounds a little heavy, Kim admits it is. “The line is ‘What men pray for, what men cradle/I’ve gone from fate to fatal.’ Whatever people believe with their religions, a lot of times I think people are crazy!” she says. “It’s loud and obnoxious which is nice.” The band has already shot the track’s video in St. Louis with an all-girl roller derby team. Kelley explains that after meeting up with a bunch of roller girls at a Cincinnati Obama benefit, and another batch at a Minnesota craft fair, all signs pointed to skates. “I was like, I can take a hint, we’re going to do this,” Kelley says. They wound up shooting the clip with a team called the Arch Rivals, which features a girl they’ve kept in touch with since their parents found her wandering around alone at Lollapalooza in 1994.
The band will be in action May 15-17th at the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in England, which they’re curating. ATP has special meaning for Kim, since she says an awful experience at the fest’s 2002 event is what ultimately sent her to rehab. “I thought I was going to die,” she says. “Kelley started the room on fire. She said there were some bad decisions with candles and curtains.” This year, the band is happy to welcome X, Teenage Fanclub, Deerhunter and Gang of Four to their lineup. “Kelley really wanted Emmylou Harris and Ralph Stanley,” Kim says, noting her dream was to book Dolly Parton. Deal’s other band, the Pixies, will also be playing in England this June at the Isle of Wight festival on June 14th.
Deal also took the opportunity to do a little record straightening. After complaining that a Rolling Stone story from several years ago reported the Breeders had been dropped from Elektra, she explained why this wasn’t so: “I’ve only been on 4AD. We couldn’t be dropped, we were only licensed to Elektra and Title TK was the last album we owed to 4AD anyway.” That’s not the only erroneous information out there, either. “Wikipedia says I have a son. And it says Kelley was in catering,” she adds. “Unfortunately, those stories aren’t sexy enough to have legs.” The band did, however, find their current touring guitarist Cheryl Lyndsey on Craigslist. “Swear to God,” Kim says. “She’s wonderful, she’ll be there with us at ATP.”