Monday, July 1, 2013

Pixies pick up a new Kim for tour

Following the release of its “Bagboy” single last week, the Pixies announced this morning that founding members Black Francis, David Lovering, and Joey Santiago will embark on a European tour with a new Kim. The Muffs founder Kim Shattuck (pictured) will serve as the group’s bassist since Kim Deal has opted out of another reunion. Deal is now focusing on the Breeders, who headline the Hopscotch Festival in Raleigh in September.

I’ve always been a fan of Deal, especially the vocal interplay between her soft coo and Black Francis’ dynamic vocal style. When I was a teenager I was friends with Deal’s cousin. His association with her made the group at once mystical and attainable to our group. I imagined her rolling up to his house on the hill on Thanksgiving morning and hanging out with us. That never happened, although some friends enjoyed an awkward backstage exchange with her almost 20 years later when the Breeders played nearby Pittsburgh.

I’m glad Deal was a part of the 2004 reunion that beckoned my husband and I to make our first cross country trip to the Coachella Festival and I’m glad we got to see her at Ovens Auditorium for the incredible “Doolittle” anniversary show. But I’m also happy to see the band continue as she celebrates the 20th anniversary of “Last Splash” with her other band.

If the Pixies - a band who I think deserve a Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame induction next year - still have good music in them, then fans deserve to hear it. “Bagboy” is one of those quirky Pixies’ songs, but it also puts a modern spin on the band's old sound production-wise. You can hear it here

When I interviewed Lovering before the Pixies’ Doolittle show he seemed excited about the prospect of continuing on, but said that the group would only do it if they could deliver the goods. “Bagboy” features the same Deal/Francis-like vocal interplay that fans expect, although Deal does not appear on the track. Francis reports it's actually Jeremy Dubs of the band Bunnies on backing vocals.
Francis also reports that the upcoming global tour will not only premier new Pixies’ material, but songs that the group rarely or never play in concert. That’s the part I’m most excited about. To me the Pixies weren’t a singles band. They were an album band whose records gelled from start to finish. So hearing songs like “Tony’s Theme,” “Brick is Red,” or “The Sad Punk” (which Francis name checks in the press release) seems like a big bonus. Can I add “Subbacultcha” (which it played in Raleigh in 2005), “Letter to Memphis” or anything from “Bossanova” and “Trompe Le Monde” to the ample list of requests? 

Francis reports that the group has rehearsed 80 songs with Shattuck - who seems like a good choice from what I remember. I saw the Muffs in Columbia in the late `90s and was impressed with her as a front-person.  It’ll be interesting to see what she brings to the latest version of the Pixies.

US dates have not been announced, but the Pixies have been good to the Carolinas of late with shows in Charlotte, Greensboro, and Raleigh since 2005 not to mention Black Francis’ recent solo performance at Visulite in May. Let’s hope we make it on the itinerary this time.