Pixies

This article is about the band named Pixies. For pixies of folklore, see pixie.

The Pixies are a band which toured and recorded in the late 1980s and early 1990s, then reunited in 2004 and began touring again. The band's lineup consists of Black Francis a.k.a. Frank Black (vocals, guitar), Joey Santiago (lead guitar), Kim Deal (bass, vocals), and David Lovering (drums). Their style of music influenced many aspects of alternative rock throughout the 1990s. Most notable was their use of soft verses and hard choruses, which was later popularized by Nirvana.

History

The band was formed in 1986 in Boston, Massachusetts by Joey Santiago and Black Francis (born Charles Thompson IV). Bassist Kim Deal joined the band after she responded to a classified ad Black Francis had placed which requested an unusual combination of musical influences. Reportedly, the ad asked for a bass player who liked The Mamas and the Papas and Husker Du.

They arrived at a name ("Pixies") by selecting an entry from the dictionary at random, and began playing shows in the Boston area.

During a concert with Throwing Muses, the band was noticed by Gary Smith, a producer at Fort Apache Studios. Smith became the band's manager and produced a 17 track demo (known as the "Purple Tape", publicly released in 2002). The demo fell into the hands of Ivo Watts-Russell, owner of 4AD, who signed the band. Eight tracks from the demo were selected for the Come on Pilgrim EP, the band's first release. It was followed by their first full-length album, Surfer Rosa in early 1988.

4AD was a British music label, and the notoriously rabid British music press immediately clutched the Pixies to their collective bosoms and refused to let go. The band remained unsigned in the US for a while, but after a foray up the UK pop charts and some inroads into American college rock stations, they were picked up by Elektra Records. For the remainder of their career, the Pixies remained large-scale stars in Britain and cult figures in the US.

Their sophomore album, Doolittle, featured three prominent singles: "Debaser," "Here Comes Your Man," and "Monkey Gone to Heaven." It was a top 10 hit in the UK and reached the top 100 in North America.

After Doolittle, Black Francis temporarily went solo, while Kim Deal formed The Breeders with Tanya Donelly of Throwing Muses and Deal's sister, Kelley. During this time, Black Francis limited Deal's contributions to the band; the first two albums had been partly written by Deal, but when Bossanova was released in 1990, all songs were by him. Deal was not pleased, and unilaterally announced an apparent break-up of the band on-stage during the following tour. The Pixies were at the height of their popularity, however, and while headlining at the Reading Festival in 1991, they played a highly enthusiastic version of "Debaser" which has become legendary among fans.

Break-up announcements notwithstanding, one more album was to follow. Trompe le Monde still featured little input from Deal and wasn't as critically regarded as their first few albums. Without telling anyone, Black Francis ended the band, and it wasn't until a year later that he faxed an official notice to the other members.

After the break-up

Black Francis renamed himself Frank Black, and released several solo albums. He then went on to form a band with Scott Boutier, Eric Drew, Rich Gilbert, David McGaffrey, and Dave Phillips called Frank Black and the Catholics. Deal returned to the Breeders, and scored a hit with "Cannonball" from that group's Last Splash in 1993. However, for several years they struggled to produce another album, mainly due to Kelley Deal's struggles with heroin. The album, Title TK, finally appeared in 2002, with only Kim and Kelley remaining from the previous Breeders lineup. Kim Deal has also recorded with The Amps. Lovering dropped back into obscurity, making occasional appearances as a "scientific phenomenalist", performing experiments on stage; he also drummed on one of Tanya Donelly's solo albums. Santiago has appeared on Frank Black's solo albums, writes music for FOX television, and has a band called The Martinis with his wife, Linda Mallari.

Musically, the Pixies were just slightly ahead of their time. Right at the moment they were imploding, Nirvana was recording Nevermind, the album that would break alternative rock into the mainstream. There are substantial parallels between the two groups' sounds and Kurt Cobain was known to have been a fan—in fact, in a Rolling Stone interview he claimed "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was his attempt to write a Pixies song. This revitalized some interest in the band after they were gone.

Reunion

In the 11 years since the band broke up, there were a number of rumors that would circulate regarding reunion tours. Roughly once a year on April Fool's Day someone would be led to believe that the band had re-united. It wasn't until 2004 when the Pixies would play their first "post-breakup" concert on April 13 at The Fine Line Music Cafe in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota and a 15 concert warmup tour of the western United States and Canada, culminating in the performance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Tickets for shows on this tour often sold out minutes after going on sale despite some rather moderately sized Canadian cities such as Winnipeg and Regina being stops. It is rumoured that these dates hold the world record for fastest selling shows ever.

This was followed by a three-month world tour and four-month return to the US, ending on December 18 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City (see tour dates (http://www.pixiesmusic.com/live_04.php) for detailed information).

In spring 2004, 4AD released Wave of Mutilation: The Best of the Pixies and a companion DVD which features a full concert, the music videos, and a documentary on the Pixies. A "new retrospective compilation CD" is set for release in the near future. Many of the reunion shows, including that April 13 show in Minneapolis, were sold by DiscLive (http://pixies.disclive.com/) in sets of 1,000. The entire edition size has now sold out.

Discography

Studio Albums

Compilations

Samples

  • Download sample of "Holiday Song" from Come on Pilgrim

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The entire edition size has now sold out. On March 10, 2003, The Police were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Many of the reunion shows, including that April 13 show in Minneapolis, were sold by DiscLive (http://pixies.disclive.com/) in sets of 1,000. A short-lived attempt to reunite in 1986 produced a re-recording of their song "Don't Stand So Close to Me". A "new retrospective compilation CD" is set for release in the near future. Although there was never an official break-up, each band member gradually began his own solo career. In spring 2004, 4AD released Wave of Mutilation: The Best of the Pixies and a companion DVD which features a full concert, the music videos, and a documentary on the Pixies. Notable songs from that album include "Every Breath You Take" (an example of a paranoia song) and "Wrapped Around Your Finger".

This was followed by a three-month world tour and four-month return to the US, ending on December 18 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City (see tour dates (http://www.pixiesmusic.com/live_04.php) for detailed information). They released their last album, Synchronicity, in 1983; it is widely regarded as a classic. It is rumoured that these dates hold the world record for fastest selling shows ever. Their fourth album, Ghost In The Machine, released in 1981, featured a thicker sound and vocal textures and spawned the hit singles, "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" and "Spirits In The Material World.". Tickets for shows on this tour often sold out minutes after going on sale despite some rather moderately sized Canadian cities such as Winnipeg and Regina being stops. It was the last album the group cooperated with together, or as Sting would later put it, the last album they worked on 'as a band.'. It wasn't until 2004 when the Pixies would play their first "post-breakup" concert on April 13 at The Fine Line Music Cafe in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota and a 15 concert warmup tour of the western United States and Canada, culminating in the performance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Mondatta also gave the Police worldwide fame.

Roughly once a year on April Fool's Day someone would be led to believe that the band had re-united. number one with "Don't Stand So Close to Me" and "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da", which charted successfully in the U.S. In the 11 years since the band broke up, there were a number of rumors that would circulate regarding reunion tours. The album gave the group a U.K. This revitalized some interest in the band after they were gone. Pressured by their record company for the recording of a new record and a prompt return to tour by the falls end, the Police quickly released their third album, Zenyatta Mondatta in the fall of 1980. There are substantial parallels between the two groups' sounds and Kurt Cobain was known to have been a fan—in fact, in a Rolling Stone interview he claimed "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was his attempt to write a Pixies song. The much generated hype of their new music and tour caused an outbreak of popularity among new wave devotees across the rest of the world.

Right at the moment they were imploding, Nirvana was recording Nevermind, the album that would break alternative rock into the mainstream. The Police toured the world long before they were a world class act. Musically, the Pixies were just slightly ahead of their time. In March of 1980, the Police decided to embark on their first World Tour, which included shows in places like Bombay, India and Egypt. Santiago has appeared on Frank Black's solo albums, writes music for FOX television, and has a band called The Martinis with his wife, Linda Mallari. Their success led to a gig at the infamous New York club CBGB. Shortly there after in October 1979, the group released their second album Regatta de Blanc, which spawned the hit "Walking on the Moon". Lovering dropped back into obscurity, making occasional appearances as a "scientific phenomenalist", performing experiments on stage; he also drummed on one of Tanya Donelly's solo albums. The single was re-released in 1979, and it was then that the Police achieved widespread fame in England.

Kim Deal has also recorded with The Amps. Stewart Copeland's older brother, Miles, heard 'Roxanne' for the first time and immediately got them a record deal with A&M Records. The album, Title TK, finally appeared in 2002, with only Kim and Kelley remaining from the previous Breeders lineup. For the Police, their first album, Outlandos d'Amour was a hardship, working on a small budget, with no manager, record deal, or any kind of contacts. However, for several years they struggled to produce another album, mainly due to Kelley Deal's struggles with heroin. Padovani accepted this, and quit the band. Deal returned to the Breeders, and scored a hit with "Cannonball" from that group's Last Splash in 1993. When the band recruited Andy Summers, he told Padovani that he wanted to experiment with 'new sounds'.

He then went on to form a band with Scott Boutier, Eric Drew, Rich Gilbert, David McGaffrey, and Dave Phillips called Frank Black and the Catholics. But "Tea in the Sahara" on the latter album showed interest in Paul Bowles as well. Black Francis renamed himself Frank Black, and released several solo albums. Jung. Without telling anyone, Black Francis ended the band, and it wasn't until a year later that he faxed an official notice to the other members. Material in the later album Ghost in the Machine was inspired by the writings of Arthur Koestler, and material in Synchronicity was prominently inspired by the writings of C.G. Trompe le Monde still featured little input from Deal and wasn't as critically regarded as their first few albums. Sting proved to be a capable songwriter; he had previously spent time as a high school English teacher, and his lyrics are noted for their literary awareness and verbal agility.

Break-up announcements notwithstanding, one more album was to follow. Shortly after quitting, he caught notice of Sting, then bass player and singer with a jazz fusion group called Last Exit. The Pixies were at the height of their popularity, however, and while headlining at the Reading Festival in 1991, they played a highly enthusiastic version of "Debaser" which has become legendary among fans. Copeland had previously played drums in a progressive rock band called Curved Air. Deal was not pleased, and unilaterally announced an apparent break-up of the band on-stage during the following tour. (See also the origins of the band Strontium 90 for a different view of their origins.). During this time, Black Francis limited Deal's contributions to the band; the first two albums had been partly written by Deal, but when Bossanova was released in 1990, all songs were by him. This line-up issued the band's first single ("Fall Out") in May 1977. Andy Summers (guitarist) was then asked to join, thus forming The Police.

After Doolittle, Black Francis temporarily went solo, while Kim Deal formed The Breeders with Tanya Donelly of Throwing Muses and Deal's sister, Kelley. The group was formed in 1977 by Stewart Copeland (drummer) who initially recruited Sting (bassist and lead singer) and Henri Padovani (guitarist). Their sophomore album, Doolittle, featured three prominent singles: "Debaser," "Here Comes Your Man," and "Monkey Gone to Heaven." It was a top 10 hit in the UK and reached the top 100 in North America. The Police was a three-piece British pop band which was strongly influenced by reggae, and came to prominence in the wake of the punk rock phenomenon. For the remainder of their career, the Pixies remained large-scale stars in Britain and cult figures in the US. Sting & The Police (1997, 2002). The band remained unsigned in the US for a while, but after a foray up the UK pop charts and some inroads into American college rock stations, they were picked up by Elektra Records. The Very Best Of..

4AD was a British music label, and the notoriously rabid British music press immediately clutched the Pixies to their collective bosoms and refused to let go. Every Breath You Take: The Classics (Revamp) (1995). It was followed by their first full-length album, Surfer Rosa in early 1988. Live! (1996). Eight tracks from the demo were selected for the Come on Pilgrim EP, the band's first release. Message in a Box: The Complete Recordings (1993). The demo fell into the hands of Ivo Watts-Russell, owner of 4AD, who signed the band. Every Breath You Take: The Singles (1986).

Smith became the band's manager and produced a 17 track demo (known as the "Purple Tape", publicly released in 2002). Synchronicity (1983). During a concert with Throwing Muses, the band was noticed by Gary Smith, a producer at Fort Apache Studios. Ghost in the Machine (1981). They arrived at a name ("Pixies") by selecting an entry from the dictionary at random, and began playing shows in the Boston area. Zenyatta Mondatta (1980). Reportedly, the ad asked for a bass player who liked The Mamas and the Papas and Husker Du. Regatta de Blanc (1979).

Bassist Kim Deal joined the band after she responded to a classified ad Black Francis had placed which requested an unusual combination of musical influences. Outlandos d'Amour (1978). The band was formed in 1986 in Boston, Massachusetts by Joey Santiago and Black Francis (born Charles Thompson IV). Fallout/Nothing Achieving (single) (1977). Most notable was their use of soft verses and hard choruses, which was later popularized by Nirvana. Their style of music influenced many aspects of alternative rock throughout the 1990s.

Frank Black (vocals, guitar), Joey Santiago (lead guitar), Kim Deal (bass, vocals), and David Lovering (drums). The band's lineup consists of Black Francis a.k.a. The Pixies are a band which toured and recorded in the late 1980s and early 1990s, then reunited in 2004 and began touring again. Download sample of "Holiday Song" from Come on Pilgrim.

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