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.
Method Man and Redman briefly had their own television sitcom, Method & Red, on Fox during the 2004 - 2005 season. 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. In 2000, Redman provided guest vocals on The Offspring's album "Original Prankster." The following year, he costarred with Method Man in the film How High, and also contributed music to the soundtrack. A "new retrospective compilation CD" is set for release in the near future. In addition, he has also collaborated with rapper Keith Murray and producer Eric Sermon (EPMD) for the 1998 album El Nino, and with rapper Method Man (Wu-Tang Clan) for the 1999 album Blackout!. 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. Redman's solo career continued throughout the remainder of the decade, with each of his albums selling at least half a million copies.

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 1993, prominent hip-hop magazine The Source named Redman Rap Artist of the Year. It is rumoured that these dates hold the world record for fastest selling shows ever. Redman made his rapping debut on the EPMD songs "Hardcore" and "Brothers on my Jock". Redman's 1992 Def Jam debut Whut? Thee Album broke into the US Top 50, and has since achieved gold status in the United States. 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. Redman (born Reggie Noble on April 17, 1970 in Newark, New Jersey) is an African American rapper who became popular in as an artist on the Def Jam label in the 1990s. 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. 2004: Method & Red.

Roughly once a year on April Fool's Day someone would be led to believe that the band had re-united. 2003: Thaddeus Fights the Power!. In the 11 years since the band broke up, there were a number of rumors that would circulate regarding reunion tours. 2002: Stung. This revitalized some interest in the band after they were gone. 2001: How High. 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. 2001: Statistic: The Movie.

Right at the moment they were imploding, Nirvana was recording Nevermind, the album that would break alternative rock into the mainstream. 2000: Boricua's Bond. Musically, the Pixies were just slightly ahead of their time. 1999: P.I.G.S.. 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. 1999: Colorz of Rage. 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. 2002: Paid in Full.

Kim Deal has also recorded with The Amps. 2001: All About the Benjamins. The album, Title TK, finally appeared in 2002, with only Kim and Kelley remaining from the previous Breeders lineup. 2001: How High. However, for several years they struggled to produce another album, mainly due to Kelley Deal's struggles with heroin. 2001: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3. Deal returned to the Breeders, and scored a hit with "Cannonball" from that group's Last Splash in 1993. 2001: The Fast and the Furious.

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. 2001: Save the Last Dance. Black Francis renamed himself Frank Black, and released several solo albums. 1998: Ride. 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. 1994: Def Jam's How to Be a Player. Trompe le Monde still featured little input from Deal and wasn't as critically regarded as their first few albums. 1994: New Jersey Drive.

Break-up announcements notwithstanding, one more album was to follow. 1994: A Low Down Dirty Shame. 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. 2001: "Smash Sumthin'". Deal was not pleased, and unilaterally announced an apparent break-up of the band on-stage during the following tour. 2001: "Let's Get Dirty (I Can't Get in Da Club)" (US# 97). 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. 1999: "Let Da Monkey Out".

After Doolittle, Black Francis temporarily went solo, while Kim Deal formed The Breeders with Tanya Donelly of Throwing Muses and Deal's sister, Kelley. 1999: "Da Goodness". 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. 1998: "I'll Bee Dat!". For the remainder of their career, the Pixies remained large-scale stars in Britain and cult figures in the US. 1997: Whateva Man (US #42). 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. 1997: "Pick It Up".

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. 1996: It's Like That (My Big Brother) (US #95). It was followed by their first full-length album, Surfer Rosa in early 1988. 1995: "How High" (with Method Man) (US #13). Eight tracks from the demo were selected for the Come on Pilgrim EP, the band's first release. 1995: Can't Wait (US #94). The demo fell into the hands of Ivo Watts-Russell, owner of 4AD, who signed the band. 1994: Rockafella.

Smith became the band's manager and produced a 17 track demo (known as the "Purple Tape", publicly released in 2002). 1993: Tonight's da Night. During a concert with Throwing Muses, the band was noticed by Gary Smith, a producer at Fort Apache Studios. 1993: Time 4 Sum Aksion. They arrived at a name ("Pixies") by selecting an entry from the dictionary at random, and began playing shows in the Boston area. 1992: Blow Your Mind. Reportedly, the ad asked for a bass player who liked The Mamas and the Papas and Husker Du. 2001: Malpractice.

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. 1999: Blackout! (Method Man & Redman). The band was formed in 1986 in Boston, Massachusetts by Joey Santiago and Black Francis (born Charles Thompson IV). 1998: El Nino (with Eric Sermon and Keith Murray). Most notable was their use of soft verses and hard choruses, which was later popularized by Nirvana. 1998: Doc's Da Name 2000. Their style of music influenced many aspects of alternative rock throughout the 1990s. 1996: Muddy Waters.

Frank Black (vocals, guitar), Joey Santiago (lead guitar), Kim Deal (bass, vocals), and David Lovering (drums). 1994: Dare Iz a Darkside. The band's lineup consists of Black Francis a.k.a. 1992: Whut? Thee Album. 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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