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. See also: List of plays, List of playwrights. 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. There are six basic genres of plays:. A "new retrospective compilation CD" is set for release in the near future. Plays are written in a variety of genres. 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. It consists of dialogue between characters, but it is meant to be read, either silently to oneself or aloud to a group in a "closet" (a private domestic room).

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). One kind of play, the closet drama, is written in a dramatic form but is not intended for performance. It is rumoured that these dates hold the world record for fastest selling shows ever. The interpretive nature of drama is what makes it so appealing to so many performers and audience members alike — because a playwright is incapable of presenting the play in its intended format (a performance) without the aid of the actors and a director (though he may choose to take any of these roles himself — Molière, for example, often acted in his own plays), a play is by definition undergoing constant rebirth and renewal as new experiences and interpretations are brought by new contributors. 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. (See theatre and related topics for more detailed information on the process of producing plays for performance.). 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. To better communicate a unified interpretation of the text in question, productions are usually overseen by a director, who often puts their own unique interpretation on the production.

Roughly once a year on April Fool's Day someone would be led to believe that the band had re-united. Plays are generally performed in a theatre by actors. In the 11 years since the band broke up, there were a number of rumors that would circulate regarding reunion tours. The term play refers both to the written works of dramatists and to the complete theatrical performances of such. This revitalized some interest in the band after they were gone. However, many scholars study plays in this more academic manner, particularly classical plays such as those of Shakespeare (rare authors, notably George Bernard Shaw, have had little preference whether their plays were performed or read). 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. A play (noun) is a common literary form, usually consisting chiefly of dialog between characters, and usually intended for performance rather than reading.

Right at the moment they were imploding, Nirvana was recording Nevermind, the album that would break alternative rock into the mainstream. Symbolic - a play in which the characters and the actions have symbolic function and the main concern is the development of ideas. Musically, the Pixies were just slightly ahead of their time. Usually has a happy ending. 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. Melodrama - a play of heightened emotion in which a hero and often a heroine overcome a villain to right wrong. 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. Tragicomedy - a play that contains elements of both tragedy and comedy.

Kim Deal has also recorded with The Amps. Domestic drama - a play that reflects the world of the domestic, the family and the relationships that emerge out of the ordinary happenings of life. The album, Title TK, finally appeared in 2002, with only Kim and Kelley remaining from the previous Breeders lineup. This usually includes funny material, even jokes. However, for several years they struggled to produce another album, mainly due to Kelley Deal's struggles with heroin. Comedy - a play in which, despite hindrances and problems along the way, everything works out happily at the end. Deal returned to the Breeders, and scored a hit with "Cannonball" from that group's Last Splash in 1993. Tragedy - a play in which a hero comes to a sad end due to fate, a fatal flaw or the work of the gods.

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. Black Francis renamed himself Frank Black, and released several solo 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. Trompe le Monde still featured little input from Deal and wasn't as critically regarded as their first few albums.

Break-up announcements notwithstanding, one more album was to follow. 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. Deal was not pleased, and unilaterally announced an apparent break-up of the band on-stage during the following tour. 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.

After Doolittle, Black Francis temporarily went solo, while Kim Deal formed The Breeders with Tanya Donelly of Throwing Muses and Deal's sister, Kelley. 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. For the remainder of their career, the Pixies remained large-scale stars in Britain and cult figures in the US. 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.

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. It was followed by their first full-length album, Surfer Rosa in early 1988. Eight tracks from the demo were selected for the Come on Pilgrim EP, the band's first release. The demo fell into the hands of Ivo Watts-Russell, owner of 4AD, who signed the band.

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

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. The band was formed in 1986 in Boston, Massachusetts by Joey Santiago and Black Francis (born Charles Thompson IV). 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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