Black Francis: Personally, yeah. It's just coming out right now, so I don't know what it means in the big picture, but it certainly feels good to be doing something different instead of doing "Monkey Gone to Heaven" again. Nothing against that, but after a while during the Doolittle tour, I would space out onstage doing the record in sequence every night. I would start to get that Groundhog Day feeling of, "Where am I?" I'd start to lose track.
Does having a new album put the Pixies in a different place now?
Joey Santiago: It's a band now. Bands tour and they make music. And there was a buzz on social media that they wanted a new record. We had to make time for it. Was there something to prove? We just wanted to make music. We're still viable and creative.
Fans usually want new music, don't they, even if they hate it when it arrives?
Francis: I don't think we analyzed it that much. We didn't put out new music in the last 10 years because we didn't have an agreement basically to go into the studio, even though there were several attempts to get that to happen. We couldn't really get an agreement until a couple of years ago. Yeah, we want to be successful, we don't want to be skewered, we don't want to get a 1-out-of-10 star review or whatever [laughs]. We don't want any of those things, but we're actually perfectly willing to accept all that. At the end of the day, it's, "Cut the shit – we just want to make music." It's a rock band. We live in reality most of the time, unless we have a few drinks. We're pretty grounded.
Francis: We went down to Brazil and we ran into one of our old roadies, Guitar George – "he knows all the chords" – that guy. We were hanging out in the lobby and he said, "Guys, it's so great to see you out on the road." And he's like, "You've made your records and now you're back – you can go play these songs now five years." That was his advice. At some point, I realized he was right, that it was perfectly OK to feel what you did before and do it for a while. So we did that for about eight or nine years. [laughs]
You always stayed pretty prolific as a solo artist after the band ended.
Francis: I kept my foot in the door. I started having kids about nine years ago. If I'd had had kids before, I could have been sidetracked easily, but I didn't have any responsibilities, so I'd just keep doing this. There were tours where Dave was the opening act as a magician. We understand the culture of touring. It's not always necessarily about making it. It's always nice to make money, but I don't think any of us felt there was anything wrong with doing something on a small scale. That's where we come from. We didn't start off playing on huge stages. We started off playing in shitty little clubs.
When the Pixies were originally together, you had a great following, but it was still an underground thing.
Francis: We were definitely an underground band. We played festivals, clubs and theaters. Some people after we broke up were like, "Oh, you guys were so big in Europe, playing for 50,000 people!" No, we were playing at the festival, but Sting was the headliner.
Santiago: We headlined Reading.
Francis: We did, back in the day? OK.
Is writing for the Pixies now any different than before?
Francis: It took me a while to figure out how to change hats. It helped that the band was waiting for something they could sink their teeth into. I can't just give them the first song that pops into my head. But we brought in [producer] Gil Norton and he was pretty instrumental by going, "This, but not that." We've done a Neil Young song, we've done a Leonard Cohen song, and it still sounded like the Pixies. The filter of the band is always going to be so strong that whatever we play it's going to sound like our band.
Are you writing more?
Francis: We haven't done it the way that we used to do it back in the beginning – we did try a couple of years ago and it didn't work out. We used to smoke a lot of dope when we were young, like a lot of young bands. If it was a Saturday afternoon, we would jam. We would cycle material over and over again for hours. Every night after work we used to go to rehearsal space in Boston – they were expensive to rent, for a shithole room. We were there all the time. We were really trying to find whatever the hell it was we were.
David Lovering: Our rehearsal room had a sewer cap in it, and it smelled like sewer all the time, but it was great. It was fun.
Francis: Even when we didn't have a rehearsal space, we'd go to David's parents' house and play in their garage. We always played and played and played. We had gigs as often as we could get them. I look forward to a time when we can be in a rehearsal space, because I like that. It was not loose jamming. We'd get into a mantra or groove and try to find out, "Is this as good as it can be?" And you wait for that little accident to happen, the mess up that sounds amazing. I would like to do that again.
Was finishing the record encouraging?
Lovering: I enjoyed the experience.
Francis: We had this whole thing where Kim [Deal] left in the middle of the record, so that was an interesting challenge. I don't think we want that kind of challenge the next time we have a session.
You basically had to decide to continue?
Francis: Yeah. The general feeling talking about it amongst ourselves, with Gil and our manager, was rather than try to replace Kim at the time, even if the record has this Kim-shaped hole in it, we needed to leave the hole there. Not "Let's get a girl in that sounds like Kim!" We had those thoughts of course. We had to do it ourselves.
Santiago: Leave it alone, and have her absence there almost like a tribute, out of respect for her.
In "Bagboy," there's a Kim-sounding vocal.
Santiago: That was by accident!
Francis: There was this kid who was helping us at the demo level, and he'd thrown down some vocals when I was out of the studio. Even at the time, I was like, "Oh my gosh, it sounds exactly like Kim. Ha-ha."
Santiago: I was thinking, that sounds exactly like Kim. You know what, I'm going to keep my mouth fucking shut, and I'm going into my room and let these guys decide if it's OK. I didn't know.
Francis: That kid helped us with a couple of other tracks and didn't sound like her. It's just the way it came out on that one track. It's unfortunate because it gave the impression to the conspiracy seekers that we were doing that deliberately to fake everybody out. It was a total fluke.
2. "Greens and Blues"
3. "Indie Cindy"
5. "Magdalena 318"
6. "Silver Snail"
7. "Blue Eyed Hexe"
8. "Ring the Bell"
9. "Another Toe in the Ocean"
10. "Andro Queen"
12. "Jaime Bravo"
4. "Magdalena 318"
6. "Indie Cindy"
7. "I've Been Tired"
8. "Head On"
9. "The Sad Punk"
10. "Distance Equals Rate Times Time"
11. "Something Against You"
12. "Isla de Encanta"
13. "Planet of Sound"
Pixies Finally Acknowledge Kim Deal Is Irreplaceable
BF: But I think that all such ageism will die with the death of rock music as we know it. With their iPhones and devices, people now have access to all this music, images, its history, facts and factoids and they can see through age groups, fashion, sexiness - all that's being defined in a certain limited way.
Santiago: Europeans are more eclectic, I guess.
BF: Rock music is culturally much more on a pedestal in Europe than in the United States. Here rock'n'roll initially was an outsider, like jazz before it. So it was put up in a place of reverence, art. In America it's not art, it's just part of the fabric of everything. Jazz survived so long thanks to Europe.
Lovering: I guess we're lucky enough, because of that (breakup) we got back together and it's all working out nicely.
Q: But now Deal has left. Is it still Pixies without her?
Santiago: Yeah it's Pixies, that's one against three.
Santiago: Yeah, that, and I was gonna say "Dead" too.
1. "Blue-Eyed Hexe"
3. "Greens and Blues"
January 18 - Boston, MA @ Orpheum Theatre *
January 19 - Port Chester, NY @ Capitol Theatre*
January 21 - Newark, NJ @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center *
January 22 - New Haven, CT @ Shubert Theatre *
January 24 - Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory *
January 25 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Carnegie Music Hall *
January 26 - Washington, DC @ Strathmore *
January 29 - Richmond, VA @ National Theatre *
January 31 - Durham, NC @ Durham PAC #
February 1 - Asheville, NC @ Thomas Wolfe Auditorium #
February 2 - Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium #
February 4 - Atlanta, GA @ Tabernacle #
February 6 - St. Louis, MO @ Peabody Opera House #
February 7 - Columbus, OH @ LC Pavilion #
February 8 - Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore #
February 9 - Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theatre #
February 11 - Kansas City, MO @ Midland Theatre #
February 13 - Denver, CO @ Fillmore Auditorium %
February 14 - Aspen, CO @ Belly Up %
February 15 - Salt Lake City, UT @ The Great Salt Air %
February 17 - Vancouver, BC @ Orpheum Theatre %
February 18 - Seattle, WA @ Paramount Theatre %
February 19 - Portland, OR @ Schnitzer Auditorium %
February 21 - Oakland, CA @ Fox Theatre %
February 22 - San Jose, CA @ San Jose Civic %
February 23 - Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino %
February 24 - Phoenix, AZ @ Comerica Theatre %
February 25 - Albuquerque, NM @ Kiva Auditorium %
February 27 - Houston, TX @ Bayou Music Center %
February 28 - Dallas, TX @ South Side Ballroom %
March 1 - Austin, TX @ Austin Music Hall %
March 29-30 - Santiago, Chile @ Lollapalooza Chile
April 1 - Montevideo, Uruguay @ Rock'n'Fall
April 1/3 - Buenos Aires, Argentina @ Lollapalooza Argentina
April 3/5 - Bogota, Colombia @ Festival Estereo Picnic
April 5/6 - Sao Paulo, Brazil @ Lollapalooza Brasil
May 29-30 - Barcelona, Spain @ Primavera Sound
June 6-7 - Porto, Portugal @ Primavera Sound
June 8 - London, UK @ Field Day in Victoria Park
June 15 - Arhus, Denmark @ Northside
June 20 - Hilvarenbeek, Holland @ Best Kept Secret
June 20/22 - Schessel, Germany @ Hurricane
June 20/22 - Neuhausen, Germany @ Southside
June 25 - Zagreb, Croatia @ Inmusic
June 29 - Dublin, Ireland @ Marley Park ^
June 30 - Cork, Ireland @ Live at the Marquee
July 5- Werchter, Belgium @ Rock Werchter
July 6 - Herouville-St. Clair, France @ Beauregard
Asked to guess why she'd been fired, Shattuck suggested she might've been just too demonstrative for the Pixies. "I get the feeling they're more introverted people than I am," she told NME. "Nobody really talked about deep issues, at least out loud. There was a show at the Mayan in Los Angeles where I got overly enthusiastic and jumped into the crowd, and I know they weren't thrilled about that. When I got offstage the manager told me not to do that again. I said, 'Really, for my own safety?' And he said, 'No, because the Pixies don't do that.'"
October 2 - Brussels, Belgium @ Ancienne Belgique
October 5 - Amsterdam, Holland @ Paradiso
October 8 - Berlin, Germany @ Huxleys
October 10 - Prague, Czech Republic @ Lucerna Music Hall
November 1 - Vienna, Austria @ Gasometer
November 2 - Geneva, Switzerland @ Thonex
November 4 - Milan, Italy @ Alcatraz
November 7 - Madrid, Spain @ La Riviera
November 9 - Lisbon, Portugal @ Coliseum
November 13 - Copenhagen, Denmark @ Falkoner
November 14 - Oslo, Norway @ Sentrum Scene,
November 15 - Stockholm, Sweden @ Munchen Brewery
November 18 - Dublin, Ireland @ Olympia
November 21 - Manchester, UK @ Apollo
November 22 - Glasgow, UK @ Barrowlands
November 24 - London, UK @ Hammersmith Apollo