Monkeys Gone to Heaven
Meet the Pixies
Kim Deal: Wave of Mutilation
"Turn on an engine, and I'll fall asleep," Kim Deal purrs, embracing a life that's been lived partially on the road. After roughly 20 minutes on the phone with the Pixies bassist and Breeders founder, there's no rock star huffing or whiffs of nostalgia, just the feeling that you could totally hang out with her on a porch in Dayton, Ohio, and smoke a pack of Pall Malls.
Austin Chronicle: I participated in Girls Rock Camp here, and last summer, we were all going around the room, saying what female artists inspired us. One girl said Kim Deal. I went up to her afterward and asked how old she was, how she knew about you. And she said, "Oh, my dad turned me on to the Pixies, like, years ago."
Kim Deal: Oh wow ....
AC: That brought me back to the age where you're awkward but figuring out your identity and what music you like.
KD: Yeah. And it changes, probably. It should, right? At that age people try on different things. I had the worst taste in music at 14. I was loving, you know, anything my mom left on the radio, I think. Still.
AC: How old were you when you started figuring it out?
KD: The first kind of critical listening experience I had was in high school. It was a guy who was two or three years older than me. I remember us poring over albums, but he listened to it in a musical journalist kind of way, where I didn't. And a lot of people who like music don't listen to it that way. But to hear him say "Dominance and Submission" by Blue Öyster Cult is a better song than, you know, "Godzilla" or something, and why this album's good and this album sucks .... Sometimes I concurred, and sometimes I didn't, but that wasn't the point. It was to hear somebody listen to things passionately and with a critical ear.
AC: Are you critical of your own music?
KD: Yeah, I'm super critical of it. Well, it's not so much that I criticize it – I just don't put it out there unless I see there's a point. I have a real problem with that. I really need to lighten up a bit. And I always have to think it through again, like, "Are you sure, Kim?" Do I wanna just strap on a guitar and hit the clubs? Just play solo and do a night of songs? I think: "Come on girl, come on! Let's do it!" And I'll sit there and visualize it, and, you know, absofuckinglutely not. Nothing about that seems vaguely appealing to me.
AC: After watching the loudQUIETloud documentary, I got the sense that the Pixies, however dysfunctional, are sort of a family in a way.
KD: Absolutely not.
AC: Was that first reunion in 2004 a good place?
KD: Oh, totally. But in no sense should you have gotten that we were a family out of that [laughs], 'cause we're definitely not. At the same time, it doesn't mean we're at each other's throats. I think if we were a family, we would be at each other's throats.
AC: I wanted to ask you about sobriety and creativity. Is there a difference in the way you approach writing music and being creative now?
KD: Well, I was always very worried about that. You know, being a drug addict, you're just so convinced that everybody starts to suck when they sober up. I mean, that's like a known thing, right? So then, I started thinking about it and asking people about it: Name one person who has sobered up and started sucking. I think what happens is they start using a lot and then they start to suck. And then that pretty much is it. I mean, look at Aerosmith. They started to suck way before Pump, you know? So you can't really blame them not using drugs on them sucking. I think they're using again, and they still suck, so, frankly .... I know there's a whole new generation that thinks this is the good stuff.
AC: Do you feel there's an oversaturation of bad right now?
KD: Right now everything is pop music. Like pop, pop, pop! Like an advertisement to get your attention, that sort of pop music. There's no rock anymore. It's just complete turn-the-burner-up-to-10 pop music. And it's everywhere. Everybody wants to be pop. And it sounds specifically like advertisements used to, like, "Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!" Instead of having a nice little melody or something, it's all about crashing dynamics of sound. Strange. Yeah, I don't know if it's good or bad, but it is weird.