FEATURE THE PIXIES
Are they weird? You bet. but as the wildest packages of UFOlogy. ecology and surrealist violence available. Pixies records deserve to be ﬂung at our pop kids. James Haliburton tries not to get too freaked-out by Charles Thompson IV aka BLACK FRANCIS.
nd ifit‘s Saturday it must be Bordeaux. . . As the rock 'n‘ roll monster they call The Pixies snakes its way across Europe towards these shores. the last thing head honcho Charles Michael Kitridge Thompson IV (or Black Francis. according to album credits) needs is another journalist calling for an interview. More pressing is the realisation that his band have been booked into some of the largest European venues promoters could find.
‘These places are fine by me as long as they sell out. We‘ll find out. That‘s why I‘m
talkingto you. I hate to say it. but I‘d rather
not be doing interviews just now. We were here in November and there‘s just the single to talk about .‘
It‘s easy to understand his reluctance. While every other week the music weeklies discover the latest rock 'n‘ roll saviours and proceed to bludgeon us into submission with front covers and hysterical hyperbole. only to forget them before the months end. The Pixies are in a unique position. Since their
first release in 1987. the (nine ()n Pilgrim
mini-album. and. despite the ‘build 'em up. knock ‘em down‘ mentality of .\'.\I[;' and Melody Maker. every release has been
greeted with increasing column space. Nor
do the accolades stop with the music press. The Independent on Sunday recently saw fit to describe them (‘arlsberg-like. as ‘Probably the best band in the world right now.‘ This loyalty is all the more surprising when you consider ('harles makes no secret of his desire for The Pixies to be massive on a U2 scale.
‘Wbo wouldn‘t." he argues. ‘liven the most aggressive of performance artists. who cater only to the avant garde. any of those people. I‘d have to doubt if they didn't want to try it at least once. I mean. it's a phenomenon. a social phenomenon. to get that many people to agree to be at one place at one time and sit inan architectural structure to consume
5T he l.ist H- 27June l‘)‘)l
The Pixies formed five years ago in Boston. when college drop-outs (‘harles and guitarist Joey Santiago recruited Kim Deal (formerly Mrs John Murphy) through an ad asking for a bass player for a ‘l Iiisker Du and Peter. Paul and Mary" band. With the addition of drummer David Lovering. they recorded their first demo and were duly signed to British label JAD (borne to fellow Bostonians 'l‘lirowing Muses and. until recently. The (‘octeau Twins). By the time the demo was released in 1987 as ('ome ()n l’i/grini. the British press. at least. were putty in their hands.
l lowever. it wastrt until the release of Dim/[tile two years ago that the promise of their want ad was fully realised. Buildingon the prey ions independent chart success of the debut and its successor Surfer Rosa. this w as the album that saw The Pixies go overground. crashing into the Top Ten of the national charts. The album remains their finest achievement. coolly combining the best of post-punk guitar work with a ferocious pop sensibility. The musical intensity was more than matched by (‘harles's‘ lyrics. The extreme religious. sexual and violent imagery ofsongs like ‘l)ebaser'. ‘Wave of \lutilation‘ and '(iouge Aw ay ’ w ere gleefully consumed by reviewers and fans alike. liven to a casual listener. it was blindingly obvious that something serioUsly weird inhabited the mind ofthis unlikely-looking American. That (‘harles claimed many of the lyrics
When you Iistento good rock ’n’ roll
afterwards. You should feel so dirty you have to take a shower.
you wanna feel dirty 3,