Mark Robertson names just some of the acts who wouldn’t be at T in the Park if it wasn’t for the Pixies.
I Ash Listening to the first two or three albums by these Chirpy Irish folks you'd reckon they'd have been able to make a Crust as a Pixies tribute band. They may have AC/DC‘ed it up now but we know their heart lies in Doolittle.
I PJ Harvey Freely admits her love for the band helped shape her debut album Dry and it was Steve Albini's colossal production job on Surfer Rosa that inspired Harvey to enlist him to record her most powerful album, Rid of Me.
I Terra Diablo While throwing a bit of Soundgarden and Smashing Pumpkins into the mix. this Scottish quintet subseribe to the Pixies loud/quiet/loud school of musical composition.
I Goldie Lookin’ Chain Not so much influenced by the Pixies but were so mashed on weed and cider they actually believed they were pixies enlisted to buy Pot Noodles and bags Of Monster Munch from the local Costcutter which w0uld. of COurse. save the planet from imminent disaster.
14 THE LIST 8—22 Jul 2004
inimitable Kim Deal. Deal in turn booked the boys tip with a friend of her husband John Murphy. a drummer called David Lovering.
81000 was spent on the band’s first studio cttts that were formed into Tltt’ Purple 'Ittpes‘ which they touted to record
companies. lvo Watts of 4M). who had just signed their
fellow Bostonians Throwing Muses. was quick off the tnark and signed the band to his label. So highly did Watts regard those early recordings that he culled eight tracks frotn those on the demo and released them as the band‘s debut mini album Come on Pilgrim — a collection bulging with energy. bile and dark humour.
Thompson‘s travels infortned the Latin influences of ‘lsla de lncanta‘ and ‘Vamos’. which muscled in between old testament musings and masturbation tributes in ‘The Holiday Song‘ with its infamous line "Here I atn . . . with my hand”.
When it was time to record their debut proper the band looked to win rock tnalcontcnt Steve Albini. whose reputation for unleashing musical ferocity and brutality was well documented with his bands Big Black and Rapeman. as well as in his recording jobs for countless quality underground rock acts. In Stir/er Rosa the band captured the weight. dynamic and twisted evil genius in 'l‘hompson‘s songs. It was big. barbarous and explosive. or. as PJ Harvey rightly put it. ‘it was like the band were performing in the room with yott‘. Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood says of Santiago's guitar work: ‘There‘s something desperate and very brutal. He’s making sounds by actually attacking the guitar?
Unperturbed by making the best rock album in living memory. they went on to record a second long player of similar statttre in Doolittle. A record which established the band as potential world-beaters. it took the power of Stir/er Rosa and riddled it through with the pop of their collected childhoods. It was as if Peter. Paul and Mary had finally got round to meeting tip with Htisker Dti.
With seemineg unstoppable momentum. they stayed on the road. Their relentless touring was punctuated by various accidents: Kim had a moped crash in Greece and Joey‘s finger got sliced as he played guitar in Manchester. [1 was stitched up by a nurse who happened to be one of the Stone Roses‘ girlfriends. Mishaps aside. the touring paid off as Doolittle debuted at No 8 in the L'K album charts.
Bossunova appeared in late summer of l‘)()(). a cosmic projection of the band's take on surf twang and sci-fi lullabies. More melodic than they had ever managed before. the cinemascope potential in the band‘s music had finally been recognised.
Touring continttcd to take its toll and these trips were nothing if not eventful. lior one Vancouver show they played their songs in alphabetical order. For another gig in London they arrived on stage to play their normal encore. ‘lnto the White‘. then left. only to return a few minutes later to play the rest of their set back to front.
If these playful evenings were borne frotn on the road boredom. their popularity would be accurately captured the following summer with an immense headlining show at the (‘rystal Palace Bowl in front of 2().()()() fans. This was followed a few weeks later by their final appearance at (ilasgow‘s Sli(‘(‘ which was unforgettable for completely different reasons. Several thousand people had to endure the catnp crappery of (‘ud and then (ilasgow‘s finest sons Teenage lianclub embarrassing themselves by wasting their support slot throwing fruit around the stage. Needless to say. by the time the Pixies got on stage the crowd were hyped beyond belief. [I took until the opening chords of 'l)ebaser' for the band to grind to a halt as they noticed the barriers that held the crowd back giving way. The show had to be abandoned for safety reasons and later it was discovered the crowd had actually pushed the entire stage structure back several inches.
[t was at this time they jokingly hinted at a new heavy metal‘ direction for their next long player. While not etnerging as quite the horns in the air huffer they initially hinted at. Trout/2e le Moiitle was a rocking beast nonetheless. and more uncomfortany melded their past achievements into one vivid package of psychobabble. But it proved to be their last.
A support slot on the ['S leg of ['2's '/.oo TV tour and appearances on Late Night with David Letterman were supposed to turn the album into the platinum sttccess that had always eluded them Stateside. No one seemed to mind that it didn‘t and. by January l‘)‘)3. when being interviewed on Mark Radcliffe‘s radio show. Hit the North. 'l‘hompson admitted the Pixies had split. Their four-and-a-half albums in a little over six years were of a quality that would take many artists a lifetime to achieve.
THEY ARE NOW THE HOTTEST LIVE TICKET IN THE WORLD. THE 19,000 TICKETS FOR THEIR FOUR BRIXTON GIGS SOLD OUT IN HOURS.