The Pixies Should Just Retire Already

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Photo by Groovehouse
The Pixies in 2010, the way everyone remembers them
Tomorrow night, Houston will witness the return of legendary indie-rockers the Pixies. It's their first show in town since 2010, and obviously a lot has changed about them since then. If you'll recall, the last time was at Verizon Wireless Theater, playing all of second album Doolittle in lieu of any new material, since at the time they didn't have any.

Well, Verizon Wireless Theater is now Bayou Music Center, and the Pixies are playing in the rechristened venue with brand-new songs and a brand-new bassist in the form of Paz Lenchantin, who you may remember from Billy Corgan's Zwan and A Perfect Circle.

Not everyone is excited, though, including me, and I'll tell you why. It's time for the Pixies to retire.

REWIND: Pixies Gouge Away Through Recent Lineup Turmoil


Let's start with the most obvious reason. The Pixies are no longer the same band they once were. Lenchantin is a good bassist who can probably perform all the Pixies classics admirably, but, pardon the pun, no Deal, no deal. Kim Deal was a fundamental part of the Pixies as a songwriter, singer, performer and just as a personality within the group.

It isn't the same without her. It's like that brief period where Aerosmith tried to replace Joe Perry in the early '80s. It's like the phony Guns n' Roses Axl Rose tours without Slash. Kim Deal was as much a part of that band as Frank Black ever was, and without her they have lost a vital component.

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Photo by Groovehouse
Kim Deal
In fact, I daresay that's the only reason the band's original reunion tours worked in the first place.

But let's put that aside and give them the benefit of the doubt. After all, the Pixies had been reunited for nine years by the time they gave up on Deal, and hadn't released any new material at all in that time. Anyone who knows Frank Black's career trajectory knows that this is not something he can really take in stride. The man is a fountain of new songs; he's overflowing with them.

If Kim Deal was holding them back from making new music, fine. The only problem is that she was right to hold them back from making new music.

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It's a fair point to make that the Pixies couldn't really tour those same old songs forever. I mean, they only had five records to use to create a set list. People were already getting bored. If you look back, their tours were met with less and less excitement because people knew what they were getting. If they had caught the reunited band before, it was going to be the same the second time around.

So for the sake of shaking things up, maybe it was absolutely necessary to record new material. But the Pixies were a sort of magical thing whose best material was something that could never happen again, and even their last two records showed the inevitable decline once their moment had passed. Those albums, Bossanova and Trompe le Monde, have since experienced a sort of revisionist renaissance, but the decline was patently obvious by Trompe le Monde, which incidentally had the least input from Kim Deal.

If the magic was dying by the early '90s though, it is firmly dead now. Nothing the Pixies could ever do would live up to the esteemed legacy of their early work. Now they've proved that by recording two EPs so far, essentially bland Frank Black solo works. This is exactly what Kim Deal was afraid of all those years.


Story continues on the next page.


Location Info

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Bayou Music Center

520 Texas Ave., Houston, TX

Category: Music


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16 comments
davidm76
davidm76

This article is almost as bad as the Pitchfork reviews of the first two EPs. Watching the Pixies play the past few years almost turned into one of those greatest hits acts that no one wants to see. I'm happy that the guys decided to record new material. I'd say 7-8 songs from the EPs are very good songs. For me they are not only giving the Pixies name life, but rock music in general is better off with these guys touring the world. I just wish that they had recorded new material 20 plus years ago. So what if Kim Deal isn't in the lineup? Her contributions to the old Pixies are justified. Let her continue doing her nostalgia act with The Breeders, or whatever she has planned for her career. 


Btw all of the sold out shows worldwide kinda cancels out your whole "retirement" idea. I've seen them a total of 7 times the past seven years. Each show was special in its own way. The new songs are just an added bonus for the true Pixies fans out there. Also, Paz is an amazing bassist! She is way more talented than Kim Deal. It would be nice for them to record with her in the future. I saw an amazing acoustic set on NPR a few weeks ago that really showed her talents in a way that Kim Deal could only dream. Keep it up Charles, Joey, and David. You guys are appreciate by your fans. Dbags like the person that wrote this article are gonna be in every city. The only problem for them is that your fans will drown them out with more opinionated and insightful words.

pepper
pepper

Having attended Pixies performance in Seattle and reading this article, your lost man.  A voice in a wilderness of days gone by and perhaps should consider your own retirement "already".  The fan base sells out every show world wide and you afford yourself a cushy chair to write a critical opinion of what?  Enjoy your cave, the light will come on soon and willingly pull your shade.  Chow for now.


Andy
Andy

I just saw them on Sunday and they were AWESOME!  I'd love to see them again and the new bass player Paz is a very talented young lady who fit's right in with the band.

deadhead3
deadhead3

Slamming them before seeing them? This article is chock full of shit. I saw them on Tuesday and they were awesome.

Owen Ford
Owen Ford

I bet you hate the idea of MBV putting it new material too.

cotoloti
cotoloti

I also would recommended seeing them before saying they should retire. They have a new energy, their new songs are awesome live, and Paz no offense to Kim Deal appears to be a more polished and talented musician for days. The new arrangements and pure energy they have at their age is astounding. They don't breathe they just play and leave for a solid 2 hours or more. I'll admit maybe their first new EP was a little bit of a stretch or too straight forward for the Pixies, but I'm kind thinking that was the point. I still enjoyed it  however and  also to me they proved they still got it with EP 2 and look forward to what comes next. Just saw them a few weeks back in Richmond was pretty blown away (no pixies pun intended) would kill to see them again. Was really hoping they would be on the American festival circuit this year.

jd_key
jd_key

Seriously?  When TONS of people who saw them live back in their original heyday and grew up listening to all their '80s and '90s albums are SUPER stoked to get to see them live again, that's NOT a sign that the band doesn't live up to standards.

And yeah, we're ALL bummed that Kim isn't with them anymore, but with Charles, Joey and David all still accounted for and an accomplished talent filling in on bass, NO ONE (but you) is saying that this lineup isn't really Pixies.

It almost seems like this was written intentionally to elicit comments telling you how wrong you are.  Clickbait.

jaymazing
jaymazing

Horrible article.  Anyone who has seen them in this incarnation knows Pixies are back.  Paz is an excellent base player and her vocals went just fine with the old catalog.  If you don't like the new songs, fine.  I think they're great and they worked into the setlist perfectly and sound excellent live.  


Maybe you should see the concert first before asking them to retire.  The three remaining members should do whatever the hell they want to do.  Kim bailed, take it out on her.

feufoma
feufoma

BTW - it's "Pixies", not "The Pixies".  Otherwise, I generally agree that retirement of the band and its name is probably warranted after this tour. Hate to see it as I've been a huge fan since the beginning. 

FredinNH
FredinNH

You state: "Kim deal was as much a part of the pixies original success as Black Francis ever was".

This is a ridiculous statement.

Kim deal is a good bass player and a great rock backup singer who wrote 3 pixies songs. Charles Thompson is a good guitarist and one-of-the-all-time-great rock lead singers who has written 70+ pixies songs.

Your argument continues to go off the rails with your assertion that trompe le monde is a lesser pixies album. Wrong. TLM is in the opinion of many the best pixies album. Furthermore, frank black's teenager of the year is considered by many to be his ultimate masterpiece, superior to anything the pixies recorded.

Finally, you are wrong about the new music. Ep-1 and Ep-2 are both brilliant. Like all Charles Thompson songs the music requires repeat listens to comprehend what's going on.

To summarize, you're article is crap and with regard to the pixies you have no idea what you're talking about.

davidm76
davidm76

@jaymazing He probably wasn't issued a backstage pass and interview, so he decided to go all "Pitchfork" on the Pixies ass.

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

@FredinNH The new EP's brilliant, I think not.. Doolittle is brilliant, the new EP's are at best competent, but also lend a slight tarnish to their reputation as well. And may I remind you the Breeders sold 10x more records than anything by the Pixies or Frank Black -- although sales don't equate with the Breeders being better. And finally most of Frank Blacks solo records are quite dull. 

FredinNH
FredinNH

Doolittle is great, no doubt. So is TLM, and teenager of the year, and dog in the sand, and bagboy, and pretty much everything frank black has ever done.

The ep's are indeed brilliant. Read through reviews of the shows they've been playing and you'll notice a growing number of remarks on the positive reaction the new songs are receiving. One recent review said that bag boy threatened to make the old stuff sound dated in a bad way. I saw them in boston last month and I was thinking the same thing. The guitar and drums In that song are brutal in a way that exceeds anything from the first 5 and the lyrics (except the overly repetitive chorus) are genius.

Kim deal is a brain damaged (from drugs and Alchohol) pain in the ass who has been preventing the pixies from recording new material since they reformed. Good riddance. Why you or anyone would want 3 great musicians to stop making music because someone they collaborated with 25 years ago quit the band is a mystery to me.

davidm76
davidm76

@FredinNH Deal also has some personal issues with her mom back in Ohio. I believe that her mom has Alzheimer's disease. .

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