CONCERTS Reaction to Pixies tour leaves some surprised
Despite no album on the horizon, the band has been selling out shows across the nation.
CLEVELAND -- The Pixies are to the alternative nation what The Ramones are to punk rock -- incredibly influential and highly cherished but without the mainstream success to make them zillionaires.
Instead, Nirvana's Kurt Cobain and Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong are considered spokesmen of their generation, while Frank Black (singer, guitars) and his Pixies cohorts -- Kim Deal (bass, vocals), Joey Santiago (guitar), David Lovering (drums) -- are left holding a trophy of indie credibility.
We all know integrity doesn't pay the bills but roughly a year ago the members of the Pixies got their revenge when the band reunited -- 12 years after they split -- to sold-out shows everywhere. Even more bizarre is the fact the group is playing larger venues now than before it broke up.
"I don't really know but I think [it's] the whole Velvet Underground factor," said Black, calling from St. Paul, Minn. "It's like you have a band, you putzed around in playing clubs for five years, you break up, your catalog remains in print. Everyone says, 'Oh man, have you ever heard this band? They are so good.' You wait for 10 or 12 years and then suddenly there are like two generations of fans. So, that's the image of the band and now, 'Oh my god, they are actually getting back together? Holy s---! The Pixies are getting back together. Do you believe it?'"
Ask any diehard Pixies fan about this reunion and you're bound to hear a colorful thesis of sorts detailing the miracle that must have occurred in order to get these four musicians -- who supposedly despised each other -- in one room, let alone on stage, together. In reality, it was Black's sarcasm that eventually brought this quartet back together.
As a solo artist, Black was promoting his 2003 release "Show Me Your Tears" on a radio station when the obligatory "When are the Pixies going to reunite?" question came up. So as a joke, and to this day he still believes the charade was obvious, he said the band gets together on a regular basis and jams in his living room. From there, the Internet chat rooms were on high alert while Black continued his solo tour. It wasn't until six months later that talk about a reunion among band members, who apparently tolerate each other's company, was even broached. Still, with no sign of a new album on the horizon, the reaction to the reunion tour, including two June 8 shows in Cleveland (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Scene Pavilion) and June 9 date in Pittsburgh (Chevrolet Amphitheatre at Station Square), has been surprising.
"I'm pleasantly pleased but I don't know if I'm surprised," Black said. "That would be too strong of an emotion for me to feel in regards to this band, just because the band has always been celebrated from our first gig. There has always been an air of celebration among the band. People like us."