The Breeders, made up of rock's original super twins Kim and Kelley Deal, know a thing or two about both overzealous fans and leaving home to tour the world with a rock band. After all, Kim Deal's first big band, The Pixies, is exactly the kind of group obsessively scrutinized by fans who sound and sometimes look like Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons
. And The Breeders have a mainstream hit, "Cannonball," which became the favorite summer song for almost everyone who saw the sun in 1993.
And Kim played the role of overzealous fan herself when she ran into fellow Ohioan and frrontwoman for the Pretenders Chrissie Hynde.
"The Pixies were playing a festival in Sweden called 'Where The Action Is' and Chrissie Hynde came backstage," Kim explains. "Me, David and Joe [drummer David Lovering and guitarist Joey Santiago from The Pixies] saw her, and she saw us and sat down and talked with us and she was sooo nice. I knew so much about her and I was asking her so many questions. David and Joe were laughing at me because of my deep fandom for her.
"Then I had to tell her, 'I would've hated to be your mother and father.' She looked at me all aghast and said, 'What do you mean?' I said, 'Well, you ran away to Paris as a teenager.' She said, 'Oh well, yeah I did.' I felt like I was bothering her or something, but she was just so nice about it."
Speaking to me via telephone from their Dayton base, Kim and Kelley Deal spent as much time talking about keeping critters out of tomato gardens as their band.
After recently ending a long relationship with their record label, 4 A.D., The Deals seem to be in a good place. Their last album, Mountain Battles
, added a layer of shine to their already healthy legacy. They've just released a new EP, Fate to Fatal
, to sell on the tour, and both sisters hinted that maybe a new record might be in store for 2010. Keep in mind, this is a band whose albums have been, up until now, spaced nearly a decade apart.
Kelley explains how the EP came about. "Last winter, when we curated 'All Tomorrow's Parties,' we decided, hey, let's write some new songs to play. We'd been playing Mountain Battles
for a year, and we just thought it would be cool to have some new songs to play, then we made it an EP, made a thousand copies that sold really fast and it just went from there. We were just able to do it. I think if you're with a record label it's just a much bigger deal to have to do any of that stuff. Everything's way more formal."
Indeed, Fate to Fatal
has a homespun feel. While the title track is a glorious celebration of the loud/soft dynamic that Kim helped to develop with The Pixies, the other three songs are quiet and brooding -- and just as powerful. Screaming Trees/Gutter Twin Mark Lanegan sings "The Last Time" in his finest pallbearer growl, while Kim and Kelley take an old Marley song, "Chances Are," and strip it down to its essence. The EP's closer, "Pinnacle Hollow," finds the band flirting with a plaintive, bluesy sound.
Equaling the mainstream success of the platinum-selling 1992's Last Splash
-- which peaked at No. 33 on the Billboard
Top 200 album chart and yielded several charting singles, including "Cannonball" -- has never been much of a concern for the group.
"I understand that normal people think of success in the music business as have a No. 1 record on the charts, and I can understand that," Kim says. "My version of success is to make a Velvet Underground record -- [to make] music that speaks to people who love music. I'd rather sell 500 copies of a record and influence a million bands, than sell 50 million copies of a record and then two years later maybe 500 people still know who we are. I'm not saying that's what I want to do, just ... that's my idea of success in the music business."
Still, when measured by record sales, "Cannonball," has overshadowed and outsold everything Kim Deal has ever done both with
Te Pixies and The Breeders.
"I'm never sick of that song!" Kim insists. "It's interesting. When I meet some people it's like a nostalgia thing, because they know me from something that happened in '93. So it's like I'm at their high school reunion," she laughs.
Expect a fan-friendly show at the Vogue with everything from tunes off of the band's 1990 debut, Pod
, to songs by the Amps, the one-record project formed by Kim Deal in 1995 after The Breeders went on hiatus.
"Kim told me something she heard a while ago," Kelley recounts. "'Every band deserves their fans.' And for us, I hope that's true, because we have the best fans in the world. They're sweet, they're not assholes and they throw balls of yarn on the stage." (Kelley is a knitting enthusiast.) "I just love our fans."