When it appeared at the end of the '80s, the Pixies' Doolittle was yet another towering alternative rock monolith, the final paving stone in a growing movement that led to Nevermind. This Boston band had put out Come On Pilgrim and Surfer Rosa which led to the band getting a deal with a major label.
Still, no one could have forseen the brain-blasting monument to surrealism, death and love that the Pixies wrought in Doolittle. The legacy of this album is such that now, three years after the Pixies started their 20th anniversary tour, it is just now winding down. The closest opportunity Hoosiers will have to see this show is this Wednesday, November 9, at the Palace in Louisville.
I recently spoke with guitarist Joey Santiago in between stops on the current tour. I asked him if he was sick of playing Doolitle night after night.
“Oh no. Nope!" he exclaimed. “We've been taking four-month breaks in between the legs of the tour. We can't not do it. We're old school, and the demand was such that we had to give the people what they want. Plus, the production of this show is so cool. We want to show it off as much as can.”
From the opening “Debaser” (based on a 1929 classic surrealist film Un Chien Andalou which screens before the set each night.) through to Kim Deal's last vocal showcase with the band, "Gouge Away." Doolittle is full of great moments like "Hey," "I Bleed" and "No. 13 Baby." Even the overplayed classics like "Wave of Mutilation,” “Monkey Gone to Heaven” and “Here Comes Your Man” haven't lost any of their lustre.
“Most of the songs on this record had been in our back pocket,” Santiago said. “ We'd been playing a lot of these songs on the road. It wasn't until we started mixing it that we started to get really excited. Man, I felt like running right out and buying a mansion!”
“Recently, we played in Dublin, and I remember we went on stage and were tuning our guitars and getting ready, and the crowd just lost it. The anticipation just too much for them. That was the first time I ever saw an entire crowd lose their shit before a note had ever been played," he said, laughing. "Yet another reason why I'm still not sick of Doolittle: the audience never lets me forget how great this album is.”
Is there life after Doolittle?
“I think the natural progression right now would be to make an album,” Santiago said, before pausing. “But, we have not discussed it, even though I think it's in the back of everybody's mind. It hasn't been ruled out, but we all know it's a whole big ball of wax that we don't know if we are ready to get into. There's not as much tension in just playing our old songs live. That's not to say one day we're not gonna say, 'Fuck it, tension is good. Let's make a record.'"