October 27, 2011

Pixies riding a long, long wave

The band plays a sold-out show at the State on Tuesday.

By Aimsel Ponti aponti@pressherald.com
News Assistant

Storied alternative rock band the Pixies is extending the 20th anniversary celebration of its 1989 album "Doolittle" with a second leg of dates, including a sellout at the State Theatre on Tuesday.

click image to enlarge

The Pixies debuted in 1986, broke up in '93, reunited in 2004 and still sell out venues, like Portland’s State Theatre.

Courtesy photo


WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday

WHERE: State Theatre, 609 Congress St., Portland

HOW MUCH: Sold out

INFO: statetheatreportland.com


1. "Wave of Mutilation"

2. "Here Comes your Man"

3. "La La Love You"

4. "Monkey Gone to Heaven"

5. "Silver"

The band formed in 1986, released five albums, then broke up in 1993. Eleven years later, much to the delight of a cult following of fans, they reunited with a 2004 tour that took them across the U.S., Brazil, Europe and Japan.

The documentary "loudQuietloud" focuses on the reunion tour, and does a bang-up job of showing awesome live footage and intimate behind-the-scenes glimpses into the lives of singer/guitarist Black Francis (aka Frank Black, nee Charles Thompson), drummer David Lowering, bassist/singer Kim Deal and lead guitarist Joey Santiago.

The 19 dates on the current tour take the Pixies through "secondary cities" -- or, as Santiago said during an interview from his home in Los Angeles, "lost cities."

"They're the lost cities because we just haven't been there yet," he said.

The State Theatre show sold out rapidly, something Santiago said was surprising -- though nothing new.

"Back in the day, after we put out 'Surfer Rosa' (The Pixies' 1988 full-length debut), we did sell out everywhere," he said. "Granted, the venues were smaller, but we're kind of used to that. In the beginning, it didn't happen, but when we hit our stride, it started happening."

After riding the "Doolittle" wave for so long, one has to wonder if anything catches the band off guard anymore. Santiago pointed to two things.

"The crowd's certainly younger, that surprises me," he said. "And the reactions are crazy, and they still enjoy it."

To help promote the band to a new generation of fans, The Pixies have their own Facebook page (which has more than 850,000 fans), and have utilized sites such as YouTube and Topspin.

"Somebody, probably our manager, will post something, and right away we'll get like 500 comments, and that's pretty cool," Santiago said.

The Pixies even have an iPhone app.

"I think its awesome," Santiago said. "The Internet has opened up a lot of things in particular to musicians."

When he's not with The Pixies, Santiago has contributed music to films and TV, and plans to get back to that after this tour winds down. His work has been included in Showtime's "Weeds" and Judd Apatow's "Undeclared," among others.

"It beats having a real job," he said. "It's a lot of work, but certainly gratifying. I still get kicks when I see my credit at the end of a show."

As far as touring goes, this is it -- for the moment at least -- for live Pixies shows.

"Nothing's booked for next year, and this Pixies machine takes about six months to plan because we've got visas and all this cargo and stuff to worry about," Santiago said.

It is known among fans that the band has no plans to record new material -- but Santiago was willing to speculate.

"It would be very exciting," he said. "If we were to put something out, who knows what would happen? Hopefully, people would accept it as a good thing, and it would be great to be one of those rare bands that reunites and makes an excellent album."

Staff Writer Aimsel Ponti can be contacted at 791-6455 or at:



PSST: If you couldn't get a ticket to The Pixies' sold-out show at the State Theatre, listen up: Local band Grand Hotel will play The Pixies' "Surfer Rosa" album in its entirety immediately following the concert at The Big Easy in Portland as part of the club's "Cover to Cover" series.


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