By Miranda Brooks
Unofficially official, The Breeders are back!
A loose idea last year to celebrate the band’s twentieth anniversary of their sophomore album Last Splash — which took them platinum — has lead to an organic re-reformation of a group that has seen a myriad of changes and several starts and stops over the years, but has managed to also maintain a very grounded connection to their roots.
Sitting on a couch in Dayton, Ohio, Kelley and Kim Deal discussed the milestones in their against-most-odds musical careers. “There was no re-release of Last Splash by the label. We just thought, ‘Wouldn’t that be fun?’” remembered Kim Deal during a recent in-person interview with The Marquee.
When The Deal twins first started putting together a reunion for Last Splash, they were able to connect with the former members who made that album. They called upon drummer and Dayton native Jim Macpherson and New York-based English bassist Josephine Wiggs, who played their last gig together as The Breeders at Lollapalooza in 1994. “I feel like I’m in Spinal Tap,” Kim Deal laughed, citing the numerous lineup changes of the band’s history.
Originally formed in 1990 during one of the first hiatuses of The Pixies, Deal found The Breeders to be a revolving cast of characters with band members coming and going regularly. One of the earliest incarnations lasted only two gigs. The Breeders list of members out-numbers their discography. “At the time, I wasn’t proud of that fact, but now I feel so lucky for the opportunity,” Deal said. “I got to play with some really great musicians, but matters of money play such a role in logistics, and even musicians start families, you know? So there were always changes. But mostly, we were accommodating, little by little, the business dropping out of the industry, you know, the industry leaving the music.”
Lamenting such apparent losses, Deal spoke with ease of the changes that have affected her life so incredibly through her career as she compared it to any other modern day industry that’s been forced by economics to either shift or die out. “It’s sort of like Dayton, something I like to complain about, but only because I remember how it used to be, and my attachment to that,” Deal said, speaking nostalgically of her experience with the business model of music’s past.
But while many things have changed, many others have remained the same, and during the Last Splash revisited 60-gig world tour, The Breeders naturally began working on new material. The sound is still heavily guitar based with the “atmospheric” rock instrumentation that lead Kurt Cobain to famously call The Breeders one of his favorite and most influential bands.
Described by Deal as being “almost half-way completed,” the new material has yet no technical or tangible name with recording plans still unmade — or, at least, untold, but the band will be debuting some of the material as they plan a month-long run that culminates with a show at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles with Neutral Milk Hotel.
And as they prepared to hit the road again, The Breeders — at least this incarnation of them — found themselves writing and rehearsing in the same basement in Dayton where it all relatively began for the group. But while Deal said she’s excited about the new material she quickly cast-off any speculation that the rehearsals are nearly as captivating as some might think.
“It’s so boring!” Deal confessed with humble laughter and a mock-stoner voice, “We just play things over and over again. It’s like, ‘Can we try that again? It just didn’t sound right, man. I mean, what are you doing in the first verse, anyway?’”
Despite the boredom though, Deal said that they do have some fun — like when McPherson laughs at her for singing a song in a high falsetto — a track that she swears makes her sound crazy. And amidst the fun and the boring times, there is still the twin-sister reality of two strong creative personalities that sometimes doesn’t exactly produce life’s melodies. “Kelley got really mad at me recently,” Deal said. “I became irritated so I put a lamp between us so I wouldn’t have to look at her during rehearsal. Now she and Josephine joke,” as she says with her best English accent, “You bettah waltch out with Kim or you might get lahmped.”
| The Breeders |
| Summit Music Hall | September 5 |
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