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Wednesday, October 22, 2014 
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Pixies Reunite For U.S., European Tours

After months of rumors — and over a decade since disbanding — The Pixies have officially confirmed an 11-city U.S. reunion tour, culminating at Coachella Festival on May 1st. The touring band will include all four original members — singer/guitarist Black Francis (now known as Frank Black, real name Charles Thompson), bassist/singer Kim Deal, guitarist Joey Santiago and drummer David Lovering — playing live together for the first time since U2's 1992 "Zoo TV" tour, where the band was the opening act for the initial U.S. leg. The Pixies officially broke up the following year.

After Coachella, the pioneering Boston-based pop-punk band will embark on a month-and-a-half-long European tour, whose unconfirmed dates reportedly include T in the Park Festival near Glasgow on July 10th and two nights at London Brixton Academy.

Bandleader Frank Black first mentioned the possibility of a Pixies reunion last summer on London's XFM Radio, saying the band had been playing together informally and that his dreams of a reunion were "like those schoolboy dreams when you don't do your homework and you don't study for the test. I'm at the gig and we're hanging out, but it's an utter failure and I don't know the songs and hardly anyone turns up for the gig and people walk out."

Reaction from fans was intense, and late last year rumors began to circulate that the Pixies might play Coachella (the same festival, incidentally, where the Stooges kicked off their reunion tour last year).

Up until now, a major stumbling block has been whether Kim Deal would participate in a Pixies reunion, since band members Black, Santiago and Lovering have remained close since the break-up. (Santiago has played guitar on several Frank Black and the Catholics albums, while Lovering opened for Black's tour with his science/magic act in 2002.)

It is likely that the band's set list will mostly comprise songs from The Pixies' glory days; a greatest-hits album is being released this year. Band spokesperson Heidi Ellen Robinson Fitzgerald said, "Their focus, understandably for a group that has not played together in more than a decade, is on re-establishing their relationships, playing together, and getting ready for this upcoming tour, with as few distractions as possible. I can tell you that this particular cycle of their reunion will be all about the live performance."

The 4AD label is planning to release a DVD this year with eight Pixies videos, live concert footage from a 1988 London concert at the Town and Country Club, and a Pixies documentary called Gouge, which features interviews with Thom Yorke, David Bowie, Bono and other high-profile fans. A 23-track greatest-hits album is also in the works for this year, with remixed versions of "Debaser," "Here Comes Your Man," "Gigantic," "Allison," "Nimrod's Son," "Dig for Fire," and "Monkey Gone to Heaven."

The Pixies formed in Boston in 1986, pioneering a noisy but tuneful punk sound, defined by abstract lyrics, sudden loud-soft dynamic shifts and powerful guitar hooks. The band released four albums and an EP during its tumultuous career.

An eight song EP, Come On Pilgrim, recorded at Boston's Fort Apache in 1987, laid the groundwork for the group's twisted, hardcore surf sound and caught the attention of 4AD, which released it and all subsequent Pixies albums. Pilgrim was followed a year later by Surfer Rosa, which included such defining tracks as the eerie "Where Is My Mind?," "Bone Machine" and the first Black/Deal collaboration "Gigantic."

In 1989, the Pixies released Doolittle, named by the NME as "Second Best Album Ever" and considered the band's best album. Its tracks "Monkey Gone to Heaven," "Debaser" and "Here Comes Your Man" brought the Pixies their widest audience. It was followed by Bossanova ("Velouria," "Is She Weird") in 1990 and Trompe Le Monde ("Alec Eiffel") in 1991.

The group was highly influential during its first go-round; Kurt Cobain publicly acknowledged Nirvana's debt to them, and their fingerprints are all over the indie-rock scene that has continued to flower. Tensions between band members grew in the early 1990s, mostly because Kim Deal wanted to write more songs for the band than she was allowed to. By 1993 when the Pixies were dissolved — by Black sending a fax to the other band members — both Black and Deal were involved in other projects, Black with his first solo record and Deal with The Breeders. — Jennifer Kelly [Thursday, February 5, 2004]


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