Pixies kick off North American tour after release of 2 EPs

Stephanie Sokol for The Pit

The Pixies surprised fans with the release of EPs 1 and 2 in September and January, the first new music from the band after a 20-year recording hiatus.

FROM LEFT: Joey Santiago, Black Francis, David Lovering. Photo/PIXIES
FROM LEFT: Joey Santiago, Black Francis, David Lovering. Photo/PIXIES

“As a magician, I won’t reveal any secrets, but as EP 1 suggested, there might be an EP 2, and EP 2 suggests a possible EP 3. So I’ll just leave it there,” Drummer David Lovering said.

Formed in 1986 in Boston, Mass., Lovering, vocalist Black (Charles) Francis, guitarist Joey Santiago and bassist Kim Deal were the original members of the indie and alternative-rock group.

After years apart, the Pixies began a reunion tour in 2004. What was intended to be one year turned into seven, and eventually the demand from fans led to yet another tour, which went until 2012.

During those years on the road, the Pixies discussed making more music.

“Our management decided, ‘why don’t we just go with an EP rather than just have one big album?’ Our EPs were big surprises as well, and as a magician, I like surprises,” Lovering said. “So I think we discovered a fun way where we were able to do it all ourselves.”

Pixies chose the EP route because they had many songs written and were not on a label, in addition to the reduction of demand for physical album copies. Lovering said the group has been going more digital, and likes hearing from fans via their website.

When it came time to record in June 2013, there was a bump in the road as Deal left the band.  Pixies didn’t let that stand in their way though.

“I think (Kim leaving) had impact as where the three guys, Charles, Joe and I worked a lot harder,” Lovering said.

“We bonded a little more, and Joe and I decided to pick up more vocals,

David Lovering, drummer for the Pixies. Photo/PIXIES
David Lovering, drummer for the Pixies. Photo/PIXIES

because we were lacking Kim. Since we were lacking her vocals, we did double duty on that, just to fulfill the Pixie theme. That was about the only change that I see—a lot more work, and more vocals.”

Writing songs for the album was a Pixies collaboration. Francis did most of the writing, throwing ideas off of other members. The manager told them to produce what they would want their music to sound like, and having not recorded in a long time, they just went with what felt right, according to Lovering.

The group is now on their North American tour, performing works off their older and current albums, with new bassist, Paz Lenchantin. Lovering said they got back into the swing of performing, and after about five shows, are having fun with it.

As far as the new material goes, Lovering said it’s very different, but so were all of the Pixies’ other albums.At shows, he enjoys playing old stuff, including music from Santa Rosa and other earlier albums, as much as songs off the new EPs. Among his favorites are “Indie Cindy,” “Magdelina,” “Vamos” and “The Navajo Know.”

“Indie Cindy is very fun to play because it’s very complicated, and I like complicated, hard things,” Lovering said. “Magdelina’s a nice, groovy new one to play. As far as old material, Vamos is fun, The Navajo Know is fun, I think most of the songs that are really rock are the ones I enjoy playing most.”

Pixies will perform at the Fillmore in Detroit Feb. 8. For Lovering, a favorite part of touring is the food, so he looks forward to stopping at Greektown for a taste of Detroit.

“I think with our new bassist, the rhythm section is kick-ass,” Lovering said. “But Paz is so good, she’s making me play better. Because of that, the rhythm section is very powerful, and we’re sounding better than ever. The vocals are good as well. I think we’re sounding the best that we’ve sounded.”

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