Artists - Where Is My Mind?
you blinked you missed them, and if you missed them, well,
you missed out, because in their six years of existence the
Pixies took a chainsaw to the musical establishment, striking
a blow for independent labels and ushering in the format we
now know as "alternative music." Everything that has become
a musical cliché today - loud/soft dynamics, primal screaming
as vocal expression, swirling, bludgeoning waves of guitar
- were for the most part pioneered by the Pixies when they
stumbled out of the Boston club circuit in 1987. As was the
case for most of their six-year existence, the Pixies were
just too far ahead of their time for their own good, sonic
aliens with loud guitars and a tubby bipolar vocalist who
could peel the paint off walls with his tire-screeching yell.
in 1987 nobody seemed to care.
New Kids on the Block and folkish outings from U2 and Tracy
Chapman ruled the charts. So, when 4AD released the Pixies'
first album, Come on Pilgrim, nobody was quite sure
what to make of it.
- Black Francis (now Frank Black) on vocals and guitar, Joey
Santiago on lead, David Lowering on the drums and Kim Deal
(remember The Breeders?) on bass - were all of those things
and more, but above all they were groundbreaking. Walls were
pushed back when they played, landscapes were created and
then blown apart and put back together again in jagged pieces.
time the Pixies released their second album, 1988's Surfer
Rosa, people had stopped covering their ears long enough
to get a good listen. Pretty soon, a cult following formed
and the Pixies were making a name for themselves outside of
1989's Doolittle - and everything changed. With bone
jarring songs like "Debaser", "Wave of Mutilation", "Gouge
Away", "Tame" and even a few mini-cross over ditties like
"Here Comes Your Man" and "Monkey Gone to Heaven", the Pixies
became in-stant torch bearers for college rock on par with
their brethren from Athens, the Pixies lacked the even keel
to make it in the mainstream. Too volatile musically to be
pigeon-holed into one genre, they stuck to their indie-roots
and released two more great albums, 1990's "Bossanova" and
1991's "Trompe Le Monde" Then, near the pinnacle of their
career, they broke up, which makes sense - at least in Pixie-land.
with these guys, there was never any point of reference. There
was no sense of deja vu because you hadn't heard anything
quite like this before.
Beach Boys meet Black Sabbath?
the full brunt of the Pixies influence probably wasn't felt
until a noisy three-piece out of Seattle dropped a aural bomb
on the world with their second album, "Nevermind." That band
was Nirvana and from the day Kurt Cobain was thrust into the
limelight as the savior of a lost generation he swore all
he was really trying to do was "make a Pixies album."
on Nirvana's final studio album, the under-appreciated In
Utero, the band brought in Steve Albini - the man who
produced the Pixies first album.
wasn't the only group inspired to pick up the guitar by the
Pixies, which is evident by the 15 bands that contribute to
the just-released tribute album, Where is my Mind?
Where is my Mind? offers mostly straight-forward interpretations
of some of the Pixies biggest non-hits by Eve 6 ("Allison"),
Weezer ("Velouria") and Superdrag ("Wave of Mutilation"),
there are excep-tions. Reel Big Fish offer a surprisingly
techno-spliced "Gigantic", Nada Surf fade in with a dreamy
"Where is my Mind?" and a band called Far deconstructs "Monkey
Gone to Heaven" to its bare bones.
H gets the gold star for effort, however, on their rendition
of the Pixies scream therapy romp, "Tame". The spirit is willing
and the guitars more than able but try as he might, Scott
Lucas can't match Black Francis in the rage department, forcing
him to opt instead for the ragged, subdued growl that closes
out the track.
all it's a nice try, and nicer still that bands with clout
are taking time to remember their forefathers. But in the
end, all it really does is remind us that the originals were
so much better, and that there will never be another band
quite like the Pixies.