Pixies
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They Said About the Pixies...


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"I was a huge Pixies fan, and I love both what Frank Black and the Breeders did afterwards." (Bob Mould in Guitar World, May 1997)

"When I heard the new Pixies record [Trompe Le Monde] I was kind of jealous. In its first four minutes the record lays out more ideas than some bands do in their careers. Pixies records are a big challenge. You've really got to dig in. a 6/8 break with a walkie-talkie? Critics might hone in on that, but I'm not sure if everyone gets it. And there's this great turn, a phrase, it's kind of like the "Popcorn" break, it just comes along at a perfect time." (Bob Mould in Musician)

"Some bands simply lifted the 'sound' wholesale. Others probably heard what could be done with music, and took their own sound one step further. Those are the ones who got it right (Pixies, MBV, maybe?)" (Bob Mould again)

"Dynamite really weren't recognized at all. Nor were the Pixies, not in America anyway. They were more in Europe. They gained a real cult following in Europe. But over here it seems nobody believed in the Pixies. It does seem that first come is last rewarded in many cases." (David Bowie in an Addicted To Noise interview)

"I felt very depressed the day I heard about the Pixies split. What a waste...I could see them becoming huge. When I heard NEVERMIND from Nirvana for the first time, I was really, really angry. This dynamics in the songs, this was a total Pixies rip-off. I would have like so much the Pixies and Sonic Youth to be at the top. The former have split, and the latter accept too much compromise." (David Bowie in a French interview for Les Inrockuptibles, June 1993)

"I was trying to write the ultimate pop song. I was basically trying to rip off the Pixies. I have to admit it [smiles]. When I heard the Pixies for the first time, I connected with that band so heavily I should have ben in that band - or at least in a Pixies cover band. We used their sense of dynamics, being soft and quiet and then loud and hard." (Kurt Cobain about how he wrote "Smells Like Teen Spirit", from a Rolling Stone interview by David Fricke, 01-27-94, reported by James R. Butcher)

"I really have no desire to read the lyrics my favorite rock stars write. I don't pay attention. My favorite album this year was the Breeders' Pod [from 1990]. Actually, I lied - I do listen to Kim Deal's lyrics. But I don't really pay attention to what people write. Even interviews, I just take with a grain of salt. The only ones I've ever read that I really liked were ones with the Pixies and Butthole Surfers -other than that I can't even think of any that I even finished." (Kurt Cobain again, in Spin, January 1992)

"I kind of don't think it's enough at this point for girls to start a band, and be punk. There aren't many girls right now who write really good songs. I wanna write as good as Charles from the Pixies, or Kurt, or Neil Young. It seems like girls always concentrate on lyrics. I read in Sassy about how girls get discouraged from math, and I think that affects songwriting, because math is a big part of arranging songs in your head." (Courtney Love of Hole, in Sassy, April 1992)

In an MTV report on Courtney Love, there was this excerpt:
"The book includes Love's diary entries and letters to the late Kurt Cobain, whom she once referred to as 'pixie meat'" (submitted by Raj Kale)

"I wanted Gil because of the work he'd done with The Pixies," Grohl recalls. "His knack for making a really fucked-up sound sound really... divine. He can sort of polish a really messy guitar sound so that it's still a messy guitar sound, but it's really clear and distinct. The clarity on all those records is really great. You can hear everything. It's so good." (Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters, from their official site's biography, submitted by Raj Kale)

"Frank Black is my vocal hero. And he's the best songwriter I know. You probably won't believe it but during the recording of the vocals for Enough Space he was sitting next to me. Our producer, Gil Norton, invited him. They're old friends. Norton produced many of the Pixies' records. But there he was, in the studio, when I had to sing. I was fuckin scared man! I thought: at least I have to try to impress him. So I yelled/screamed the vocals in stead of singing them, Frank used to be pretty good at that. Finally I had the courage to ask him if he wanted to yell/scream along on the track, but he didn't want to. He was busy rehearsing new material and wanted to save his voice. Besides he said that the song didn't needed his voice, it was good enough. It was one of the best moments of my life: Frank Black. THE Frank Black, saying that a Foo Fighters is good enough." (Dave Grohl again, in an interview for the Dutch magazine Oor, May 1997, translated and reported by Joris Gillet)

"The Pixies was the first band that I really started to take notice of time changes and stuff," says Daniel. "I totally know what people mean when they say that that band or this band sounds like a Pixies, that's the Pixies formula. I can understand them saying that about our first album...
But to me the thing about the Pixies that you can't copy just by doing quiet verses and loud choruses, or by doing weird time signatures, or whatever somewhat formulaic notions that they had, is the sort of loopiness. You kind of got the feeling that Black Francis was like, 'I don't give a fuck' when he wrote these songs. It's like, 'I'll just throw in whatever fucking nutty thing I can.' I mean that not by studio tricks, but by his songwriting. He just seems like very un-uptight... That can't be imitated." (Britt Daniel of Spoon, in an Addicted To Noise article)

"Definitely the Pixies are one of the bands that really blew my mind when I first moved to L.A. and started to discover cool music." (Rivers Cuomo of Weezer, in an Addicted To Noise interview)

"My formative years were spent learning all the hot licks of the metal masters. Later on, I got turned onto people like the Pixies' Joey Santiago. I took that in, but it could only go so deep. I had already been molded. Hot licks are in my bones." (Rivers Cuomo again, in Guitar World, March 1997)

When asked about guitar influences: "The Scorpions, without a doubt--and Ace Frehley. My formative years were spent learning all the hot licks of the metal masters. Later on, I got turned onto people like the Pixies' Joey Santiago. I took that in, but it could only go so deep. I had already been molded. Hot licks are in my bones." (Rivers Cuomo, one more time, reported by Bryan Bodell)

"- How important is it for you to keep your audiences off balance? - Not particularly important. Although I did like the way the Pixies did it. There was always enough surprise there to keep you coming back to hear more. You'd hear things three times instead of four, it was less mechanical and predictable. More curious and twisted. - Is the mood of the band dark? - I think there's a lot of humor in what we do. Like the Pixies in a way. There's a lot of black and twisted humor." (Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead, Guitar Magazine, October 1997)

"They had the same poll a year earlier and Pet Sounds won. It was No. 5 this year, so I mean it's all a bit irrelevant really," says Greenwood about the Q poll. "For instance, Revolver, which amazingly came in at No. 2, is -- in all sorts of ways -- far more the better album. It's like it doesn't really mean as much to me as some Pixies records I got when I was at college. People have just gone berserk, haven't they?" (Jonny Greenwood again, Toronto Sun, April 1998)

"I've been telling people, glibly, that there's so little guitar on the new stuff because there are only five Pixies albums, and there are other sounds out there. They hit at their instruments in striving to not be boring - whilst avoiding muso drudgery. Remember the advert The Pixies placed to get Kim Deal (the only applicant): 'Band into Husker Du and Peter, Paul and Mary seeks bass player. No Chops.'" (Jonny Greenwood again and again, describing their latest changes in music from the album "Kid A", reported by Antti)

"Who would your God Like Genius be?
T- Whoever turns up! How about the Pixies? They're reforming. We're playing with them.
J- Steven Malkmus. I've been listening to him loads."
(Interview of Thom Yorke and Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead for NME).

"No! That's just not right! The Pixies opening for us is like the Beatles opening for us. I won't allow it. There's no way we can follow the Pixies!" (Thom Yorke, happy to be on the Coachella festival 2004 bill, but visibly affected when informed of the Pixies reunion plans to play before them, Urb Magazine, November 2003).

"When I was in school, the Pixies and R.E.M. changed my life" (Thom Yorke during the encore of Radiohead's set at Coachella Festival, May 1 2004 - Radiohead played just after the Pixies)

"If we were all into the Pixies and nothing else, then it would be pretty obvious what the band would sound like." (Thom Yorke, again, in an Addicted To Noise interview)

"The greatest band ever" (Thom Yorke again and again, Guitar World Magazine, April 1998)

"We wanted to make a crossing of Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' and The Pixies." (Ed O'Brien of Radiohead, about their song Paranoid Android, Humo, July 1997)

"The Pixies were also a big one for me, as were Sonic Youth." (Grant Lee Phillips of Grant Lee Buffalo, in Alternative Press, November 1996)

"I can trace the source of my disenchantment with rock music to the break-up of my favourite-ever band, the Pixies." (Graham Linehan, former UK rock critic, in Mojo, March 1995)

"I think Stone Temple Pilots, Nirvana, _and_ Pearl Jam actually owe something to Jane's Addiction and the Pixies." (Scott Weiland responding to comparisons of Stone Temple Pilots and Pearl Jam, HUH Magazine, 1995, reported by Gavin)

"Steve Albini has just been one of the most seminal figures for me in music. He made two of my favorite records of all time: The Pixies' Surfer Rosa and Pod, the Breeders' first record. Just working with him--that was pressure." (Gavin Rossdale of Bush, from a Mr. Showbiz interview, November 1996, reported by Raj Kale)

"I'm not good enough to show my influences where they really are. I can't quite appropriate well enough. I love the Pixies, but I still can't sound like them." (Gavin Rossdale again, in SPIN, December 1996)

"I didn't get to be in the Pixies, but I certainly got to work with a couple of people who worked with them." (Gavin Rosdale, one more time, on MTV)

"Yeah, they're the guys that probably think they're changing the world, but I could tell him he's just written a Pixies song. I'd have more respect for them if they were calculated careerists that knew, 'Yeah we're ripping them off'" (Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails speaking about... Bush, in a Raygun 1997 interview)

"To be honest, the Pixies allow me to best express my obsessions." (Vaughan Oliver, V23 designer, from a Premonition interview, December 1991, translated from the French by Tara)

"[Black Francis] can incorporate humor into a serious song. I saw him play solo in London last year. His songs are so strong with just a guitar. I enjoyed them even more than the Pixies, who I already like a lot. It's not for me to say I sound like them, but he's probably been an influence. I admire him." (Polly Jean Harvey in Puncture, October 1992)

"Keep diggin' for fire, we love you." (Bono of U2 on a note sent to the Pixies during their 1990 joined tour, after a Dublin show)

"I love that record now. Before, I saw it as all these groups saying 'O.K. Uncle Neil, time for that rocking chair'. I love all those guys on the record - The Pixies, Sonic Youth and that Nick Cave guy in particular. When I heard it, it really touched me." (Neil Young speaking about the The Bridge tribute album, in VOX, 1990)

"We liked the Pixies and the Breeders' Pod album and decided that was what we wanted to do. Not mimic them, but play hard music. I wanted to feel the power of playing electric guitar." (Nina Gordon of Veruca Salt in The Third Word, January/February 1994)

"That's what I mean, it makes you take a sharp intake of breath, it's exciting in a way I haven't felt since I first heard the Pixies." (Craig Ward of dEUS in Volume 17, reported by Patrick Asselman)

"I'd like, eventually, to write as much stuff as Donna and Justine do, and be as good as them. I'd also like to... be in a band with my sister - like, when the Pixies were around and Kim Deal went off and did the Breeders at the same time, I wanna do that - cos my sister's a brilliant guitarist." (Elastica's bassist Sheila Chipperfield in Volume 17, reported by Patrick Asselman)
Note: Sheila played the bass line of "Gigantic" when she (successfully) auditionned for replacing Annie Holland.

"I like it when people say 'I like your guitar lines, I really want to play something like that'. 'Cos I remember looking at Kim Deal and her basslines for the Pixies, then she went off to form her own band and it made me think 'yeah, I can do that'." (Donna Matthews of Elastica, in Grok Newsmagazine, 1996)

"It was as much a surprise to us as it was to anybody else. We'd kind of heard just before it was released that they were doing it, but it was a wild card. But I've always liked them so it was even more flattering - a cover by a band that you actually respect anyway. Anybody doing a cover is flattering - any-body; it can only be a compliment. But when it's by a band that you've already bought their records, it's even moreso." (Jim Reid of Jesus & Mary Chain, about Head On covered by the Pixies, in On The Street, May 1995)

"The reality is that Steve Albini has a pathological necessity to ruin everything in his surroundings. It has gotten to the point where he laughs at all of the albums he has made and of the bands he has worked with. He thinks that "Surfer Rosa" that he produced for the Pixies is a piece of shit. What kind of person is that?" (Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins, in Spanish magazine ABC, 1996)

"I like the way their songs were discordant, weird, and then went into beautiful chords - that switch from the bizarre to the harmonious is really vibey. And how the vocals worked and gelled was quite mad." (Gaz Coombes from Supergrass, Melody Maker, October 1997)

"I found them completely inspirational; the perfect balance between dischord and pop. They influenced how I look at songs." (Paul Smith from Silver Sun, Melody Maker, October 1997)

"If Satan had a band he'd have been in The Pixies. The world wouldn't have been ready for Nirvana without them and they provided equal opportunities for bald, fat madmen in rock." (Alex Lee from Strangelove, Melody Maker, October 1997)

"Their songs were a bit different because they had twisted choruses and weird harmonies. They were a bit odd... but loveable." (Pat Wilksten from The Wannadies, Melody Maker, October 1997)

"The Pixies were just way ahead of their time. They are one of the few bands who have managed to combine the biggest noises with the biggest tunes." (Chris McCormack from 3 Colours Red, Melody Maker, October 1997)

"Gil [Norton] is probably one of the two or three most influential producers of the last 10 or 15 years. He doesn't get the credit for that. But Nirvana changed music, and Kurt was really clear about how much he listened to those Pixies records. And Gil did those records. He was able to focus the band into something where you could hear those songs. Doolittle floors me to this day. Listen to "Debaser" - it's a stunning song. "Monkey Gone To Heaven" is out of this world." (Adam Duritz from Counting Crows)

"Adam, Larry, Bono, The Edge, all had their own dressing rooms. And then, the Pixies dressing room said "opening band". Can you believe that?" (Jimmy Pop Ali from the Bloodhoung Gang, speaking about the Pixies opening for U2, in a 99.9 The Buzz interview)

"The Pixies were probably the most influential band in the last 20 years. Doolittle changed my life. When Doolittle came out, I almost quit my job that day. I was working in downtown San Francisco. At lunch time I bought the tape and started listening to it on my Walkman, walking back to work in my suit and my little ponytail, got to a phone, called in sick. I got on a city bus, rode around for four hours listening to that. I went home that night, told my first wife I was gonna start a new band. And then I started a country band. But it wasn't the matter of doing that type of music. It was just...man, there's still viable music coming out now, music that has its own voice. And if they can do it, I can do it too." (Art Alexakis from Everclear, Addicted To Noise)

"I'm obviously such a huge fan -- I think on our last album (1996's Wholesale Meats And Fish) there were some really, really obvious references to the Pixies." (Kay Handley from Letters To Cleo, Addicted To Noise)

"We fell in love as bands. We fell in love, we toured together -- we called home together. We were so young... we even all used to sing songs on the tour bus together to pass time. Having a lousy opener is depressing, because you end up just sitting there, wondering why you do what you do. But watching the Pixies every night was exhausting... it felt like we were actually playing another show." (Kristin Hersh from Throwing Muses, Addicted To Noise)

"When we were all 18, the big deal for bands in Boston was to make a lot of noise. The Pixies totally dropped this drum and bass sound and more or less scared the shit out of everybody. I'd never seen a band play so quietly without being fragile. They were so simple, but so striking, too. They're so legendary to me." (Kristin Hersh again, Addicted To Noise)

"The Pixies were definitely what broke me away from my childhood, but I would say their third album Doolittle and Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation were pinnacles for me." (Jason Taylor of the band Made, reported by Raj Kale)

"I formed White Town in 1989 after seeing a brill Pixies gig. My reasoning was that Black Francis was a porker and could get away with playing noisy pop music so maybe I could as well?" (Jyoti of White Town, on their official biography, reported by Richard Miske)

"I used to be into prog-rock like Rush and Yes. When I got to college, I got into indie rock and stuff like the Pixies and realized it was more about simplicity." (Keith Gendel from Papas Fritas, Webnoize)

"I worked with Gil Norton because he produced The Pixies. I know that in some of my guitar work I definitely rip them off. I owe you money guys... sorry!" (Debbie Smith from Echobelly, in an interview for a French rockumentary)

"I believe the Pixies actually do the things they sing about in their songs. People think they just loaf about in their Macy's clothes and their middle-class homes eating eight-stacks of pancakes with maple syrup. But I'm convinced they're actually having blender sex or shoving earth-drilling equipment into the reproductive organs of farm animals." (Chris Morris, British humorist who made the Motherbanger Pixies parody, Select, 1989)

"I listen to music all the time when I write--I almost can't write without music--and what I'm listening to affects the way that I write. Some parts of Vurt, were ultimately to do with The Pixies--whom I was mad about at the time" (British sci-fi writer Jeff Noon, Alternative X)

"I think people like the Pixies and Kurt [Cobain] are very special and I think that's very obvious from listening to them, not particularly what they're singing either but HOW they're singing it, the sheer energy and attitude behind it." (Jeff Noon again, Geek, 1997)

"While I was in Killing Joke, we were on tour in Europe opening for the Pixies. We were getting ready to play for 7,000 people in Barcelona, and the other guys in the band were like, how can we really fuck with the Pixies? How can we totally fuck them up? They wanted to cut the cables, or make the amps explode. I'm like, guys what the fuck? Why don't we fuck 'em up in a positive way by playing "Wardance" or "Eighties" intstead of all those obscure b-sides? Yeah, positive energy, and it was the best Killing Joke set we'd done." (Martin Atkins, former Killing Joke and now Pigface guitarist, Procession, 1995)

"I don't know that there's much out there deserving of special mention, anyway. I haven't heard a Pixies or anything really special in a long time." (Todd Spahr of The Gravy, The Noise)

We're all big Pixies fans, and we're amazed how Frank Black could sing in a completely different way on each song." (Alexis Fleisig of Girls Vs. Boys, 1998)

"When we started we wanted to sound like the Pixies" (Damon Albarn of Blur, speaking about their 1997 eponymous album, in Spin)

MTV man: ďWhat do you think about this new music? Like nu-metal?"
Jonny: "It's not really my bag."
Chris: "I like Chester Bennington's hair. But the best bands aren't necessarily the biggest. Like the Pixies."
MTV man: ďAh. The Breeders are good."
Chris: "They're good. But they're not the Pixies."
(Chris Martin from Coldplay, NME, September 2002)

"America is always the stuff of legend to British bands because itís just so massive. But Iím glad we can go [on tour there] since all of our favorite music comes from there, like Bob Dylan and the Pixies." (Chris Martin from Coldplay, Sound & Vision, July 2001)

"I don't know - I know that we're lucky enough to be playing with the Pixies, which is a dream come true really, and who knows, maybe something happens with the band, but you know it's more fun to be spontaneous with that, maybe it happens like a surprise and not anything that's said before, you know!" (Albert Hammond Jr from The Strokes, March 2004)

"Do you think the quality of music is better in Detroit than over here [UK]?
- Yeah. We're spoiled, more for rock'n'roll. You guys are untouchable when it comes to Radiohead; we have the Pixies, you guys have Radiohead. Radiohead are their own thing, they aren't a genre. The Pixies aren't grunge or anything - they're the Pixies. And they both wrote amazing songs, and they sound like that band."
(Jason Stollsteimer from The Von Bondies, A Face In The Crowd, 2002)

"Nobody will look back at The Cramps or Radiohead in twenty years and say 'What were you thinking?' Radiohead had something special. Or The Pixies. Does anyone go back and say 'We were stupid for listening to The Pixies.' That stuff is classic." (Jason Stollsteimer from The Von Bondies, Free Williamsburg, April 2003)

"VH1: Heathen has a fair amount of cover songs. Thereís the Young tune, and 'I Took a Trip on a Gemini Spaceship' by the rather obscure Legendary Stardust Cowboy. And thereís a Pixies tune, too: 'Cactus.' Are you a fan?
Bowie: They supported us quite a lot when we were Tin Machine. I know Charles pretty well. I always thought of him as one of the most underestimated writers in American bands. If thereís someone I particularly admire I often try to do something to get them a little better known than they are.
VH1: Why this song?
Bowie: It was arbitrary. Heís written so many great songs it would be easy to find one to cover. I just kind of liked it. I guess I did it because itís a little more obscure. Itís a great rocker."
(David Bowie, VH1, 2002)

"I'd been wanting to sound like the Fall or the Swell Maps, these kind of bands and, well, the Pixies and the Velvet Underground too, but it was trying to live up to these things that were hip then [laughs], in those urban areas." (Stephen Malkmus speaking about Pavement's Slanted And Enchanted, Spin, June 2003)

"Paul's really into the Pixies and Frank Black, TransAm, others like Godspeed and contemporary hip-hop, while Sam, also into the Pixies, listens to Shellac and Low." (Carlos D. from Interpol about his bandmates Paul Banks and Samuel Fogarino, DrownedInTheSound.com, May 2001)

"The Pixies are the single most influential band on my songwriting. Or should I say Charles Thompson [aka Black Francis, aka Frank Black - ed.] is the single most influential musician on my songwriting. His songwriting, dynamics, lyrics, structures are nothing short of brilliant." (Richard Millang from Bethany Curve, March 2003)

"The Pixies were a huge influence [on us] and Radiohead's been a huge influence." (Dave Hamelin from The Stills, Pop Matters, January 2004)

"IndiePopRock.net: Why have you named the band "Eiffel"?
Romain: Actually, we were looking for an easy name. <...> "Eiffel", it may sound like it's obvious. More, it's cool because there's a song from a band that we like, the Pixies, which is named "Alec Eiffel", a sort of hymn to aerodynamism. There's no more sense than this.
IPR.net: the Pixies and the Beatles are often reported to be amongst your influences. What do you think?
R : <...>We do not want to be the new Pixies. There's other stuff. There are all that happened in the 60's, the birth of rock, the Pixies because it was a sort of rebirth of more "rock" things, but done a brand new way." (Romain Humeau from French band Eiffel, July 2001, translated from the French)

"Empire: What's the perfect soundtrack to a 15th birthday?
D.R.: The Strokes would definitely be on it. I'd love to hear The Libertines do Happy Birthday. That'd be awesome 'cos they're quite a hard punk, rock and roll band. They're really good. Jet definitely. Rollover DJ. The Pixies definitely. "
(Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe interviewed for Empire magazine, 2004):

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Last Updated 05-24-2004