Pixies and “Trompe le Monde”: pointing to their separation

The goblins were falling apart. The first evidence can be found in “Trompe le Monde”, which arrived on September 23, 1991, with hardly any notable contributions from Kim Deal.

He is sad conclusion It was as daunting as it was surprising. They had recently moved from strength to strength on 1988’s “Surfer Rosa” and 1989’s “Doolittle,” fusing frontman Black Francis’s deliriously no-nonsense lyrical approach, Deal’s tight bass and airy call-and-response vocals, guitar furious of Joey Santiago and the blow of David Lovering. tempo changes.

“Bossanova” didn’t sell as many in 1990, but it charted higher than the platinum-certified Doolittle, especially in the UK, where the Pixies’ third LP shot to No. 3. “Trompe le Monde” was followed by an invite to open for U2 on their extensive Zoo TV tour.

So how come the Pixies ran out of time, patience, and worst of all, steam?

“Our shows were still full, but we weren’t moving up or anything. Maybe we were getting a bit boring,” Francis told Spin 10 years later. “We were on this boring tour, nothing against U2, but an opening slot is thankless. We weren’t getting much of a reaction and were feeling a bit tense, especially me. I needed to get away from that band and those people.”

Founded in Boston in 1986, the Pixies first found fame abroad and never became a mainstream band in their home country. Instead, what they did was knock down the last door that stood between the so-called college rock of the ’80s and the wave of alternative rock that would come in the next decade.

They inspired countless bands. An ability to follow contemplative verses with groundbreaking choruses, in particular, inspired his most influential fan, Kurt Cobain from Nirvana, to soft and loud greatness.

Along the way, Deal was credited with only two co-authors (“Gigantic” in Surfer Rosa and “Silver” in Doolittle), as Francis, Francis-born Charles Michael Kittredge Thompson IV, took the creative reins. Instead, initially at least, Deal functioned as the perfect complement, a key counterweight.

Francis, Santiago and Lovering then moved to Los Angeles before Bossanova, while the restless Deal stayed in the UK to complete a debut project for The Breeders, a new side project centered around her own work. She and Francis did not get along; she is said to have thrown a guitar at him during a show in Stuttgart. By the time they got to the next show three nights later, the Pixies had begun to fall apart.

“Kim was headstrong and wanted to put her own songs in, explore her own world,” Santiago told Mojo in 1997. “Before we did ‘Bossanova,’ we were even going to fire her, after a concert in Frankfurt where we found her hanging out. in her hotel room, with no intention of playing. But our lawyer talked us into trying to work it out, to give him a warning or something.”

Santiago added, “Kim couldn’t believe I was a part of it, but I told her she didn’t seem happy, so why hang around? In the end, Kim realized that it was Charles’s bag, that he was the singer. — but they stopped talking for a bit after that.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, “Trompe le Monde” came off as something made by a bickering couple who still live together, but only in deathly silence.

Deal’s presence was “less and less, especially when we did Trompe le Monde,” producer Gil Norton lamented on Spin. “I wasn’t happy at the end of that, because there was a song, ‘Bird Dream of the Olympus Mons’, that I thought was perfect for her to sing. Charles didn’t want her to sing it. I don’t want her to have a big imprint on the songs.”

Fans still rallied around the limping Pixies. “Planet of Sound” became a Top 30 hit in the UK, while “Letter to Memphis” and a cover of the Jesus and Mary Chain song “Head On” reached No. 6 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. . But Francis often sounded like he’d rather be in outer space than deal with the real-world problems that consume his band.

The most revealing song might be “U-Mass,” with its narrative return to the college campus where Francis first met Santiago. The riff also dates back to that time, long before Deal was a part of things.

“Kim and I just didn’t get along after a while,” Francis later reflected. “She always had her own ambitions and she felt comfortable in a leadership role in her other band. It must have been hard for her to be in a band where some other guy was always pulling the reins on her.”

The first leg of U2’s Zoo TV tour ended in April 1992 in Vancouver. So, for all intents and purposes, the Pixies did it, although no one knew it yet.

“We all went home,” Santiago told Mojo. “Everyone was under the impression that we were taking a year off, like a sabbatical, but it never came to that. Charles started doing his own album, like Frank Black, and Kim started doing The Breeders’.

Deal said he never had a clear idea of ​​what was going on with the Pixies. He was in San Francisco, working on his side band’s second studio album when he heard the Pixies were no more.

“Charles said something about taking a sabbatical. I was like, ‘Oh, for how long?’ And he’s like, ‘I think a gap year is a year,'” Deal told Spin. “And that was the last conversation we had, the last time we spoke, and the last sentence was, ‘I think a gap year is a year.’ Stupid. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but that’s a fucking stupid last sentence.”

Santiago said he received a direct phone call from Francis with the news. However, the others were reportedly contacted by fax, causing a firestorm of controversy.

“Charles called out of the blue at my girlfriend’s house to say he was splitting from the band and that he had sent a fax to Kim and Dave,” Santiago told Mojo. “You really have to ask Charles why he broke up. I think he would tell you that it was normal, that bands don’t last forever. Maybe he just liked being Frank Black instead of Black Francis or he felt he had to move on. But I’m sure the tension between Kim and Charles had something to do with it.”

Francis hadn’t spoken to Deal in some time and apparently wasn’t about to start. “If he had called a meeting or something, then it would have turned into a big discussion,” he told The New York Times in 2004. “’Oh, come on, Charles. Don’t do this right now. . And he just wasn’t up for it. I was, like, I’m done. I finished. Bye. There is no discussion, do you know what I mean?

Both Francis and Deal still had more to say: “Last Splash” would go on to become The Breeders’ biggest-selling album, while Frank Black was a top 10 hit in the UK, but not between them.

“It wasn’t like we ended up in a constant fistfight or argument,” Santiago told Mojo. “It was more unspoken tension. Kim called me on the phone and said, ‘Did you know the Pixies just broke up?’ and I was like, ‘I’d be more surprised if we got back together.'”

They did, even though it was nearly a dozen years later. Initially, Deal was part of the lineup, as they put on a series of well-received reunion tours. They even released a song written and sung by Deal, “Bam Thwok.” But a full-length album never materialized during this era, and by 2013 it was gone again.

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Pixies and “Trompe le Monde”: pointing to their separation

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