The Pixies reunited in 2004 for the sake of nostalgia and money. There can't be much doubt over this. They never hinted at new music (apart from the bizarre one-off soundtrack single "Bam Thwok") and unashamedly toured Doolittle to within an inch of its life. Last Friday, entirely apropos of nothing except perhaps a recent revival in the Breeder's fortunes with the 20th anniversary tour of Last Splash, Kim Deal quit a band that hasn't played a gig since late 2011.
The whole situation is pretty strange. Even if we accept that the Pixies split up again in 2011 (which, if they did, means Kim Deal quit a band that doesn't really exist anymore), they were still together for roughly the same amount of time as their original run of 1986-1993. What to make of a band whose nostalgia reunion tours lasted the same length of time as period when they were relevant and producing new music?
Having seen them a few times on the later jaunt (most notably in 2004 during their first return to the UK, a country that has venerated them as much, if not more, than the US) they seemed genuinely enthused to be up there, perhaps powered by the kick of the new. I can't speak for how they seemed on later tours, although the "Lost Cities" jaunt, in which they covered US cities they'd never played the whole of Doolittle to before, does not suggest a stream of fresh ideas.
I'm not sure what a Pixies line-up with no Kim Deal would even look like, as I don't think anyone's ever considered someone else wielding that bass guitar, but this is surely the acid test of how committed the remaining Pixies are to their reunion. Can they possibly recruit a new bassist to a band that last released new music in 1993 and has been inactive since 2011? Either this is the end for the reformed Pixies, in which case no one can possibly complain about a reunion run which, although it died a quiet and peaceful death, enabled a new generation to see a legendarily influential band whose influence grew and grew in the decade since they had disbanded at the top of their game (well, alright, Trompe Le Monde wasn't perfect), or this is a fresh beginning.
You could see some bands that have a decent amount of member turnover happily finding a replacement, but the Pixies?! They're Black Francis, Joey Santiago, Kim Deal and David Lovering. I am mildly appalled at the thought of a Pixies line-up that doesn't consist of those four people, as if a member of my family had just quit the entire family overnight. Given Francis' prodigious solo output even while the Pixies were back together (especially the fantastic Bluefinger), I suspect that the other major songwriter doesn't really have the appetite for the Pixies any more, and so this may well be the last we'll see of them.
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