The Pixies are a highly influential American alternative rock band formed in 1986. It cited to be the inspiration of many artists who came afterwards, which is impressing, considering the relatively short activity period which the band had – from its inception in 1986 and its break-up in 1993. In 2004 they got together again and have been active ever since. The initial line-up was changed only in 2013, when one of the founding members, Kim Deal (bass, vocals) left and was first replaced by Kim Shattuck and later by Paz Lenchantin. The rest of the band members are Black Francis (main vocals and rhythm guitar), Joey Santiago (guitar) and David Lovering (drums).
The first years
The band started formulating after the first acquaintance between the guitarist Joey Santiago and the songwriter Black Francis (real name Charles Thompson IV). On January 1986 the two published an advertisement for recruiting a bass player who likes both folk and punk. These odd demands had brought only one applicant – Kim Deal, who at that point had zero experience in playing the instrument, nor had one. However, she became a founding member of the band until 2013. After the threesome recruited the drummer David Lovering, they started rehearsing and performing in Boston. The name “Pixies” was chosen randomly from a dictionary – Santiago loved both the way the word sounded and its meaning – “Little mischievous elves”. In 1987 they were signed by the independent label 4AD and released a first 8-tracks album “Come on Pilgrim”, which was picked out of the 17 tracks demo they recorded for a modest $1,000.
Musical style and influences
The music of Pixies is defined by psychedelics, pop with noise element, hard rock, surf pop and rock – highly eclectic music, which was one of the reasons the band quickly earned a status of influential entity, inspiring many other artists afterwards. Black Francis is the most dominant songwriter in the band, while his texts are abstract and evolving around unusual subjects for pop-culture, including extraterrestrials, biblical violence, incest and other difficult subject. Santiago was influenced by the punk of the 70’s – Black Flag, David Bowie, Jimmy Hendrix, Iggy Pop and others, while other band members were inspired by country and folk stylistics. Hence, all the musicians had different tastes in music, which contributed to the variety of their own music. Francis Black sings most of the songs.
Although the Pixies were well-received in their homeland as well, they had more impact in England, Europe and in Israel. Some of the bands and artists who were inspired by the band are: Nirvana, Radiohead, Blur and many others. After their reunion in the 2000’s they had a renewed success, including many sold-out concerts around the world and the offer to record a song for a soundtrack of a major box office success “Shrek 2” (the song was recorded, but never appeared in the official soundtrack). Until now, the band released 6 albums, the last one – “Head Carrier”, in 2016.