LOS ANGELES — Six months after the Pixies played their first show in 12 years, the reunion is still going strong and their tour continues to sell out in every city. About the only question remaining is whether a new album will follow.
That all depends on one person.
"I will do one if we can get Diane Warren to write us like five songs," Pixies singer/guitarist Frank Black joked of the writer behind sappy tunes for 'NSYNC, Kelly Clarkson and Aerosmith, among others. "I just kind of want to go, 'Get me a message song,' and then just have it delivered. 'Get me an abstract surrealist song. Just get me one.' "
The truth is the Pixies have yet to discuss recording what would be the influential band's sixth studio release. Black, singer/bassist Kim Deal, guitarist Joey Santiago and drummer David Lovering do have some concerns — ruining their legacy being chief among them.
"As a listener, I'm prepared to love a band and then 12 years later they come up with a new album and it's just like, 'Eh,' " Deal said, surrounded by her bandmates backstage at a recent tour stop. "I do that even if the album's OK even. I don't hate it or anything, but I don't [get excited]."
Currently unsigned, the Pixies would probably have to negotiate with record labels, which is hardly appealing. Perhaps the band also fears the friction that can come along with recording, as Black has said the reunion would not have been as easy if the foursome had gone into a studio for a long period of time first.
The Pixies did record one song before the tour, "Bam Thwok," which was intended for the "Shrek 2" soundtrack but was instead released on iTunes. The reunited band has since recorded a second song while touring Europe this summer.
"We requested tape [as opposed to recording on computers, which is more common these days,] and they had to ship the tape machine in from 200 miles away," recalled Black, who was known as Black Francis during the Pixies' initial tenure. "It was in Vienna, which is just a stone's throw from where tape machines used to be made in Switzerland. They stopped making them, but they got one for us. ... They had to, like, haul it in by mule."
The song, a cover of the late Warren Zevon's "Ain't That Pretty at All," will be released October 19 on Enjoy Every Sandwich - The Songs of Warren Zevon. Bruce Springsteen, Pete Yorn, Bob Dylan, Billy Bob Thornton and even Adam Sandler contributed songs to the tribute album.
"Warren's son, Jordan, contacted us, and when somebody like that says this is going to be special for him, then it's nice to do," Deal said.
"I liked Warren. Who doesn't like Warren?" Black said. "We took some liberties, but he kind of wrote the song in a way that you could take liberties with it. It's a very open kind of piece."
Aside from the Zevon tune, Pixies fans can get their fix, sort of, from Black's Frank Black Francis, due October 12. The two-disc set will feature one disc of 15 pre-Pixies demos and another of 13 new versions of Pixies classics re-recorded with Andy Diagram and Keith Moline of Two Pale Boys.
"It's just some old demo time-capsule thing, just me and a Walkman, and then I redid a couple songs so that people wouldn't feel ripped off," Black said.
The singer has also completed the acoustic Honeycomb, a record he made in Nashville with several noted session musicians
"I'm at the mercy of the record business, so I have no idea [when it will be released]," Black said. "All I know is that every time I bring it up, people get grouchy and just want to talk about the Pixies tour."
As for the tour, the Pixies believe they sound even better than they did 12 years ago. "We're like a fine wine," joked Lovering, who keeps his bandmates entertained backstage with his magic tricks (he requests a deck of cards in their dressing room at each tour stop).
The Pixies also insist they're enjoying themselves and getting along, and judging by their playfulness backstage, that's easy to believe.
"It's really pretty easy when you go to the shows and everybody is so happy to see you," said Deal, who noted the many girls and teenagers who are attending their shows. "It makes everything really easy to do and a joy to do."
For a more in-depth interview with Black, check out "The Pixies: Living Large."
Pixies tour dates:
- 9/28 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Kingsbury Hall
- 9/30 - Denver, CO @ Magness Arena
- 10/1 - Kansas City, MO @ Uptown Theatre
- 10/2 - Lincoln, NE @ Pershing Auditorium
- 10/4 - Columbus, OH @ Veterans Memorial Auditorium
- 10/5 - Columbia, MO @ Hearnes Center
- 10/6 - Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium
- 10/8 - Tampa, FL @ USF Sun Dome
- 10/9 - Boca Raton, FL @ Mizner Park Amphitheatre
- 10/10 - Orlando, FL @ Hard Rock Live
- 10/12 - Birmingham, AL @ Boutwell Auditorium
- 10/13 - Atlanta, GA @ Fox Theatre
- 10/14 - Atlanta, GA @ Fox Theatre
- 10/16 - New Orleans, LA @ New Orleans City Park
- 10/17 - Houston, TX @ Reliant Arena
- 10/19 - Grand Prairie, TX @ Nokia Live
- 10/22 - Phoenix, AZ @ Dodge Theatre
- 10/23 - Irvine, CA @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
- 10/24 - Santa Barbara, CA @ Santa Barbara Bowl
- 11/9 - Milwaukee, WI @ Milwaukee Theatre
- 11/10 - St. Paul, MN @ Roy Wilkins Auditorium
- 11/11 - St. Paul, MN @ Roy Wilkins Auditorium
- 11/13 - Chicago, IL @ Aragon Ballroom
- 11/14 - Chicago, IL @ Aragon Ballroom
- 11/15 - Chicago, IL @ Aragon Ballroom
- 11/16 - Chicago, IL @ Aragon Ballroom
- 11/17 - Chicago, IL @ Aragon Ballroom
- 11/18 - Detroit, MI @ State Theatre
- 11/20 - Detroit, MI @ Fox Theatre
- 11/21 - Akron, OH @ Rhodes Arena
- 11/24 - Toronto, ON @ Arrow Hall
- 11/25 - Mississauga, ON @ Arrow Hall
- 11/26 - Montreal, QC @ CEPSUM
- 11/27 - Montreal, QC @ CEPSUM
- 11/28 - Hull, QC @ Robert Guertin Arena
- 11/30 - Amherst, MA @ Mullins Center
- 12/1 - Lowell, MA @ Paul E. Tsongas Arena
- 12/3 - Pittsburgh, PA @ A.J. Palumbo Center
- 12/4 - Camden, NJ @ Tweeter Center at the Waterfront
- 12/5 - Camden, NJ @ Tweeter Center at the Waterfront
- 12/6 - Norfolk, VA @ Constant Convoc. Center
- 12/7 - Washington, DC @ DAR Constitution Hall
- 12/8 - Washington, DC @ DAR Constitution Hall
- 12/11 - New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom
- 12/12 - New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom
- 12/13 - New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom
- 12/14 - New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom
- 12/15 - New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom
- 12/16 - New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom