This week’s Midnight Album Feature is the Pixies‘ landmark release Surfer Rosa.
The Pixies were formed by a man called Charles Thompson, who later picked the stage name Black Francis. He teamed up with Joey Santiago in Boston in 1986. They recruited Kim Deal to play bass and sing some back ups and Deal suggested drummer David Lovering. The band got their name when Santiago randomly flipped through a dictionary and they became the Pixies.
Surfer Rosa was their debut, released in 1988, was the Pixies first full-length album and followed their EP Come On Pilgrim. This album is such a combination of rough and edgy and sexy and soft and emotional. My two favorite tracks from this incredible release are “Cactus” and “Gigantic.”
The Pixies put out this record in 1988. Just a couple of years before that, in â€™86, they had opened for the Throwing Muses, and they recorded the demo The Purple Tape â€“ 18 songs recorded in 3 days â€“ then passed it around, and landed a deal with England’s 4AD Records. Eight of the those songs became the EP Come On Pilgrim, and then they moved on to this masterpiece. There is something completely unique and literary about this album.
One thing I love about the Pixies is that they are a really good live band. I saw them at the Fillmore in San Francisco years ago when I was in college, I guess it was 1989, It was so incredibly crowded and I was just a tiny little thing. I remember I was trying to peek around the shoulders of everybody trying to get a look at the Pixies. I finally crawled up the side of a wall and perched there just to check out what was going on. They were so impressive live. To get a feeling of their live show, Iâ€™ll play a track from the two-disc compilation Death to the Pixies. The second disc of the collection was recorded in the Netherlands so there’s a bunch of Dutch people singing along to the songs. I not only love the way the Dutch people sing along, I love the way that the acoustic chords ring out into the venue. Hereâ€™s a vid of the Pixies in Holland!
The Pixies split in 1993 and members worked on various projects. They reunited in 2004 for a tour of the US and Europe. All 15 U.S. shows were recorded and released in limited editions of 1,000 copies each. I wish we had one of those here at the station.
Check out Nite Life with Michele Myers every Friday night 9 p.m. - 1 a.m.