for March 25, 2004
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for today's rant...
[Inscrutable Links: John Peel Says "Hi". FM106.3 Staff List. FM106.3's 1988 playlist.]
A Rediscovered Treasure
by Stiffy Biceptz
One night after work a week or so ago I was flipping through the TV channels, trying to amuse myself while keeping baby Jack amused and stumbled across a documentary about the Pixies on Bravo. It was well balanced between interviews with band members, concert footage and testimonials from adoring fans.
I hadn't watched for more than a minute when I was overcome with a feeling of awe as I sat down and remembered how great the Pixies had been. I was then overwhelmed by a rush of sadness about how little I had thought about the Pixies or played any of their albums in a long while. I kept asking myself, why have you been wasting the last couple of years of your life listening to crappy radio stations when you could have been listening to the Pixies? I could only shake my head in disgust. For the better part of a week afterwards I played nothing but Surfer Rosa and Doolittle over and over again in my car.
I had no idea how hugely influential the Pixies had been in their time. Everyone from David Bowie to Radiohead to U2 just about proclaimed the Pixies to be the greatest American band since the Ramones. Then I learned that Kurt proudly admitted he all but ripped off the Pixies when creating 'Nevermind.'
I discovered the Pixies one cold morning in 1988. I was driving to my shoe repair guy to get my boots re-heeled. I was listening to WRSU, the Rutgers radio station when the haunting howl of "OOOH-oooh" from "Where Is My Mind" drifted out of my car speakers. I was so instantly captivated by the sound I just hit the brakes and stopped right in the middle of the road-fortunately I hadn't yet left the quiet side street I lived on. I just sat there listening, amazed at what I was hearing, knowing this was something special. It was one of those moments like the ones I've written about earlier that were a defining moment in the alternative music scene, or at least in my music scene.
A night or two later I was quizzing Matt about this mysterious band the Pixies and he of course told me everything there was to know about them. He had just started playing 'Gigantic' at the Melody and the regular crowd couldn't get enough. I was hooked and ran out and bought Surfer Rosa at Music in a Different Kitchen the next day. What a weird, wonderful album that was. The next year Doolittle came out and the Alt music world would never be the same.
The Pixies were one of the definitive groups of the Alt music era. They represented everything alternative music was meant to be. Anyone reading this who might be too young to have known them in the late 80's I urge you to go out (or go online) and buy Surfer Rosa and Doolittle as soon as you can. After a few listens, go out and get their three other albums. Chances are you'll find you can't bother with much of the music from the 90's after hearing the Pixies.
Good news fans, you will soon have a chance to see the Pixies live. After ten years apart they have reformed and are touring this year. I was fortunate enough to have seen them in 1989 at the Ritz (with Lenny Hip and Lisa #1) and I will definitely not miss them when they come to Philly.
Artists like the Pixies don't come along very often. Appreciate them when they do.
©2004 Stiffy Biceptz
All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.
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