Interview: Pixies drummer David Lovering talks new material and Kim Deal's departure

Interview: Pixies drummer David Lovering talks new material and Kim Deal's departure

Pixies left-right: Joey Santiago, Frank Black, David Lovering / Photo: Michael Halsband

Lovering spoke to us ahead of the indie-grunge kingpins' appearance at T in the Park 2014

‘We’ve been taking bets on how many times it’s going to rain during our set,’ laughs Pixies drummer David Lovering ahead of their headline show at T in the Park.

‘The whole band and all our crew – about 14 of us – are all in on it, we’re all sticking in £5, so there’s a lot of cash up for grabs. Definitely enough for the winner to have a good time.’

And, despite the ever present threat of rain at the country’s biggest festival, the beating heart amid all those thrashing guitars, admits he can’t wait to get back in front a Scottish audience. ‘There’s just something really special about the crowds here, they really get into it,’ he explains. ‘It’s maybe all the drinking they do before, during and after. They just have a real blast and it’s hard not to get caught up in it all, we all just get in on that energy too and it all just boils over.’

The legendary rockers head up the bill in the King Tut’s Tent on the first day of the Balado shindig and have promised fans old and new a night to remember. They arrive riding a fresh ‘wave of mutilation’, high on the success of their first new record in 20 years. But how do they think the riotous T crowd will react to material from this year’s Indie Cindy? Come on pilgrim, this is Pixies – they’ve never played by anyone else’s rules. ‘The newer stuff has been getting played since September, we’ve now got to the point where we’ve got it figured out and we can do what we want with them up there,’ Lovering enthuses. ‘It’s funny, you look out and see some of the kids and they’re singing along to the new songs just as much as the older stuff. They weren’t there the first time and so everything is new.’

But despite having a critically acclaimed new record to plug, diehard fans need not worry that their favourites will be left off the setlist – because there isn't one. Instead, the sticksman, who performs as magician The Scientific Phenomenalist when not making music, prefers to sprinkle some … well, Pixie dust. ‘We never, ever soundcheck and we’ve never been into writing down what we’re going to play, says Lovering. ‘We know which song we’re going to start with but after that, we just go with whatever feels good at the time. We play all the ‘classics’, songs like ‘Monkey’, ‘Debaser’, ‘Hey’ and ‘Where Is My Mind’, but we’ve been adding three or four new songs into the mix too. We’ve got about 70 songs from the Pixies’ canon which we bust out on any night.’

Not only do the band arrive in Kinross with a new album, they’ve also a new bass player to show off. Veteran Paz Lenchantin has played with some of the biggest names in alternative rock. The 40-year-old is no stranger to festival crowds, having set heads banging with A Perfect Circle and Billy Corgan’s short-lived supergroup, Zwan. She replaces fan-favourite Kim Deal, who finally called time on her tumultuous 28-year stint with the band last year. Although Deal’s presence will be sorely missed by the band’s long suffering fans, Lovering believes the new player is a perfect fit.

‘Kim was a real presence onstage and off and her vocals have been a real signature part of our sound for such a long time. But playing with Paz has brought a new intensity to our performances. She’s got a real energy and people love her, they just can’t take their eyes off her. Paz is amazing and although it’s a bit different, we’ve still got the girl vocals in there and it just works. There’s a renewed energy up on stage and she’s made me really up my game, she’s so good I need to take things to the next level because I don’t want to get caught out or end up looking stupid.’

Pixies will be hoping for an easier ride at this Scottish gig. Famously, during a 1990 show at the SECC, in Glasgow, the stage collapsed beneath them and the gig was called off amid the chaos. ‘It just went with a huge bang,’ says David ‘I remember walking around the SECC before that show and there were all these illuminated signs. There was one for the Beach Boys, then Pixies … then another for the British Neurological Society. ‘It blew my mind, it was totally weird but it just seemed to fit.’


T In The Park 2014 on MUZU.TV.

T in the Park

From relatively humble beginnings, T in the Park has become the acknowledged behemoth of the Scottish festival scene and one of the UK's largest events. In 2015 the festival moved from its longstanding Balado location to the new grounds of Strathallan Castle in Perthshire. Bands appearing in 2016 include The Stone Roses…

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