Pixies – in session for John Peel – recorded June 23,1991 broadcast August 4 – BBC Radio 1 –
Pixies to start off the week. In session for John Peel (their last), recorded on June 23, 1991 and broadcast on August 4th of that year.
The Pixies formed in 1986 in Boston, Massachusetts. The original lineup comprised Black Francis (vocals, rhythm guitar), Joey Santiago (lead guitar), Kim Deal (bass, backing vocals) and David Lovering (drums). The band disbanded acrimoniously in 1993, but reunited in 2004. After Deal left in 2013, the Pixies hired Kim Shattuck as a touring bassist; she was replaced the same year by Paz Lenchantin, who became a permanent member in 2016.
The Pixies are associated with the 1990s alternative rock boom, and draw on elements including punk rock and surf rock. Their music is known for its dynamic “loud-quiet” shifts and song structures. Francis is the Pixies’ primary songwriter; his often surreal lyrics cover offbeat subjects such as extraterrestrials, incest, and biblical violence. They achieved modest popularity in the US, but were more successful in Europe. Their jarring pop sound influenced acts such as Nirvana, Radiohead, the Smashing Pumpkins and Weezer. Their popularity grew in the years after their break-up, leading to sold-out world tours following their reunion in 2004.
This session, from June 1991 comes out just ahead of the release of Trompe le Monde their fourth, and what would be their last album before breaking up in 1993.
In 1990, all members of the group except for Deal moved to Los Angeles. Lovering stated that he, Santiago, and Francis moved there “because the recording studio was there”. Unlike previous recordings, the band had little time to practice beforehand, and Black Francis wrote much of the album in the studio. Featuring the singles “Velouria” and “Dig for Fire”, Bossanova reached number 70 in the United States. In contrast, the album peaked at number three in the United Kingdom. Also in 1990, the Pixies released a cover of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band’s “Born in Chicago” on the compilation album Rubáiyát: Elektra’s 40th Anniversary.
The band continued to tour and released Trompe le Monde in 1991, their final album before their break-up. The album included “U-Mass”, which has been described as being about college apathy, and whose guitar riff was written years before at the University of Massachusetts before Francis and Santiago dropped out. The album also featured a cover of “Head On” by The Jesus and Mary Chain. Also that year, the band contributed a cover of “I Can’t Forget” to the Leonard Cohen tribute album I’m Your Fan, and began an international tour on which they played stadiums in Europe and smaller venues in the United States. They then signed to be the support act of U2 on the lucrative US Zoo TV Tour in 1992. Tensions rose among band members, and at the end of the year, the Pixies went on sabbatical and focused on separate projects.
To get acquainted, or be reminded, here is that last session for John Peel, as it was broadcast on August 4, 1991.