The Pixies' David Lovering: "Older and Wiser Means You'll Put Up With More Shit"

Black Francis, David Lovering, Joey Santiago

Black Francis, David Lovering, Joey Santiago

The Pixies | State Theatre | 10/11/14
You can't talk about '90s indie rock without mentioning the Pixies -- even if they broke up early in the decade. The band left an influential ringing in everyone's ears that has lasted to this day. The band will be marking 10 years since they got back together -- which launched in Minneapolis at the Fine Line in 2004 -- with a return to the Twin Cities. This time, they will be armed with new music from their latest album, Indie Cindy.

Gimme Noise caught up drummer David Lovering in Los Angeles as he was prepping for the tour to talk about growing up and getting wiser and how they have adapted to the changes in the music industry.
Gimme Noise: What do you do to get prepped for tour?

David Lovering: We're so old and we've done them so many times, we just show up at the city where we're playing, and we do the show. There might be a sound check or something just to get things rolling, but what's funny about this upcoming tour is the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles -- we've always had lousy shows in L.A. It has nothing to do with the audience, it's just our playing the Hollywood Bowl. We want to be on top of it. So we're actually gonna do rehearsals two days in a studio before we start this tour. Before we get to Minneapolis/St. Paul we'll be very good.

I was reading one of your recent interviews, and it focused on Kim Deal leaving the band. I'm sure you guys get that all of the time. Why do you feel people are so fixated on this subject?

I think it was because it was a core member that left our band. With any band I've loved, I would do the same thing, so I completely understand that. We just have to forge on without her. We wish her well and everything, but we're forging ahead. If they love us, they feel that way. Change is hard for people to accept, but we have a wonderful addition in Paz Lenchantin, and we love her; the audience loves her. We're having a ball.

You had a long hiatus, but you've been a band for so long. Are you more settled as a person?

That's interesting. I mean, you say older; we broke up in '93. You get wiser, because we weren't very wise. I like to think that in 2014, we are wiser, but the matter of fact is, you may be older, but wiser means you're just going to put up with a lot more shit. But it works.

Why do you feel you feel you've been successful even after such a long hiatus? So many bands aren't.

What happened to me when we broke up in '93, I thought that was the end of it. I never thought we would get back together again. When 2004 hit, we reunited, and one of the first shows we did was Coachella. I remember looking out when we were playing, and there was a sea of kids that weren't even born when we formed as a band -- yet they knew every song, and they were just fervent with us the whole way. That was my first experience of understanding that, "Wow, this is a new generation of kids that like us."

When I look back on it, I think it was all because of the bands that we've supposedly influenced that spoke of us. It was because of those bands that this new generation will take notice -- along with television and movies -- that in our absence, that's what made us grow.

Do you think it's luck or because you wrote good songs?

Yeah, I think the songs are a lot of it. They are good songs. There's nothing else about it. It's not the way we look; it's the show, the good songs. Plain and simple.
How do you feel your music has adapted with the shift from analog to digital? Did you feel you had to change your sound because your older stuff was a lot grittier?

That was seamless. That was the only difference when we were in the studio was the electronics. It made it a lot easier, that's all I can say. It's a different animal in some way. A lot of people will disagree with what I have to say about the difference in analog and digital, but it's all good. It sounds nice.

I don't think the grittiness had anything to do with the sound. It was just what was happening with the techniques.

What do you feel is the biggest difference in the music industry from when you first started making music?

That's hard to say. It's interesting, because we're in a special position, because we don't have a record company. We've been doing everything on our own, and we've been fortunate enough that it's worked out. We have a huge email list, a great publicist, and a great manager. The way that we've been doing things has been working out for us. We have the same control we have now as what we had when we were on 4AD. It's the same thing, so I really can't say how it's changed for me. The only difference is that I don't have to lug around a lot of records and CDs, because I have everything on my MP3 player.

What advice can you give to artists who are trying to make a name for themselves?

The underlying thing about them all is the same thing with us. Even if you don't have anything, what makes you most is your music. It will get noticed. That's the underlying factor. Regardless of whatever you may have. The music will speak for itself.

When you got back together for the reunion tour, the first show was at the Fine Line in Minneapolis. That was the show to get into. I had a friend tell me a story about a journalist here at the time. He wasn't able to get into the show, so he commented, "Who do I have to kill to get into this show?" He ended up getting a ticket, because someone passed away, and he got the spot.

Was there a reason why it began here?

[laughs] I guess I shouldn't laugh. I don't know the logistics of that. I can't say for any other reason than that's how routing worked out. The idea was to do a club show, and I think that the Fine Line fit the bill perfectly.

What are you excited to share on this upcoming tour?

The last two months, we've been all over the world as far as Australia, Japan, and Israel. For all of my time with the Pixies -- all of the years, all of the shows we've ever done -- the shows from these last two months have had the most consistent quality playing we've ever done, and I'm not trying to sell anything. I'm being honest.

I'm a big proponent of this band; being the drummer, I can see everything. I can watch how everybody's playing, I can see the audience's reaction. We have been doing so well at all of the festivals. I feel we're at a level now that I know will continue after this tour. It's a wonderful thing, because I like doing good shows. I don't want to do a bad show. That's one thing I am excited to share.

You had a new album come out recently. Are you ever concerned how people will receive new music?

I do get concerned. We had trepidation when recording this. We're a band that hasn't recorded an album in such a long time. I knew the track record of bands who make new albums after a hiatus, so we were a little scared of what people would think about it. As we were recording it, we were liking the songs and how they were shaping up, so a lot of that trepidation lost itself. We're very happy with the album, and it seems now since we've played it for a year, we own these songs very well.

I'm also writing the songs for the setlist. What I'll do is we'll do the classics, and depending on the set length, we'll tailor the new songs to that. You don't want to kill everyone with all of the new songs; it's tough thing to swallow. It's been working extremely well and seamlessly. We're very fortunate.

What else goes into determining the setlist?

I've been sitting on a drum riser watching this audience for 20 years. When people come to our shows, they are here for nostalgic reasons. They want to hear the old songs, so I know where to put them in the show. I was also able to see people's reactions to the new songs, and because of that, I was able to get a feeling of what songs on the new record people liked. Those are the songs I rely on when I write the setlist.

So you're like God back there.

[laughs] Well, no. I'm the drummer, so I'm more the driver than God.

What's it like for you to be so influential and such a big part of people's lives?

I don't think about it at all. When people say, "Oh, you've influenced me. I love you," all I think is, "I'm just David. I play a drum set, and there's nothing special about that. I'm glad you like the music. I can't walk around like a peacock. I'm glad you like it, but I have a different view."

I'm in this band, and it's something I've done since I was in my 20s, and I think from a different place. I don't think I'm anything special, and I'm glad everyone likes it, and I'm glad I have a job.

The Pixies will perform at the State Theatre on Saturday, October 11, 2014 with Royal Blood.
$45-$59.50, 7:30 p.m.
Purchase tickets here.


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