loudQUIETloud: A film about The Pixies

The Pixies are one of those bands that when I discovered them (while rooting through my dad and step-mom’s CD case in the summer of 2004) I wondered how I lived all those years before. The Stooges are another band like that and Fiona Apple. The Pixies, however, is the band that stand out the most for me. I guess I heard “Where Is My Mind” at the end of Fight Club and I loved that but it worked so perfectly I must have figured it was the original theme from Fight Club or some shit.

Then I found Trompe Le Monde and I really liked it, so I dug some more in that CD case and found Doolittle, the first album that I had to listen to three or four times right in a row, non stop. You know, if I really traced it back Doolittle is probably the point where I went from a dude who digs music, to a dude who really fucking loves music, it was either Doolittle or Odelay that did it.

Over the years my love for The Pixies has increased but they were one of the bands that I never really did any research into the band members or their history, occasionally I would read a bit about the band and they just seemed like regular dudes and a chick, like totally average people, not ugly not attractive, they don’t look like the kind of people who would be in one of the best and most influential bands around, but that’s kind of what early alt. rock was about I guess. I mean R.E.M. has always kind of looked like a group of high school teachers who started a Police cover band, and the lead singer of Dinosaur Jr. looks like a burn out wizard.

Burn-Out Wizard makes good tunes

Well according to the really pretty good documentary loudQUIETloud The Pixies are exactly like that, a bunch of normal dudes and a normal chick who, as it turns out, are incredible musicians. You realize that fact when you see the lead singer Frank Black, or Black Francis or Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV or whatever the fuck his name is, when you see him running around with his step kids in a corn maze (or maize maze) you kind of realize this guy is just like you or me, he isn’t a big rock star and beyond that I don’t think he could be a Mick Jagger type even if he wanted to.

This dude has probably never even heard of a Corn Maze

The always kind of nervous looking guitarist Joey Santiago has a wife and kids and still does music but in coffee shops and stuff. At first you think this is going to be depressing, but the documentary crew kind of shows that he isn’t playing for baristas because he has to it’s because he wants to, he loves music and he loves playing jams with his wife.

We meet the drummer David Lovering and he is on the beach detecting metal, the way he does this is really odd, he’s like in this robotic trance swinging his arm back and forth really fast, but it looks efficient, maybe he’s on to something, in order to be good at metal detectors you have to act like a robot. Also he does magic.

Kim Deal, the bassist, seems to be the only one with any rock star cliché baggage. She went through rehab sometime after The Pixies broke up and she spends most of the movie worrying about alcohol. It’s actually pretty cool how the band works together and decide that no alcohol will be allowed backstage, they are really supportive about it, and Kim isn’t annoying about it, which made watching the doc so much easier, because if she was being really bitchy about it, it would have pissed me off.

loudQUIETloud follows The Pixies as they prepare their reunion tour and then tour together for the first time in over a decade. There is some really, really great concert footage, I especially loved the Caribou footage which is edited together from a bunch of shows all over Canada.

Over all loudQUIETloud is a pretty mellow documentary mostly just about middle-aged people getting together after a really long time and kicking musical ass, a bit of drama does rear it’s head towards the middle of the doc when James Lovering’s dad dies and James starts taking Valium and drinking heavily before shows. The band gets worried about him especially after James has a bit of a mental breakdown in the middle of a song, where he just started hitting the drums in this crazy fast beat continuing long after the rest of the band put down there instruments and got off stage to figure out what was going on.

The drug thing kind of reminded me of The Fearless Freaks, the 2005 documentary about The Flaming Lips. Throughout The Fearless Freaks Wayne Coyne keeps mentioning Flaming Lips guitarist Steven Drozd’s heroin addiction, he shows the same kind of concern for Drozd as The Pixies do for Lovering, although The Fearless Freaks confronts the problem more actively, going so far as to have Drozd talk about his drug problems while he prepares, cooks, and injects heroin, it’s some dark shit as well as being one of the best scenes I’ve ever scene in a documentary.

loudQUIETloud is a pretty straight forward reunion tour music doc, but the great concert footage and the mere fact that it’s about The Pixies makes it a must see for music fans.

Oh and here are some of my favorite Pixies songs for those of you people lame enough to not know about The Pixies.

Here Comes Your Man

Wave of Mutilation

and Debaser


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