All right, here we go, the juicy stuff. You ready?
Yeah, just let me grab my douche flute.
For starters: Is it Pixies or the Pixies?
You don’t know the name of the band?
On all the album covers it’s “Pixies,” but people always put a “the” in front of it.
I just say “my band.”
Was anyone in the Pixies ever approached by Hair Club for Men about tweaking “Here Comes Your Man” and using it as the company theme song?
If you don’t mind, give it a try. Sing “Hair Club for Men...” instead of “Here comes your man...”
[Sings it] Hey, that’s kinda works.
Thanks for contributing this photo from your private collection. What are we looking at?
This is from when we played the Glastonbury Festival in England, summer of 1989.
And what’s going on here?
Okay, lemme think about this for a...ah, my kids won’t read this: This is me after the show, peaking on Ecstasy. We were on our way out and for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to hang out the side of the van and say goodbye to the crowd. I was clearly on top of the world.
Were you high for the show?
Oh yeah, in fact I planned it that way. Charles [Pixies frontperson Black Francis] had this cool idea to put the set list in alphabetical order, I think to prove the point that we’re gonna be great no matter what order the songs are in.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have “Where Is My Mind?” last on the list.
No, it doesn’t. Anyways, we had just been to the Haçienda in Manchester. It was a club that was connected to Factory Records, and you’d go there and everyone would be on E. I was kinda into that. It was a very pleasant, consequence- free drug. You’d be totally full of love, even breathing felt incredible. Then the next morning you’d want to jump off a building.
So there’s always been this one song we play live, “Vamos,” where the spotlight’s really on me and I have to go shithouse on the guitar. It’s kind of my “moment” in every show, and it can go terribly wrong. To this day, the “Vamos” solo is either gonna fail miserably or it’s gonna be epic. At the time I had an Ecstasy pill left over from the Haçienda and I knew I wanted to take it at Glastonbury because I was kind of getting sick of doing the “Vamos” solo. Not sick of it, actually, just running out of ideas, not feeling in-the-moment.
I had all the shit lined up when I walked out on stage: my beer, my fuckin’ Rémy Martin shot, and my pill. All on the cabinet. There might have been some gum freeze on there too.
Who put all the stuff out on the cabinet for you?
Oh, I did. No one knew. I hid my use from the band. They wouldn’t have liked it.
So the Pixies weren’t tight like that in those early days?
The way we started, we didn’t have much time to bond. We practiced our asses off in Boston and within a year we were already touring Europe. We basically got lucky.
However, there was this time in Seattle early on when we all took shrooms before a show, the whole band—well, definitely Charles [Black Francis] and Kim [Deal] did it with me. We got to one song where none of us could keep our shit together. The audience’s heads looked like balloons. That did not go well. So for Glastonbury I decided to take the drugs during the show instead of beforehand, and to make it a one-man mission.
I’m just looking at the set list now. “Debaser” was the sixth song, 15 before “Vamos.” So once I got to D, I took the E. I figured that way I’d be feeling good by the time the “Vamos” solo hit. I didn’t want to be on that shit for the whole set, just for the end.
The “Vamos” solo from Glastonbury’s on YouTube, I clocked it at 97 seconds of complete random bedlam. How would you say it went?
I have absolutely no idea.
Were you worried about messing up the guitar intro to “Where Is My Mind?” and ending the show on a bummer note?
No way, that’s an easy one.
So when was the last time you took psychedelics?
September 13, 2016. I went to rehab the next day on a shroom hangover and that was it. I don’t do anything anymore, I’ve been sober six years. But the ultimate trio for me used to be cocaine, menthols, and werewolf killers.
The Pixies have been touring like crazy lately. If you’re not drinking and drugging anymore, what do you use for the “Vamos” solo these days?
Oh, anger. Anger and bitterness.