Joey Santiago still likes the idea that some people don’t get Pixies
There's absolutely no denying the influence Pixies had on the underground rock scene. The Boston rockers' sense of dynamics and madness has left a mark on succeeding generations of artists. David Bowie's side project Tin Machine used to play "Debaser." Kurt Cobain famously stated that he should've been in a Pixies cover band. Why, even Travis Richter's From First To Last spinoff side project the Color Of Violence covered the Pixies song "Rock Music." So it made perfect sense for APTV to get an audience with guitarist Joey Santiago to discuss the 30th anniversary edition of the band's 1990 release, Bossanova.
Santiago fills APTV in on some of the vernacular he uses when describing his playing. He talks about the elements of his playing in terms of "that guy," a reference to another guitarist who pioneered a specific tone or technique. He also explained the concept of having "Jesus ears," which we found both helpful and hilarious. The Pixies' string bender offers up the three songs that best summarize the Bossanova experience and told us why he had to learn how to play flamenco style. He also admits that the making of any Pixies record is fraught with tension.
"I don't know of any band who doesn't have tension," Santiago admits. "Ours probably got exaggerated because we broke up. At one point in time you just think, 'All right, I'm just going to do my best here. We're not going to get along. So let's just get along here.'"
Upon closer examination, Santiago may have inadvertently revealed the very reason why Pixies have been able to continue. "We know what we are," he says, stridently. "A video is not going to make us into Madonna. If we ever presented 'Velouria' in some slick kind of way... [the audiences] are not going to care for it. Music is meant to be listened to on speakers or headphones. Visualization? That's your job." Color us thankful.