Q&A with Kelley Deal of the Breeders
Because one feature is never enough when it comes to a band like the Breeders, in addition to this week's profile by Rob Trucks, we bring you the following extended Q&A with Kelley Deal by Andrew Fersch.
Westword: How are things being back together with the Breeders?
KD: Really good. Yeah.
WW: How did you get into music and what made you decide on computer programming instead of joining the Pixies?
KD: I played drums forever. I started when I was in elementary school. Even as a teenager I took private lessons. Every Friday I took lessons. Kim and I would go play at these bars, fifteen or sixteen, opened for Steppenwolf, played the local truck stop. Sometimes I would play the bass guitar. I had a guitar in my hard before I could barely play. She asked me what I wanted to play, and of course, I said lead guitar. I did not have any chops then. I really just wanted to be in Kim’s band, I liked the other members of the Pixies when I met them, I just wanted to be in a band with Kim. The first week she moved to Boston she answered that ad to join the Pixies.
WW: The Kelley Deal 6000 was really a female fronted Pixies, and kinda more badass/rock-and-roll sounding, how come you didn’t get that same kinda love (that the Pixies did)?
KD: I don’t know.
WW: How in god’s name did you get together with Sebastian Bach for a side project (Last Hard Men)?
KD: I was looking through a magazine and saw a picture of him, after hair metal had its day; he just looked so sad. He was on a bed. I had always heard -- I hate hair metal, the music just sucks -- I had always heard he had a really great voice. I wondered what to do. You could do with that voice, if I could make it work for good instead of evil. I got other misfit toys, Jimmy Chamberlin from the Smashing Pumpkins -- he was a hated man then -- and then I got Jimmy Flemion from the Frogs. He was in a band so talented; they were their own worst enemy though. He’s such a good guitar player, and writes beautiful songs. They’re kinda hated as well, but really talented. And I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool to get them together?” We did thirteen songs in four days; my goal was to release it as a pet project, no pretense as it being a real band. Sebastian got weird, though. We were just all these really pathetic people who had no business being put together in the same room.
WW: You are releasing a book about knitting, how? Why?
KD: It’s coming out this October. I learned how to knit on tour in ‘90 something, and I really enjoyed it, and so I started knitting. I know, it’s completely gay. Steve Albini was pretty impressed with that. He has this little litany that he does about me -- top secret clearance, been arrested for a felony and now an author. He just thinks that it’s delightful.
WW: You may not be a household name but you have played with some of the most revered musicians out there, how did you manage to do that?
KD: It’s weird because even with the Breeders you have to do certain things. There are certain things you have to do, even the Breeders -- we just don’t do those things. I was looking through Spin, and a lot of these bands who are kinda cool are in the people wearing cool clothes section. The Breeders were asked to be in a fashion spread, and we said no, of course not. No, we’re not gonna be in your fashion spread, that’s just stupid.
There are a lot of things you have to do to become a household name. We wouldn’t give them a twin shot for the Rolling Stone twins issue; we didn’t get the cover because we didn’t give them the twin shot. The Breeders were asked to do the most recent Guitar Hero, they wanted “Cannonball,” and they only wanted that song, so we said no.
There are ways to become a household name, we get offered to do movie soundtracks and commercials twice a week, we just say no. Back in the day Kim Gordon had a line to herself called X-Girl, a clothing line. Everything they had was for a size two; their extra large was too small for me. We wanted to do a fashion spread wearing X-Girl clothes. I don’t think any of us would have been brave enough to.
WW: At this point who do you want to be working with?
KD: Any band that I would ever have from now on would have Kim in there because she’s so good. She’s a really good guitar player, bass player and songwriter. I would definitely have her in there. She’s an incredible asset to any band.
-- Andrew Fersch