One of the most important bands of the late 1980s and early 1990s was the Pixies. Influencing future bands like Nirvana and Weezer, the Pixies have been forgotten by many young music fans because of their lack of commercial success. It is not mystifying why the Pixies were unable to grab
the commercial brass ring that so many other bands were able to grasp in the 1990s. Aside from the four band members’ lack of contact with the press, the Pixies did not create the commercial claptrap that drivers and teenagers here on Top 40 stations around the country. The Pixies sound was more nuanced and required fans to listen to entire live shows or albums to grasp the full picture of their musical genius. While many concert DVDs give short shrift to the context in which music is created, the recently released film loud Quietloud deals not only with the Pixies’ 2004 reunion tour but the context in which the band came back together.
Lead singer Frank Blank ended the band in 1992 with an abrupt message to his band mates that shocked outsiders. By watching loud Quiet loud, however, people should be able to gain critical distance from the apparently acrimonious relationship between the band members that made headlines in music magazines at the time. Directors Steven Cantor and Matthew Galkin do an impeccable job of combining personal interviews, behind the scenes shots, and concert footage in a detached view of a unique reunion tour. While Cantor, Galkin, and others seem to judge the Pixies as independent satellites who come together for tour dates, I see their interactions as more than just the small talk they lament in the DVD’s liner notes. Frank Black and others confront drummer Dave Lovering about his drug use while on their way to a gig, with Dave eventually seeking professional assistance. While others may see their conversations as brief and impersonal, I saw them as the short hand used by people who know each other too well to use full sentences and long discourse.
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