Dead End Drive-In: Now Showing – ‘loudQUIETloud – A Film About The Pixies’
Sunday, 17 July 2016 04:00
‘loudQUIETloud – A Film About The Pixies’ (2006 – Stick Figure Productions)
“We don’t talk to each other that much. And it’s not that we don’t get on – it’s just the kind of people that we are.”
The story of how The Pixies, one of the most celebrated of all bands tagged with the ‘alternative’ label, reunited, surprisingly, in 2004 was perfectly captured by award-winning directors Steven Cantor and Matthew Galkin and the timing of the UK reissue of the resulting film, ‘loudQUIETloud – A Film About The Pixies’ (due in September via Wienerworld), could hardly be better.
The Pixies will release their sophomore “post-reunion” album, entitled ‘Head Carrier’, at the end of September, and follow it up with a November tour of Europe. The band has also confirmed that bass player Paz Lenchantin is a permanent member – she has been the touring bassist since January 2014, following Kim Deal’s departure in the Summer of 2013. So, while it’s easy to get excited about new product and shows from this most revered of outfits, the release of this fascinating documentary unswervingly instils the notion that it’s quite remarkable that the original band ever got back together at all.
Put on hiatus in 1992, The Pixies went their separate ways less than a year later after frontman Black Francis announced the disbandment live on BBC radio – news to his fellow band members, it would seem. The opening of ‘loudQUIETloud’ details where each of the band members found themselves post-split: drummer David Lovering obsessed with magic and metal detecting; guitarist Joey Santiago playing shopping mall acoustic shows alongside his wife; bassist Kim Deal determined to keep atop troubles caused by drinking; Francis settling down to family life after a successful solo career under the name, Frank Black.
There was little ego involved as the band tentatively regrouped almost a dozen years after the initial split. There was an acute sense of fear, it appeared – and none more so than that which manifested itself inside of Deal; the bass player insisting on there being no alcohol in the band’s dressing rooms, and that her twin sister (and Breeders band mate) Kelly be with her at all times, including travelling in a separate tour vehicle when the band eventually returned to the road. There’s a sense of wonder, of disbelief about Kim when the band plays its first reunion warm-up show – the realisation that so many people loved the band humbling, the blisters on her fingers post-show a stark reminder that what was to follow would be physically as well as mentally challenging.
The reunion was a huge success, of course – but some of the viewing on offer in the documentary is of the uneasy variety: Lovering self-medicating to come to terms with his father’s death and having a subsequent on-stage meltdown one of the film’s rawest moments.
It’s how those edgy episodes are coupled to the mundanity of life in a band and on tour that make this film so utterly absorbing, though: the filmmakers’ ability to make your standard home video-type footage look and feel like a cooler-than-thou indie flick quite spectacular. It could, of course, simply be the fact that the viewer – or this one, at least – acknowledges the importance of The Pixies and has some kind of subconscious ice-cool indie-o-meter flicking into the red throughout the 85-minute running time. Either way, this film is a must-watch.
Wienerworld’s reissue comes on a Region 1 NTSC disc that has 33-minutes of bonus features ensconced on its shiny self: including filmmaker commentary track and a load of fun, deleted scenes. There’s also a quite fantastic sixteen-page booklet enclosed which features some stunning photography and a fine essay on the band.
Oh My Golly! I’m Amazed. Blown Away. [Insert suitable Pixies song title of your choice that sums up the film and perfectly closes a review HERE]