Over the course of their 20 year history, alternative rockers The Breeders—well, mainstays/twin sisters Kim and Kelley Deal—have had some pretty rock ‘n’ roll moments: Kim’s meteoric rise, fall and rejuvenation with legendary act The Pixies, a chart-topping sophomore album Last Splash in 1993, drug busts, rehab stints ... the list goes on.
When discussing their forthcoming Toronto gig at Lee’s Palace on Saturday though, Kelley reveals what is probably the least expected rock instance ever.
“I’d love it if you throw me your yarn,” she gushes enthusiastically. “That would be so awesome. Canada has the best yarn I’ve ever seen in my entire life. My old roommate is from Toronto and one day she brought me some wool. It’s the most amazing stuff I’ve ever seen.”
Rock bands demanding the surrender of, say, undergarments and narcotics is rather commonplace. But wool? How far has this eco-rock movement gone?
Yet with a little delving, Deal’s fancy for textiles and ensuing book, last year’s Bags That Rock: Knitting On The Road With Kelley Deal, is understandable. Some years back, she embraced the pastime after quitting heroin and earning an important stamp on her rock ‘n’ roll pass: Sobriety.
Were it not for picking up a different set of needles, the 48-year-old Dayton, Ohio native admits that prison and quite possibly a fatality could have been the end result. It’s a sentiment alluded to in the title of The Breeders’ latest venture, a four-song EP dubbed Fate To Fatal (4AD).
Not to make it sound like there was some sort of design behind the affair. Deal notes that it, along with their less-than-prodigious output of three EPs and four albums in two decades is a matter of happenstance.
“I wish we were patient. It would sound like we have a master plan; someone’s in charge,” she admits. “We don’t put something out for any other reason than we like this clutch of songs and we want people to hear them. When you do something like that, it seems thoughtful but we’re really just pleasing ourselves.”
To that extent, Deal notes that “pleasing themselves” (the band is completed by drummer Jose Medeles and bassist Mando Lopez) has turned in some rather unusual results on Fate To Fatal: moodier, more elongated tracks as opposed to their renowned upbeat blasts of pop a la Cannonball. Promising these results extend into their live show, she laughs off the band’s unpredictable behaviour with upbeat humility.
“We’re really getting strange ... weird and jammy. I love typical two-and-a-half minute pop and punk songs but you also want more dynamics as a musician. We want to explore and test ourselves so we’re experimenting more onstage. Maybe we’ll do a double-album. How awesome would that be? A live double-album of us jamming. We’re gonna be the next Phish!”
The Breeders live
• The Breeders return to Toronto for a gig at Lee’s Palace on Saturday night.
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