Kelley Deal says that when she found herself in a rehearsal room again with the definitive version of the Breeders after nearly 20 years, she had a revelation.
“I realized that ‘Last Splash’ was the only album that all of us had played on together,” she says of the breakthrough record that the band are celebrating the anniversary of with a deluxe edition and their current tour. “I had never thought about that before.”
Deal’s twin sister Kim was the band’s only constant on all albums. “Last Splash” was their second release, and their first with both Deal sisters playing on it. After that, the band splintered off and called themselves the Amps after bassist Josephine Wiggs left. Though the Breeders reformed multiple times over the years, it was never with the rhythm section that gave the band their biggest hit, “Cannonball,” which kicked the summer of 1993 into gear with a definitive bass riff.
“I’ve played ‘Cannonball’ so many times, and I love the way [longtime Breeders bassist] Mando Lopez plays it, and he plays it right, but until we got back with Jo, it just never felt the same way,” says Deal. “Because when you’re the one who comes up with the part, you really own it. When I play songs from [the Breeders first album] ‘Pod’ it never feels quite right because I didn’t come up with the parts.”
The energy that Kelley Deal discovered in that rehearsal room this year with her old band mates filled her with hope.
“I kept saying, ‘Why don’t we record more?’ But then we realized if we didn’t rehearse the ‘Last Splash’ songs then we’d play them really badly and play really well on these new songs that nobody wanted to hear,” she says.
Deal says a new album with the classic lineup is not out of the question later: “When we were together, it just really clicked.”
What is so appealing about “Last Splash” is that it’s such a fun and summery album. Deal couldn’t agree more.
“It really does feel like a summer album,” she says. “It’s not like we spent time planning it that way, but maybe it’s because so many of the words involve water in some way.”
When Kelley Deal reflects back upon the Breeders’ success (a tour opening for Nirvana, a spot on Lollapalooza) and the band’s sudden loss of momentum, she blames herself. It wasn’t quite the usual rock formula of success leads to tension between band members.
“There wasn’t tension. I had a drug arrest,” she says.
Deal says she hasn’t had a drink in nearly 20 years, and the climate is different on this tour as far as drugs.
“Maybe there’s more prescription drugs,” she jokes