The Breeders: It's a drag to play "Cannonball" second in the set

Categories: Interview

At this point, Last Splash, Pod and Safari have around long enough to become legendary albums for rock 'n' roll kids my age. Have you talked to any teens or twentysomethings at shows?

After we play, people often say what an important record it was to the, because of when they heard it. Quite a number of people say "this is the first record I ever bought." So we often hear things like that. "Oh my god, this was such an important moment in my life, and I'll always think of that, and I still listen to it now," there's a lot of comments like that too. It's so funny the number of people that say "This is the first album that I bought, and it was on cassette." It's hilarious! Who buys cassettes now?

I think your legacy is especially strong with female rockers. Your band was happening at the same time Riot Grrl was blowing up. Did you feel at all allied with that scene, back then, or now in retrospect?

Obviously, we were aware of it, and we were aware of the commentary of it being somehow new and different that there were so many bands that either had a frontwoman or were more women-men, and that some tipping point had been reached. We were aware of being a part of that, but from our own point of view we didn't really think of that as anything that we were doing in a self conscious way, the way that I think that bands that were more closely associated with Riot Grrl probably were. It was kind of a political statement to them, and I think for us it was more of a personal statement, just by virtue of the time and the place became political, or other people thought that it was political. I'm not sure that it was so much for us, we were setting that as an example rather than making a statement about it.

When people talk about Last Splash as being your band's big pop-hits album, I think it unfortunately neglects a lot of the more experimental deep cuts like "Mad Lucas" and "Hag."

Well, I don't think we ever played "Mad Lucas" live before, 20 years ago I don't think we ever played it. We did play "Roi," I remember we did play that, which is more of a deeper cut on the record. But when we played it before, we didn't have that long, trippy Moog [synthesizer] section in the middle. We didn't have a Moog, and we didn't have any way of reproducing that, so I think we just shortened that middle section to do it live. But because we wanted to recreate the album we actually tracked down the guy whose Moog she borrowed 20 years ago, and played all the parts again and put them into a sampler, which we do bring with us, so we can recreate that section in the middle, which we had never done before.

I don't really feel like there were really songs that were underrated, because every song is so different from every other song. That's one thing that really struck me coming back to it to relearn it. There's a lot of bands where you put their record on and the songs are basically interchangeable, both in terms of instrumentation and speed and mood and cadence. Whereas each song on this record is radically different from the each other one, so I think that they always work.

The Breeders. With Speedy Ortiz. $25, 7 p.m., Thursday, December 12 at First Avenue. Tickets here.

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