Breeders don't need an album to tour

March 20, 1997|By J.D. Considine | J.D. Considine,SUN POP MUSIC CRITIC

Patience, Kim Deal has begun to realize, is not always a virtue.

Three years ago, she and the rest of the Breeders were riding high on a hit single called "Cannonball." It wasn't anything she or the band had planned. "That was just a fluke," she says, over the phone from a tour stop in Austin, Texas. "I certainly didn't make that for the radio."

Intentional or not, the single's success kept the band on the road and in the spotlight, and that, eventually, took its toll. "After the Lollapalooza tour of '94, Josephine [Wiggs, the Breeders' bassist] said she was tired," Deal explains. "So out of respect -- it's not like I'm a careerist, so it's not like I'm going to get a new bass player or something like that -- I just thought I'd do something low-key."

So she put together a band called the Amps, a side project that used Breeders drummer Jim McPherson along with a couple of guys from Deal's hometown of Dayton, Ohio; bassist Louie Lerma; and guitarist Nate Farley. Meanwhile, Deal's twin sister (and Breeder guitarist) Kelley wound up in the chemical dependency ward at the Hazeldon Clinic in St. Paul, Minn., having plea-bargained her way out of a narcotics possession charge.

"So the Amps put a record out," Deal continues. "We toured -- just something low-key, out of respect for the two girls while they're busy working on stuff, and resting, and going through their legal problems. Just waiting, waiting.

"We tour, we tour, and two years go by. Last May, Josephine calls and says she doesn't want to do the Breeders anymore. And Kelley is in St. Paul doing her thing with Nice Records and her band [the Kelley Deal 6000]. So they're both involved in their own bands, and I love 'em both, and I hope they are doing great.

"But [expletive] did they have to [expletive] wait two [expletive] years to tell me that they're not going to do the Breeders?" she asks. "Because I could've done a Breeders record then!"

Instead, she put together a new version of the Breeders, one that includes McPherson, Amp-sters Farley and Lerma, and violinist Carrie Bradley. "She played on 'Pod' demos," Deal says of Bradley. "She's played on 'Last Splash.' She even [predates] Jim in the band. She played on my first Breeders demos ever."

Deal is glad to be touring as the Breeders again, if only because she can play more songs that way. "Because then I pick songs culled from all these albums, back from 'Pod,' " she says. "Whereas under the Amps, we would just concentrate on mainly -- out of respect, you know? -- mainly playing Amps songs."

There will also be some songs from the band's next album -- although Deal couldn't say which ones, because the Breeders won't begin recording until sometime this summer.

"We're not touring just to move product," she says. "We don't have no product to sell, right now. Again, we're not careerists; we're just playing because we want to. Which is kind of a difficult situation to be in. Usually, big bands will make a record and then will promote the record and tour behind the record.

"I tend to like to do it like local bands do. They make some songs up, they play 'em, they see if they like the songs. Once we get the album's worth [of songs], we will go in and record it.

"So that's another thing that looks backwards, the fact that we're playing without an album. Nowadays, it seems like the album is only created in the studio; it doesn't exist outside it. It's like the tour only exists as a way to sell the record, instead of just playing a good live set or something."

But for the Breeders, playing a good live set is what being a band is all about. "That's how I would like it, anyway," says Deal.

The Breeders

When: Tonight, 10 p.m.

Where: Fletcher's, 701 S. Bond St.

Tickets: $10

Call: 410-481-7328 for tickets, 410-880-8124 for information

Pub Date: 3/20/97

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