It’s fair to say that when Pixies broke up it appeared that there would be no way back. Not only did Frank Black announce his departure to his bandmates through a fax message 1993, but bassist Kim Deal and Black were not on speaking terms and that wouldn’t change for another decade.
The solo careers of each member had struggled to hit the ground running, failing to have the same impact that the Pixies enjoyed. While The Catholics and The Breeders both enjoyed moderate success, the rewards simple could not be put on the same scale. Financially, they weren’t doing badly, but the numbers being floated for a reunion tour grew incomparable to the figures the band were making in their solo endeavours.
“Nobody got ripped off,” Black said in Fool the World: The Oral History of a Band Called Pixies of the reunion. “We all made lots of money. I know everyone’s made a lot of money because I’m privy to how much the checks are for. Everyone did good. For a little indie rock band, we did really good.”
Like a lot of bands, their legend grew considerably during their split thanks to an array of different factors which gave Pixies renewed relevance. From ‘Where Is My Mind‘ featuring prominently in Fight Club, which brought a new younger audience to the band who started to deep dive their repertoire, a new group of fans began falling in love with their output.
After their status had turned legendary during their decade-long hiatus, the band started receiving lucrative offers to reunite. In 2003, following a series of phone calls among band members, the Pixies started taking part in rehearsals to see if it was possible to put their personal issues behind them. By February 2004, a full tour was announced with tickets for nearly all the initial dates selling out within minutes. Remarkably, their four-night run at London’s Brixton Academy was the fastest-selling in the venue’s then twenty-year history.
Coachella would be their first major appearance on stage since 1992 and, following a series of low-key warm-up gigs to sort out their match practice, by the time the Californian festival came around they were chomping at the bit to make up for the lost time.
“I remember it was surreal because going out there and seeing first of all that mass of people that was so expansive and the majority at least seemed to me like young kids who weren’t even born when our records came out and their singing along with every word,” drummer David Lovering recalled in an interview with Radio.com. “With a mix of older people my age that were mixed in there so just that juxtaposition in them all singing along was amazing.”
The band, who played a staggering 21-song set, rolled back the years to both their loyal cult fanbase and their newly recruited audience to dramatic effect. Check out ‘Caribou’ from their iconic set, below.