If you go
When: 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5
Where: Summit Music Hall, 1902 Blake St., Denver
More info: breedersdigest.net
Kim Deal appreciates that her band's most famous album helped define an era when alternative music ruled the radio and MTV. She's glad it achieved platinum sales status, and that critics have since pegged it as one of indie rock's most enduringly bittersweet documents.
She's just puzzled as to why that is.
"You know, the first single has vocal feedback using my brother's harmonic mic plugged into the Marshall (amplifier). 'Check, check, 1, 2!' " she said, imitating the fuzzy intro to "Cannonball." "But back then that was not considered radio friendly, and I definitely wasn't sitting around going, 'Hmm... how can I make this the most palatable for the most people?' "
The Breeders' 1993 album "Last Splash," a gritty, sticky-sweet tangle of melodic guitars and seething vocals, has lately enjoyed a rebirth in the form of a three-CD, seven-LP reissue (last year's LSXX set on 4AD) and a 60-date, eight-month tour that has taken the band's seminal lineup around the world playing the album front to back.
But for this latest leg of the tour, it's a matter of practicality. Fellow '90s indie darlings Neutral Milk Hotel — another band that has recently reunited to play its most celebrated album for nostalgic fans — asked the Breeders to open its Sept. 18 show at the Hollywood Bowl. That prompted Deal to once again call up the Breeders' 1993 lineup, which includes her twin sister Kelley (vocals, guitar), British bassist Josephine Wiggs and hard-hitting drummer Jim Macpherson, for a string of dates winding from Deal's hometown and current residence of Dayton, Ohio to Los Angeles.
"We've been working in the basement again on some new songs, so after they asked us to play that (show) we figured, 'Let's get in the van and drive all the way out, but on the way we can be practicing and playing these new songs,'" said Deal, who will also bring the Breeders to Summit Music Hall on Friday, Sept. 5.
Deal is familiar with chemistry — or lack thereof — in band lineups. She founded the Breeders with Throwing Muses guitarist/singer Tanya Donnelly as a side project of the Pixies, in which Deal played bass and occasionally sang.
But her 27-year, on-again/off-again relationship with the Pixies ended when she formally quit the band last year, and though she doesn't like to talk about it in interviews, there's a sense of relief in her voice when reminded of the fact that the Breeders are her only gig now — even if a good chunk of the band's set list is two-plus decades old.
"I still enjoy playing them," Deal said after being asked to estimate how many thousands of times she's performed Last Splash songs like "Cannonball" or "Divine Hammer." "Writing something that matters to me in the first place is a good way to make sure of that."
It's difficult to question her sincerity. The 53-year-old speaks her mind in interviews, avoiding sound bites and quick answers. When she says a song like the Last Splash tearjerker "Drivin' on 9" actually brings tears to her eyes, it's easy to believe her.
"I love music, so if two notes ring out in this certain space and the PA takes off and takes a hold of one of them, and it makes it raise up a little louder and a little louder, and it's got a beautiful tone as we arc into a chord progression and it's just the right volume and the right tempo, I feel like crying. So the idea of just reciting some telephone directory is not what's happening with me on stage."