You may have heard recently that the Pixies are about to embark on another tour of Europe and North America commemorating the 20th anniversary of the release of alternative-Hall-of-Fame album Doolittle. Unfortunately, they will be coming nowhere near Texas, so the likelihood that I will get to attend one of these shows is virtually nil. Still, the opportunity to hear the Doolittle album performed live in its entirety sounds so incredibly awesome to this die hard fan that I would seriously consider dropping the cash to make it happen if I had such cash available. Damn you, recession/depression!
The documentary of the Pixies’ reunion tour made it abundantly clear that the band members were not afraid to come together for purely financial reasons to capitalize on the belated respect and widespread acceptance that they had earned nearly 15 years after their dissolution, but media reports made it abundantly clear that the band members would not be coming together for a new record, reportedly due to the classic tension between Charles Thompson (aka Black Francis/Frank Black) and Kim Deal (aka Mrs. John Murphy). But these plans for a new tour at least reveal that their old animosity has not completely deterred them from working together in the future. So will we ever get another proper Pixies record? I am optimistic. History tells me I shouldn’t be, but dammit, I am!
So that long set up was to introduce two covers that I wasn’t even aware existed until very recently. The first is done by maybe one of my favorite musicians of all time, Mr. David Bowie. This cover comes from his 2002 release Heathen, and it is pretty great. While the song does not come from Doolittle (it was on Surfer Rosa), “Cactus” was an early indicator of the sound that would come to shape the iconic 80’s alternative sound that the Pixies personified. Bowie’s version is a surprisingly awesome, slightly industrial reinterpretation that still remains true to the original.
David Bowie – “Cactus”
Next up is a completely a capella version of “Mr. Grieves”, a song which actually does appear on Doolittle. Really, this cover takes my breath away and leaves me speechless. I will only say that is is an incredible reinterpretation that turns the manic original into an improbably yet completely successful doo-wop tune. This version of the song both proves Charles Thompson’s ability to craft a great song and TV on the Radio’s unique musical sensibilities.
TV on the Radio – “Mr. Grieves”