The Pixies. Not At Stubb's. Again.
I don't. I'm not cool. The first CD I bought was Sergeant Pepper, and the second was Automatic For The People, and then there was an 8-year period (during which, you know, grunge happened) where I listened to Broadway musical soundtracks *cough* showtunes *cough*, marching band music, and Frank Zappa records.
This is embarassing, and I don't know why I am telling you this, but here it goes. I had never heard The Pixies until I saw Fight Club.
Jesus. I feel like I just bared the deepest, darkest secret of my soul.
I watched Fight Club, and I went to Tower Records and I bought the Fight Club sound track. It didn't have the song I wanted. I asked friends, "What was that song at the end, the song, you know, the one that was really mind blowingly amazing?"
"Shut up," they said. "You suck."
It took me several days to track down the fact that it was "Where Is My Mind" off of Surfer Rosa by The Pixies. I bought the album. I listened to it. I had my ass blown out.
Here's another thing I should explain. When I discover something that I like, I do a lot of research on it. Like, when my high school girlfriend convinced me that being a goth was the way to go, I went online (and this was back before the web, biatch!) and read up on what it meant to be a goth. The next day, I knew the entire history of the gothic subculture, and could speak with reasonable clarity on a variety of related subjects.
Also, I had crazy hair. Please also note, that is not my high school girlfriend.
So after I bought Surfer Rosa — available here from my retail partner, Amazon.com! — I read up on the whole history of the band. The more I read, the more fascinated I was. I remember coming into work and complaining to a friend, who was aware of my affection for The Breeders — that he hadn't told me about The Pixies even though that was Kim Deal's band from BEFORE THE BREEDERS.
How could he be so insensitive?
So that's the set up. I own all The Pixies albums now, including their live BBC recording. Yadda yadda yadda.
No, wait. There's more.
Last year at SXSW, my friend Neal Pollack had a guest in from England. He was an older fellow, but was filled with piss, vinegar, and cocaine. One afternoon, as our motley crew lounged in my hot tub drinking champagne and planning our evening of rock and roll, this fellow explained that he was going to go see Blur.
"But Blur isn't playing," I said.
"Aha!" he said. "Gavin was here to speak at the convention. Also, they just hired a new drummer, and are planning a tour in support of their new album. Also, look here — there is a 2-hour hole in the schedule for La Zona Rosa. BLUR MUST BE PLAYING A SECRET SHOW!"
"You are a crazy old kook!" I said, and then I punched him in the face.
The next day, he arrived at my house elated. "Blur was amazing," he said. And then he kicked me in the nuts.
And I learned an important life lesson. If someone tells you that one of your favorite bands is playing a secret show at SXSW, just go. Go, because you'll be kicking yourself forever if you miss the greatest show of all time where Blur played to an audience of 10 people.
OK. That's really the entire set up-for this story. Hey, don't worry, we're only 700 words into it.
This year at SXSW — and sorry, nerds, I'm talking about SXSW Music (It is funny to see the post-SXSW writeups in the Austin Chronicle that explain SXSW as a film and music conference, and totally ignore the interactive portion, and then to read the blogs and see that the film and music parts are ignored. Interesting. Nerds!) — we heard a rumor that The Pixies would be playing a show at Stubb's BBQ. I explained my story about Blur, and the facts seemed to line up. The Pixies would be making a big comeback tour later this year. There was a big empty space at a prominent club. And someone had told Lane that it was going to be The Pixies. It was almost a fact.
When I arrived at Stubb's, there was an enormous line that wrapped around the corner. "It must be The Pixies!" I thought. Luckily, I had an elite super badge that let me bypass the line, and I entered the club and went straight to the front.
Lane, Willo and I stood next to the stage for about an hour. We watched people come in to the club. It got crowded. We discussed how great it was that we were seeing The Pixies. We pumped each other up. We made sweet love. It was fantastic.
We were going to see The Pixies. The Pixies. They had that song, you know, at the end of Fight Club.
Willo noticed that there were an awful lot of people in the crowd who were wearing shirts that said, "Free The OZO Three." She asked a woman standing near by what they meant, and the woman explained that some band had had some of its members arrested the previous night when they were cavorting illegally in the street late at night.
"What a bunch of retards," I said.
"NO!" said the woman in the tee-shirt. "THEY ARE BRILLIANT HEROES, AND SAVIORS TO US ALL!"
"Yeah, whatever," I said. "We are here to see one of the greatest bands of all time, and not to be dragged into some weird promotional ickyness for some band that I have never heard of. Please!"
It was at this point that I noticed that there were approximately two dozen video cameras lined up at the front of the stage, recording the audience.
"It must be The Pixies," I said. "Look at all the cameras!"
I was ignoring the fact that there were enough instruments on the stage to accommodate 12 or 13 people.
I was ignoring the fact that most of them had stickers that said OZO on them.
The lights went down. The crowd cheered. A man with dreadlocks came out on stage. "We are OZOMATLI," he said. "AND THE COPS CAN'T KEEP US DOWN."
They began playing a bizarre hybrid of mariachi music and hiphop. I realized that all the video cameras recording the audience would be used in some sort of promotional, "OZOMATLI DEFEATS THE POLICE WITH THE HELP OF THEIR ONE MILLION SCREAMING FANS" video. I began contemplating suicide. We left almost immediately.
BUT I LOVE THE PIXIES, see. I love them. They're amazing. They influenced everyone. And they had broken up by the time I discovered them, which means that seeing them live — especially at a secret show — is like GOING BACK IN TIME AND MAKING ME COOL.
Last night, Neal called me up. "I have very reliable information from an indie-rock insider that The Pixies will be playing a secret show at Stubb's tonight."
Wary from my previous experiences, I decided to check the internet for supporting evidence. I checked The Pixies homepage. It said, "In April, The Pixies will kick off an 11-city "warm up" tour of North America..." It was April 1st. April 1st is in April, and Austin is a city.
It was practically fact.
I told all my friends. I told the guys who work at the coffee shop. I told my mom.
I was going to see The Pixies play a tiny club show, special for li'l' ol' me.
My friend Elana and I get to the club 10 minutes before the doors open. There is a girl taking money for tickets. We sidle up to the counter, all music-insider style, and I say, "So, there's a rumor that there's an, ahem, special guest tonight. Is that true?"
"I don't know," she says.
"The Pixies," says Elana. "We heard The Pixies were playing tonight."
"BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHA HAAHAHAHAH AHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA" says the girl. "You are fucking retards. The Pixies? Playing here? For $10? Are you retarded? You are retarded! Hey guys! Look at these retards here who thought THE PIXIES were playing tonight!"
I turned, red faced, and ran out of the door. I then wept silently to myself in the middle of the street for several minutes.
Frank Black had eluded me once again. And worse, I had been had. I was an April fool.
Here is the moral, for which, through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, you have fought your way here through 1500 words.
If, tomorrow, someone were to tell me that The Pixies were playing a secret show in a back yard in San Marcos, I would go. If they said The Pixies were playing a show at a McDonald's on the side of the highway halfway between Austin and Waco, I would go. I would go right now. Because it is The Pixies, and they are one of the greatest bands of all time, and it is more than worth it to embarrass yourself, injure yourself, or even see Ozomatli play 2 songs, if there is even the slightest chance of seeing The Pixies.
On second thought, if there is even the slightest chance of seeing Ozomatli, stay home. The Pixies will tour again.