Kim Deal, as bassist with the Pixies and frontwoman for The Breeders she is hugely respected and adored by both fans and fellow musicians.
Born Kimberley Ann Deal in Dayton Ohio, Kim joined the Pixies in 1986 responding to an ad for a bassist into Husker Du and Peter Paul & Mary – despite never having played bass guitar. Kim was already writing her own songs at this stage, having formed an early incarnation of The Breeders with her twin sister Kelley as a teenager.
After the European tour for Surfer Rosa with 4ad label mates Throwing Muses, Kim began a side project with Muses guitarist Tanya Donelly reusing the name The Breeders. Immediately signed to 4ad their 1990 Steve Albini recorded debut Pod was a huge critical success – A certain Mr Kurt Cobain would later name it as one of his all time favourite albums.
Tensions appeared in the Pixies after the Doolittle tour, with Kim sidelined by Frank Black who was refusing to allow Kim to write or sing lead vocals on Pixies albums despite the Deal composed Gigantic being a successful single release and fan favourite.
It’s hard to pinpoint the exact appeal of Kim. The Dandy Warhols wrote a song about her Cool As Kim Deal for their 1997 album The Dandy Warhol’s Come Down and in 2008 indie label American Laundromat Records released an entire Kim Deal tribute album.
Is it the voice? Achingly beautiful or (Cannon)ball busting cool, nobody can harmonise like Kim Deal whose voice perfectly enriches those she is performing with, be it Tanya Donelly, Kim Gordon, Kelley Deal or of course Frank Black. It’s hard to imagine anyone else singing back up on Where Is My Mind.
The bass playing? Ask any bassist and they will tell you Pixies basslines are not incredibly difficult, but they are ARE brilliant, and Kim just looks cool when playing ( check out I Bleed )
The stage banter? Kim loves playing live, her grin doesn’t fade the entire show plus she is engaging, warm and funny – this is doubled at Breeders gigs as you also get the sibling squabbles with Kelley.
With Pixies still touring and Kim writing material for a new Breeders album whilst on the road here is a timely reminder of some of the best Kim Deal moments
Ultra Vivid Scene featuring Kim Deal: Special One
Joyous pop from the 4ad band featuring Kim on backing vocals
This Mortal Coil: You & Your Sister
Another classic 4ad collaboration. Kim Deal and Tanya Donelly duetting for the Ivo Watts Russell super group
The Breeders: Shocker In Gloomtown
Great cover of the Guided By Voices track
The Breeders: Empty Glasses
Initially a track by The Amps, the side project Kim started while Kelley was in rehab, this is now a live Breeders favourite
The Breeders: Bang On
Live version of the Mountain Battles track from the 2008 South By Southwest
1988 live version at London Town & Country, this gig was actually playing as support to Throwing Muses – check out the Kim Deal grin.
The Breeders: Divine Hammer
Just one of the highlights from the Last Splash album
The Breeders: Safari
Great track, notable for being the last release featuring Tanya Donelly and the first to feature Kelley Deal in the line up.
Pixies: Where Is My Mind
Utterly brilliant, probably the best example of Deal’s harmonies. It’s inclusion on the closing credits of the film Fight Club is one of the best uses of a song in a movie EVER! This is a live version from their 2004 reunion tour
The Breeders: Cannonball
One of the best indie singles of the 90’s this track still gets people tearing up the dancefloor.
Written and compiled by Jamie Gambino