Pixies Guitarist Joey Santiago on Touring, Movies, and Doolittle

It's been some time since the Pixies have played a gig here in Phoenix. Fortunately for Valley Pixies fans the band's latest tour will bring them to the Mesa Amphitheater along with Fuck Buttons on September 24th.

The band will be celebrating the 21st anniversary of their album Doolittle by playing the album in its entirety along with some b-sides and other group favorites.

Up on the Sun recently caught up with Pixies guitarist Joey Santiago by phone in Atlanta to discuss touring, the legacy of Doolittle, movies and, of course, the possibility of a new album from the Pixies.

Rock me, Joe.

Up On The Sun: How's the tour going so far?

Joey Santiago: Pretty good. We played Atlanta last night at the Fox Theatre. It's been great, you know, we went to Nashville the other night, which is a pretty neat town and the Ryman Auditorium. It's all been good, yeah.

Up On The Sun: So you guys have a couple of days off now?

JS: Yeah, we have a couple of days off now. We're on our way to Omaha but we are spending the day off today here in Atlanta and then we will fly out tomorrow.

Up On The Sun: How are you planning on spending your day off in Atlanta?

JS: I'm going to go to a Braves game tonight. It's my first time being at that stadium but we have an English manager that loves baseball so we're going tonight and it's going to be great.

Up On The Sun: For this tour you guys are playing Doolittle in its entirety and some b-sides correct?

JS: Yes, b-sides and we're going to have a film behind us also. This one is LED screen behind us projecting different images for each song, you know, movies, little movie clips for each song.

Up On The Sun: Who directed the movies that are played during each song?

JS: I guess we commissioned them to film students everywhere around the world.

Up On The Sun: Was the idea just to make a music video to go along with each song or something more visual?

JS: More like visual montages I would say. It doesn't really have a story per se, it is images that evoke from the lyrics, images that you would get from the lyrics.

Up On The Sun: It's the 21st anniversary of Doolittle this year and you guys are still out on the road playing it. Why do you think this album has endured for as long as it has?

JS: I really think it's one of those lucky instances of music where it's a unique piece of work, very unique, and accepted. It didn't really drop from any other influences, it just kinda came out of the sky and people accepted it, you know. So it's very lucky.

Up On The Sun: When you guys were recording the album did you have any idea it would become such a classic?

JS: Well the only goal, really, when we were making the record was to make something very unique, you know, just something different. If we started to sound derivative we'd just throw away that idea, whether it's a drum beat, bass lines, guitar lines, anything really, it just goes out the window if it sounds too derivative of something.

Up On The Sun: Previously you've done some composing and soundtrack work for film and TV, are you working on any projects now?

JS: No, but I do - it's funny you should mention that because I've been thinking about getting back into it 'cause I think we're gonna have a bit of a time off for the winter time and spring so I could actually look for a project.

Up On The Sun: Do you typically search out projects or do people usually come to you with ideas?

JS: A little bit of both, you know. I like it when they come to me because then - especially if they know the work I've done, then it's easy. But this time around I think I'm going to utilize my agent and search out a particular film or a certain thing that they're looking for. I just wanna project.

Up On The Sun: Are there any genres of film or TV that interest you more than others?

JS: I like documentaries. I love 'em because you can learn a lot from them.

Up On The Sun: Are there any documentaries that you've seen recently that stand out in your mind?

JS: You know the only things I've been watching really are on the plane. I finally just watched Kick-Ass.

Up On The Sun: What did you think of that?

JS: I loved it. I liked the music on it, too.

Up On The Sun: I'm pretty sure they are making a sequel, maybe that could be your next film project.

JS: Oh yeah.

Up On The Sun: Last year you released an album with Pixies drummer David Lovering as The Everybody. How did that project come about?

JS: I believe we had a lot of time off so we just worked on it. I just wanna work on something so we're not just sitting around. It just came naturally, I just called him up and said, 'hey, you wanna work on stuff' and he said sure. So he came over four hours a day which is more than enough and we put it together ourselves, we played everything ourselves.

Up On The Sun: Do you have any plans to work on more material as The Everybody?

JS: It's just a project, there is no real pressure to it, it's just something to go out. It's really just an art project in the truest sense because really I'm not looking to, you know, I'm just looking to share music. I would like to do something else whether it's The Everybody or something else.

Up On The Sun: Any chance that "something else" could be a new album from the Pixies?

JS: We haven't really discussed it. You know right now we're just concentrating on this. We're just touring right now and, you know, it's not like we want to go back to the old days where we're writing on the road because we don't have to, you know. If that happens we're gonna do it at our own pace. We don't have a record deal, which is great, so, we don't have to think about any of that stuff. And if it happens, it happens. We've entertained the thought, so, that's a start.

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Mike Escoto