Why is it that we never seem to appreciate something until it goes away?

It is a rhetorical question. Masters and doctoral theses can and have been written on the topic. As have long-winded critiques by blow-hard rock ‘critics’ that are more in love with their own words than the band or music.

Rarely is there a second chance to show that admiration that was justly due prior.

The Pixies to audiophile and college rock
fans (before college rock became alternative rock) were an underappreciated, undiscovered gem of a band in their first iteration.

It was only after the band dissolved in 1993 that their lore and legend grew. “Where is My Mind” from their debut “Surfer Rosa” has turned up in everything from “Fight Club” to commercials to tv shows as has “Monkey Gone to Heaven,” “Here Comes Your Man,” and “Debaser.”

The original lineup of Black Francis, Joey Santiago, Kim Deal and David Lovering got back together in 2004 for a run of shows. Deal left the band in 2013 and was eventually replaced by Paz Lenchantin.

In 2014, the band released its first album, “Indie Cindy,” since 1991’s “Trompe le Monde.” While presented as an album, it was actually three EPs compiled.

2016 would see the band’s first new album of new material in the form of “Head Carrier.”

With the first leg of a tour in support of the album, the band played sold-out show after show. The Pixies are currently on the second leg of the “Head Carrier” tour, which will see them play Stage AE on Oct. 4.

The Swerve Magazine recently had the opportunity to talk with drummer David Lovering about the longevity of the band, appreciating things more the second time around, magic, the tour and The Pixies possibly being the Grateful Dead of Alternative Music.

The Swerve Magazine: I’ve read the band practiced 90 songs for the tour?

David Lovering:
I would say that 70 are working. We have a number of songs, but to pull them off with some decency, it is probably 70 at the most.

SM: Hell, 70 songs are a lot to have committed to memory and/or practiced beforehand.

DL: A lot of the older songs are like riding a bike. They are in (memory) anyway, and they just come out automatically.

What we strive to do is a 90-minute show without any stops and without a set list. I think we’ve had enough practice over the years that we are well-rehearsed with the older songs (laughs).

SM: I did read that the band doesn’t play the same setlist each night.

DL: We know what the first song is and what the last song will be, then everything in between we are calling. Charles has some signals. We have some songs that we know together. I may start the drumbeat of a song that everyone knows. There are hand signals. It makes it an adventurous, if not interesting, evening.

SM: I would say. It is a good thing that the band has been together as long as it has to have those kinds of signals and cues.

DL:
It is like an old hat type of thing (laughs).

SM: “Head Carrier” has been out for the better part of a year now. How have those songs been going live?

DL: Very well. The songs seem to be going well with our older songs. From my drummer view, I don't see a lot of people using the restroom during the new songs. I think they are working favorably well (laughs).

SM: The album is technically the first actual full-length release since the reunion as “Indie Cindy” was a compilation of EPs. And it was the first album without Kim Deal and with new bassist Paz Lenchantin. How did it feel working on it?

DL: It seems like a whole new undertaking that we were doing. It was our first album without Kim. We had a new producer as well. What was nice about it was it was like a luxury to us. The reason I say that is most of the albums that we did in all the years previously got faster and faster (in the making-of process). With being in the studio, there is a lot of pressure. You are trying to get the songs together, and everyone is trying to get it.

What was nice about “Head Carrier” was we had seven weeks of pre-production where we were either alone or with Tom Dalgety, our producer, just going over these songs. It just made it so much easier, if not more comfortable, going into the studio because you knew these songs in and out. It was just more of a joy and a luxury of doing it and in much quicker time than most previous albums. I think we finished the whole thing in three weeks. It was nice knowing the songs going in.

SM: The pre-production made the whole recording process quick.

DL:
Oh, absolutely.

It heralded back to doing “Surfer Rosa.” I would put that first album in comparison and the only reason I say that is we had so much time. Back with “Surfer Rosa,” we just played these gigs all around Boston. We were playing those songs inside and out until we recorded them. So, this was going back to that same type of feel of a comfort level.

SM: Paz is now a full-time member of the band, how is that now that she is a Pixie?

DL: It has been wonderful. Paz is as fantastic as she plays as she is just to hang around with. She is great.

It is interesting; the band is just having a blast. I think a lot of it has to do with even though Paz has been in the band for four, going on five, years now. To myself, to Joe, to Charles, she is still the new woman. All the men are still behaving. We are all behaving well. It is all good (laughs).

She has been perfect for us. It has worked so well.

SM: You mentioned “Surfer Rosa,” which is almost 30 years old, did you ever expect to be where you are today, that it would be that first album that changed things for the band?

DL: I can’t say I have. What job would last forever? It has gone through up and downs and everything, but it is surprising now, 30 years later.

SM: It, like you said, has not been without its ups and downs.

DL: I would never have thought I would be in this position now being back with the band.

SM: When the band did, I guess, break up in 1993, did you think it would ever get back together 11 years later.

DL: I was resigned to the fact (it was over). It was erased from my mind. So when the opportunity did come up, it was completely by surprise. I would have never dreamed it.

SM: In that break, you dabbled with magic and became a magician. Was that something that you were doing before?

DL: I think I did something for school once. I had not thought of magic or seen any magic until 1994. There was a convention in Los Angeles. I went with a friend that was interested. I saw magic that blew me away. From that point on, I bought every book, every video. I took classes. I joined the Magic Castle (in LA). I worked and worked and worked. I tried to be proficient enough.

It was a joy, and I loved doing it. What was funny is that I opened up for The Pixies. I opened up for The Breeders. I even opened for a Pixies cover band once. The thing about it is, I could do no wrong (laughs) because of my affiliation with who the audience was coming to see. They were just being very nice to me. (Laughs) I couldn't judge how good the act was.

SM: Hey, it was a built-in audience.

DL: True.

SM: Have you continued to practice the magic now?

DL: Yes, I still do a lot. The Pixies have been really busy, so it is a lot of close-up magic backstage or socially. I enjoy that a lot more. It is much more fun than a stage show, that kind of intimate magic.

SM: Bringing things back to the tour, the first leg of the tour was a sellout for each date. Is it the kids that have grown up now with 30 years of The Pixies? Is it finally the band is getting the recognition it deserves?

DL: It is interesting. It wasn’t until 2004 when we got back together when we were doing Coachella. It was one of the first shows. There was a sea of people, but they weren’t even born when we were a band (the first time). They would sing along to all the songs. It was pretty crazy.

The craziest thing was we did it again in 2014, and it was that same age (group) of kids or younger (than ten years previous) that would sing along with all the songs, if not the newer stuff that we were doing. They all knew that.

We do have an audience of people my age that have their kids. I even met a grandfather with his son and his grandson that came to a show. I would say that we are The Grateful Dead of alternative rock (laughs).

SM: It sounds like a fun tour. Do you find it more fun and less stress than touring from years ago?

DL: Just the opportunity itself that was presented in 2004 for us reuniting, I appreciate it so much more. It was something that I really loved doing.

There is effort with it, but it is wonderful. We are very fortunate.

SM: I know you just released “Head Carrier” last year, but I have to ask if there are any more Pixies albums possibly coming in the future?

DL: Ever since we did “Indie Cindy,” that album was a bit of trepidation doing it because we knew people were going to judge us.

We liked the songs. What was great about it is that it is out of the way. It is done now. It is how “Head Carrier” came about. It is a lot easier. We are not scared anymore (of the judgment). We did that first (album), now we can do something that we feel is viable.

We’ve been doing this long enough that we feel that we are still a viable band. There is talk. I know once “Head Carrier” (the tour) finishes, then most likely we will do another album and support that. I definitely see that.