If you’re the type of fan who gets frustrated when a musician spends half the concert talking, then don’t miss the Pixies this Tuesday at the Paramount. “We rarely say much onstage,” says Pixies drummer Dave Lovering. They prefer instead to let their music stand without chatter.
The Pixies first formed almost 30 years ago, with several breakups and reunions since, but they are one of the most influential alternative rock bands of all time. Kurt Cobain once told “Rolling Stone” that “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was his attempt “to rip off the Pixies.”
Though the Pixies have influenced many bands, the real deal is still something to witness, and their Bumbershoot appearance this year was one of the highlights of the festival. Lead singer Black Francis was in fine form, as was guitarist Joey Santiago.
Kim Deal was the band’s original bass player, but over the years she has come and gone on a few occasions. When the band reunited in 2004 after a decade break, Deal was back in the band, but she left again last year.
The current bass player is Paz Lenchantin, who Lovering says has made the Pixies work harder onstage because of her varied musical skills on violin, Moog and her bass. Lenchantin previously was in the band eMOTIVe and has done studio work with Queens of the Stone Age.
Any new member of the Pixies had better be rehearsed as the band’s set lists vary from show to show, and touch on both new material — from two EPs released in the past year — and from ’80s classics like “Surfer Rosa” and “Doolittle.” Lovering says the band never goes onstage with a set list drawn out in advance.
“We just call out the songs, one after the other onstage,” he says. “We play rapid fire.”
If that sounds like a bit of a magic act to pull off, Lovering is also qualified in that regard. He’s the only major rock musician who is also a professional magician, and has membership at the prestigious Magic Castle in Los Angeles.
Lovering has another claim to fame that few can boast: He once was solicited by Dave Grohl to play in the Foo Fighters in their early days.
It was an offer that showed the circle of influence the Pixies have had. “That was so long ago,” Lovering recalls. “I can’t even remember now why I didn’t do it, but there was a little bit of talk about that.”
With the Pixies, a little bit of talk goes a long way.
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18, at the Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., Seattle; $59.50 (206-902-5500 or stgpresents.org).
Charles R. Cross: firstname.lastname@example.org