In a recent reader poll, England’s New Musical Express (NME) named The Breeders the 12th most influential band of all time — higher than The Clash, The Velvet Underground and Led Zeppelin.
Lead guitarist Kelley Deal thinks this is hilarious.
“Damn,” she exclaims over the phone from Dayton, Ohio, where she and her twin sister, bandmate, Kim, grew up and still reside. “Those were heavy hitters who were included in there. Like, real bands!”She’s being a bit facetious, but it’s true that the The Breeders — appearing Wednesday at Seattle’s Showbox club — have rarely paid much mind to convention.
Things began promisingly when Kurt Cobain called their bare-bones 1990 debut “Pod” a personal favorite, tapping them to open for Nirvana on 1993’s “In Utero” tour.
The following summer, The Breeders scored their own breakthrough with “Cannonball,” propelling their second LP “Last Splash” to platinum status.
Despite these ups and downs, The Breeders never quit, maintaining their effortless cool for the better part of three decades.
Less jagged than The Pixies, but similarly prone to pulling big, bizarre hooks from the ether, “Last Splash” marched confidently to its own off-kilter beat, building a bridge from art-damaged dirge to pop jangle, even rootsy twang.
To celebrate its 20th anniversary, bassist Josephine Wiggs and drummer Jim Macpherson — absent on later outings like 2008’s “Mountain Battles” — re-joined the Deals last fall for a triple-disc box set and commemorative tour.
Part of why the classic-lineup shows sounded so fresh was that tracks like mid-album mood piece “Mad Lucas” had never been performed live before — but mainly it was the foursome’s joie de vivre.
“When we would hear Josephine and Jim doing the rhythm section for ‘Cannonball,’ it was like, ‘Oh my God, there it is,’” remembers Kelley. “We hadn’t played with those two together in so long… and recreating that material was interesting, challenging and fun.”
With Wiggs and Macpherson back in the fold full-time, and Kim’s schedule cleared — she left the reunited Pixies earlier in 2013 — The Breeders are working on a new record, due next year. They’ll test-drive selections from it Wednesday.
Are the Deal sisters feeling the weight of expectation from the music press?
“C’mon — we still live in Dayton,” Kelley laughs, her pronounced Southern Ohio drawl confirming it. “We’ve never really been that professional. We’re still guessing at every step.”
8:30 p.m. Wednesday at Showbox at the Market, 1426 <span channel=”!”>1st</span>First Ave., Seattle; $25-$28 (206-628-3151 or showboxpresents.com).