The Breeders Biography
The Breeders were formed back in 1988 in Boston, Massachusetts. Kim Deal (aka Mrs. John Murphy), who was playing bass for the Pixies at the time, decided she wanted to step away from Black Francis' "creative shadow" and release some of her own creative energy.
She recruited Tanya Donelly, a founding member of Throwing Muses (the first American band to be signed to the British label, 4AD). Tanya and Kim first met at a club in Boston in 1988, when both frustrated songwriters decided to form a band of their own. They spent the next two years looking for the time to record and going through a number of different line-ups.They named their band The Breeders, the same name that Kim had used years earlier when she and her sister Kelley would play truckstops in Dayton, Ohio.They chose the name because they thought it was funny (it is an old homosexual slang term for a straight person).
After settling on a line-up, the Breeders entered the studio and recorded their debut album, Pod (1990), in three weeks. The line-up included Slint's Brit Walford on drums (who appeared as Shannon Doughton), British bass player Josephine Wiggs (from The Perfect Disaster - a band that opened for the Pixies), and Carrie Bradley on violin. Pod was produced by Steve Albini, who also produced the Pixies', Surfer Rosa.
While some critics claimed the album was reminiscent of the Pixies, the public seemed to enjoy its low-fi guitars, lilting vocal melodies, and lyrics about abortion, weird sex, and death. Unhampered by a critical reception, Pod outsold Bossonova (the Pixies album of that year) in 1990 and established a style which would eventually become an influence for many indie-rock wanna-be's.However, the bankruptcy of Rough Trade America caused the band to lose most of their royalties from Pod. This, along with Tanya Donelly's other commitments, caused Kim to return to the Pixies until their disbandment.
While The Breeders were originally conceived as a creative outlet for both Tanya and Kim, Deal eventually assumed control of the band. A year later, amidst talk of forming a new band of her own, Tanya joined The Breeders again to release Safari (1991), a more melodic, highly acclaimed four-song EP. The line-up on Safari included new drummer, Jim Macpherson, from Dayton's The Raging Mantras, and Kelley Deal (who had never played guitar before), Kim's twin sister, on guitar. Tanya left the band shortly after to join her own band, Belly. After the release of Safari, a very nervous Breeders line-up opened for Nirvana on their July 1992 European tour.
Soon after, The Breeders entered the studio again, choosing to record in San Francisco with British co-producer Mark Freegard and Carrie Bradley (of Ed's Redeeming Qualities) on violin again. It was during this time that The Breeders recorded their most successful single, "Cannonball", a song that combined slippery riffs and lyrics about Sadian sexuality. Cannonball, which included a cover of Aerosmith's "Lord of the Thighs", quickly became the most popular single of the year. With beaucoup exposure on MTV and radio, "Cannonball" helped its mother album, Last Splash, reach gold status in the States alone. The popularity of Last Splash was an indication that The Breeders had scooped up the post-Pixies audience, as well as many others.
With the popularity of Last Splash and some help from Nirvana, The Breeders joined the Lollapalooza tour in the summer 1993. During 1993 and 1994 The Breeders toured the world and released a three song EP, Head to Toe (which was only released in limited quantities on 7" and 10" vinyl). Exhausted and sick of touring, The Breeders took a break late in 1994, during which time Kelley Deal was arrested and sent to rehab in Minnesota. In the following year, Kim wrote songs, practiced with Jim, and learned to play drums, while Josephine spent time resting in New York and working with her band that would become The Josephine Wiggs Experience. While the other members weren't quite ready to record and tour again, Kim was. As a result, she decided to take her songs, originally intended to be Breeders tunes, and record them on her own. However, she quickly changed her mind and opted to hire a "generic backing band", which included Jim Macpherson on drums, Nathan Farley on guitar, and Luis Lerma (of The Tasties) on
Her new band was originally called Tammy and the Amps, but was quickly shortened to just The Amps. During the next few month, The Amps toured and recorded in a variety of places, including New York, Chicago, Memphis, Los Angeles and Dublin, Ireland. The Amps' album, Pacer, was released on October 31, 1995. Pacer featured low-fi production and distorted guitars similar to The Breeders' Head to Toe EP. Pacer included the single, Tipp City, as well as a new version of "Hoverin'" (a Breeders tune written by Kim Deal and John Murphy, originally released on the Divine Hammer single).
In December of 1996, a very short Breeders "reunion" tour was announced. It included only two dates in California: Santa Cruz (Dec 30th) and San Francisco (Dec 31st with Primus). While many hoped Kelley and Josephine were part of the reunion, it turns out they weren't. In fact, The Breeders line-up this round consisted of all the members of The Amps and Carrie Bradley. Three months later, The Breeders kicked off an East Coast tour in Dayton, Ohio, followed by a West Coast tour in May. During these tours the band played a combination of Breeders and Amps songs, in addition to a few new tunes that would later be released in on a 7" demo.
In August 1997, The Breeders played at the Tim Taylor Memorial Benefit in Dayton. The show featured a number of different Dayton bands, including Guided By Voices. Once again, The Breeders line-up had changed. This time drummer Jim Macpherson had been replaced by Braniac drummer, Tyler Trent. Later in 1997, The Breeders headed to New York to record the next Breeders album. The album is scheduled to be released in May, followed by a tour.
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