Tracklist Hide Credits
- Bass, Vocals – Kim Deal
- Compiled By – Chris Staley
- Design – Timothy O'Donnell
- Design, Art Direction – Vaughan Oliver
- Drums – Dave Lovering
- Engineer – Al Clay* (tracks: 1-1, 1-7, 1-13, 1-15), Gil Norton (tracks: 1-3 to 1-6, 1-16, 1-17), Paul Q. Kolderie (tracks: 1-8 to 1-10)
- Engineer [Assistant] – Andrew Ballard (tracks: 1-1, 1-2, 1-7, 1-11, 1-15), Dave Snider (2) (tracks: 1-3 to 1-6, 1-16, 1-17), Gregg Barrett (tracks: 1-1, 1-7, 1-15), Jack Benson (tracks: 1-1, 1-7, 1-15), Matt Lane (tracks: 1-3 to 1-6, 1-16, 1-17), Moses Schneider (tracks: 1-1, 1-7, 1-15), Scott Blockland (tracks: 1-1, 1-2, 1-7, 1-11, 1-15)
- Lead Guitar – Joey Santiago
- Liner Notes – Gary Smith
- Mastered By – Don C. Tyler
- Mixed By – Steve Haigler* (tracks: 1-1, 1-3 to 1-7, 1-15 to 1-17)
- Photography By – Nicola Schwarz*
- Photography By [Portrait] – Kevin Westenberg
- Producer – Gary Smith (tracks: 1-8, 1-9, 1-10), Gil Norton (tracks: 1-1 to 1-7, 1-11, 1-13, 1-15 to 1-17), Ronald Trijber (tracks: 2-1 to 2-21)
- Vocals, Guitar – Black Francis
- Written-By – Black Francis (tracks: 1-2 to 1-12, 1-14 to 1-17, 2-1 to 2-21)
Production by VPRO Radio 3.
CD's come in a slimline double jewel case that is housed in a cardboard slipcover. The artwork in the jewel case is identical to the slipcover except the slipcover has the UPC number printed on it and the jewel case insert does not. The back of the slipcover also has a few notes as to the contents of the recordings.
Three kids in rock tee shirts are drinking colas at the outdoor cafe table beside mine as I try to pull these notes together. They don't look a bit out of place in their alterna-rock duds even though they're a hundred miles from any radio station worth listening to. There's no rock club here. There's no hip record store. There's just the modern fabric of life in America in which MTV has set the tone and alternative rock has provided the content for the homogenization of the world. It's a monochrome Gap wonderland from sea to shining sea and any attempt at dressing "alternatively" is immediately co-opted by some New York designer who plasters the same tortured individuality across a two-page advertising spread in Vanity Fair or Details or Q. In fact these kids could just as easily be on a photo shoot for unisex cologne as be rock n roll fans. Meanwhile, there's a huge Fuji dirigible flying overhead and a wonderstruck old woman is pleading with passers-by to look up. "Come on!", she implores, "That's not something you see everyday!" But undoubtedly it is because no one even notices her, let alone the flashing and blinking flying machine hovering like the future above them.
Things have changed a lot in ten years. In September of 1987 Ronald Reagan was the President of the United States. The Soviet Union was still a communist world power. Rick Astley was at the top of the UK pop charts and Michael Jackson's "Bad" was Number One in Billboard. In September of 1987 the underground scene which had thrown up such luminaries as Hüsker Dü, The Replacements and R.E.M, still wasn't important enough to the mainstream economy to have its own genre, namely "Alternative Music". To most people, it didn't even exist. In September of 1987, the Pixies came to take the kids. The world was a very different place.
Ten months previous, I saw the Pixies land onstage at the The Rat in Boston and with or without the aid of hindsight it was an otherworldly experience. They had no parallel. They had no peer. They had no idea what the hell they were doing or that it could change everything. Here was this fresh-faced handsome blond kid, alternately singing in spanish and then, without warning, yelling hysterically like a flying saucer had just flown off with his kid sister, if he had a kid sister. The lead guitarist was making pretty much every conceivable noise with his guitar except the ones you'd expect and I'm pretty sure that, during the last song, he ripped all the strings off the instrument which would have been far less strange if he hadn't somehow continued to play it afterwards.
Meanwhile, the rhythm section seemed perfectly normal which was the most confusing part of this picture. The drummer, with more than his share of stick-twirling, put down a foundation with a pile driver and connected like siamese twins with the bass player. She appeared decidely un-rock and had a smile that could knock a man down. All of this was an odd contrast to the mania exuding from the other two. The Pixies were up there like they owned the place exhibiting more authority in their single-minded mayhem than comes with being in a new band. These were not your garden variety college dropouts. Something different was going on.
When the show was over, I sleazed back to the dressing room and sheepishly begged the Pixies to go into the studio with me. After a few phone calls and a meeting over beer, Charles Thompson (still not Black Francis) came to my apartment to parade me through the songs - with a fanfare like Mardi Gras - in preparation for recording at Fort Apache. He had this secret weapon, apparent even on an acoustic guitar, which made the verses quiet and the choruses explosive. That essential logic held the songs together, no matter how bizarre, depraved or nonsensical. Wherever the songs went they kept me along like a co-conspirator or an unwitting stooge at the scene of a sordid crime. I put all this on tape as part of my sing-for-your-supper series while the pasta was cooking in the kitchen. The next week I played it for an NME journalist who was touring America with Throwing Muses and I think it made a big impression.
A month or so later the Pixies were in the studio, a ramshackle warehouse in the bad part of town. We stayed in there for three days and nights, living on sandwiches and beer until the world outside didn't matter anymore. Charles had just finished the music to Levitate Me before going in and was still wrestling with the words, accepting input from all quarters. But when the tape machine was running and he was alone in that cavernous, wooden-floored space it was as though he'd known the song his whole life; in fact, it was like a hymn that everyone knew. The rest of us were standing in front of the control room speakers with the red record light on and the room lights dim and a flock of goosebumps ran over me. That's when I knew for sure this wasn't just some local band with an angle. We recorded seventeen songs in three days and nights and mixed them the next week. Soon after, the tapes were sent to 4AD's Ivo Watts-Russell, who chose half a dozen songs for release and, from the lyrics of "Levitate Me", chose the record's title -"Come On Pilgrim".
In the years that followed, with the records that followed, the Pixies took over the world. Not how Michael Jackson took over the world but in a more insidious way. I've heard it said about the Velvet Underground that while not a lot of people bought their albums, everyone who did started a band. I think this is largely true about the Pixies as well. Charles' secret weapon turned out to be not so secret and, sooner or later, all sorts of bands were exploiting the same strategy of wide dynamics. It became a kind of new pop formula and, within a short while, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was charging up the charts and even the members of Nirvana said later that it sounded for all the world like a Pixies' song. That was the beginnning of the end of counterculture.
History has a horrible need to erase the details so that its landmarks stand out against the din. The three kids beside me were probably two years old when the red light was on for Levitate Me. How am I supposed to explain to them that the world into which Black Francis started screaming still heard it like a scream and not like fashion? How am I supposed to relate to them that context makes all the difference in how we view a work of art or a work of rock?
The wonderstruck old woman has given up on the passers-by and is standing blithely against a gift-shop window, still staring at the dirigible as it makes its way to another city. She's got a big smile on her face knowing that she saw it before it was gone and that she recognized it as distinct from the whirl of this tourist-ridden seaside town. I'm considering buying her a soda and sitting her down with the alterna-boys cause she has the right idea. Unfortunately, I'm sure she's never heard of Charles or Kim or Joey or Dave or any of the records which changed lives and moved the whole tourist culture we live in to the left a few feet. I think I might give her a real scare if I told her and the alterna-boys that in September of 1987, the Pixies came to take the kids. And they took them.
Gary Smith, Fort Apache 1997
Barcode and Other Identifiers
- Barcode: 0 7559-62118-2 6
Other Versions (5 of 39) View All
|DAD 7011 CD||Pixies||Death To The Pixies (CD, Comp)||4AD||DAD 7011 CD||UK||1997||Sell This Version|
|DAD 7011 CD||Pixies||Death To The Pixies (CD, Comp, RP)||4AD||DAD 7011 CD||Europe||Unknown||Sell This Version|
|EVERCD045||Pixies||Death To The Pixies (CD, Comp)||Everlasting Records (2), 4AD||EVERCD045||Spain||1997||Sell This Version|
|DAD C 7011||Pixies||Death To The Pixies (Cass, Comp)||4AD||DAD C 7011||UK||1997||Sell This Version|
|DAD 7011 CD||Pixies||Death To The Pixies (CD, Comp, Promo)||4AD||DAD 7011 CD||UK||1997||Sell This Version|