Studio Sessions


Dayton, Ohio, has given us many great things, flight, the end of the Bosnian war, the Dayton agreement, "The Hulk" - yes, in the comics Dr. Bruce Banner was from Dayton - WKRP's Gary Sandy, born in Dayton, and of course, the Sisters Deal. Kim first gained fame as the bassist for the Pixies, and she and her twin sister, Kim - sorry, Kelley - formed the Breeders. They had a hit with "Cannonball" in the '90s, and have just been putting out great music at a slow but deliberate pace ever since, including their newest release, "Mountain Battles," which includes Jose Madeles and Mando Lopez. All the Breeders join me in the studio. The first discovery was that the Deals still live in Dayton.

Ms. KIM DEAL (Guitar and Vocals, The Breeders): Yeah, my mother has Alzheimer's. So, me and my dad live there in the house with her.

PESCA: And you help her out?

Mr. KIM DEAL: Yeah. I help my dad out, really. I feel like I do.

Ms. KELLEY DEAL (Guitar and Vocals, The Breeders): Right. It's really about him.

Ms. KIM DEAL: Yeah, the caregivers, you know?

PESCA: So, Kelley, you don't live in Dayton. Where do you live?

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: I do. I live about a mile and a half away from my mom and dad and Kim.

PESCA: The Breeders started in Dayton when you guys were what, teenagers? There was a, kind of - you played together as a band called the Breeders?

Ms. KIM DEAL: No, no. Me and Kelley, we'd play the Ground Round.

PESCA: Yeah.

Ms. KIM DEAL: Do you remember the Ground Round? They had peanuts on the floor.

PESCA: And popcorn on the table.

Ms. KIM DEAL: Right, right, right.

PESCA: And at least in my town, how much you weighed was how much you paid. Did they have that in your town?

Ms. KIM DEAL: God, no.

PESCA: If the kid was 83 pounds, he paid 83 cents. We were a little more advanced than Dayton, I guess. We had Ground Round technology. So, you played the Ground Round...

Ms. KIM DEAL: That's illegal, you can't even do that.

PESCA: It probably is. So, you played the Ground Round as what?

Ms. KIM DEAL: Just Kim and Kelley.

PESCA: Was that your first public performance?

Ms. KIM DEAL: No, I don't know actually what the very first public performance was. It probably had something to do with audience appreciation and clapping.

(Soundbite of clapping)

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: Right, open mike night.

Ms. KIM DEAL: Yeah, something like that. Yeah.

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: Oh, Sam's.

Ms. KIM DEAL: Sam's, that was one.

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: Yes. Sam's was a bar in downtown Dayton, and we weren't 18.

PESCA: So, did you have to bluff your way in? Or...

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: No, but we were told that we were very unprofessional. The mike kept slipping down, and we got into a giggle fit...

Ms. KIM DEAL: Right, because it kept falling off the stand.

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: It's awful to get into a giggling fit, you know, when you...

PESCA: Well, if you are, like, 17-year-old girls, I mean, I think people allow for it.

Ms. KIM DEAL: It's awful, no!

PESCA: No. OK, so when you were playing Sam's, what kind of songs did you play?

Ms. KIM DEAL: I don't remember, but I do remember...

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: We did original.

Ms. KIM DEAL: We were unprofessional.

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: We did original music. And this is Kelley speaking.

Ms. KIM DEAL: Why are you yelling at me?

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: Because I can. We did original music, and we did some covers.

PESCA: Really? What did you cover back then?

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: We did, oh gosh, "Blind Faith." We did an Elvis Costello song. We did a lot of Hank Williams.

PESCA: How cool.

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: Yeah, we did really good songs, I think.

PESCA: You know who else is from Dayton? I didn't want to mention this, but Rick Derringer is from Dayton.


Ms. KIM DEAL: Yeah.

PESCA: Did you know him?


PESCA: No. Did you ever cover "Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo?"


PESCA: Lordy, mama, light my fuse, it's a great lyric.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: You are looking at me like it's not a great lyric. Kim?

Ms. KIM DEAL: I actually never really realized that that really was the lyric. It is the lyric.

PESCA: Isn't that the lyric? I'm just doing it from memory, but I think that's the lyric.

Ms. KIM DEAL: And then they've got the backing vocal was "light my fuse."

PESCA: (Singing) Hoo, hoo, hoo, hoochie koo. Rock & roll.

Ms. KIM DEAL: I'm sorry.

PESCA: Sorry, I just wanted to jam with the Breeders for a second. That was my moment. What we're going to do is - I know you played songs before I got here, and I want to disclose that and not do the whole thing where I go, hey, play a song. Your recorded this before we started speaking. But what song do you think we'll play first? It's up to you. You can DJ.

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: Let's do one from the new record. Like, let's do "Night of Joy" first.


PESCA: "Night of Joy" it is.

(Soundbite of song "Night of Joy")

Ms. KIM DEAL (Singing): Can't stop the wave of sorrow, Every mile that you go. Give me this night. Give me. Give me this night. Give me.

Can't stop the wave of sorrow, Every mile that you go. Come home. Come home. Come home. Come home.

This night of joy follows, Oh, everywhere you go.

Can't stop the wave of sorrow, Every mile that you go. Come home. Come home. Come home. Come home.

This night of joy follows, Oh, everywhere you go.

This night of joy follows, Oh, everywhere you go. Come home. Come home. Come home.

Come home. Come home. Come home.

Come home. Come home. Come home.

PESCA: Tell me about "Night of Joy." What did we just hear?

Ms. KIM DEAL "Night of Joy."

PESCA: Yeah.

Ms. KIM DEAL: You just heard "Night of Joy" off of "Mountain Battles," the new Breeders record.

PESCA: Oh my God, it's Alison Steele, the Nightbird.

Ms. KIM DEAL: Did I sound like somebody?

PESCA: Do you know her?


PESCA: Oh, yeah. On New York radio, she would do the midnight-to-three shift and always end the shift with a poem. Kelley, I have heard that you - the reason you weren't on the first Breeders album, "Pod," was because you were working at the time and couldn't get out of work.

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: Correct.

PESCA: And what were you working at? What was your job?

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: At that time - where did I work? I worked at Dynamics Research Corporation.

PESCA: Really?

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: Yeah...

PESCA: It sounds like one of those...

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: It's a defense contractor.

PESCA: It is?

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: Defense contractor, yeah.

PESCA: How were your security clearances?

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: I had a top-secret security clearance.

PESCA: Really?

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: Yes. We worked with a mathematical model developed by the RAND...

PESCA: Corporation...

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: Corporation.

PESCA: Yeah.

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: Yeah, in Utah.


Ms. KELLEY DEAL: Think tank.

PESCA: Get out of town!

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: Kid you not.

Ms. KIM DEAL: We, the Pixies, wanted to get her to be the drummer.

PESCA: Yeah.

Ms. KIM DEAL: But she wouldn't do that.

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: No, I didn't want to be in the Pixies.

PESCA: Why not?

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: I wanted to be in Kim's band.

PESCA: And...

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: I'm sorry, but that's how I feel.

PESCA: Did you feel like the Pixies - did you see the writing the wall?

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: I thought they were great. Charles...

PESCA: They were great...

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: No, Charles is a fantastic songwriter. The songs were amazing. He's a really nice guy. But I did not want to do that. I wanted to be in Kim's band. I liked the music that she writes.

PESCA: But you held out. But then when the first album came around, you were still working.

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: Well, I had to, you know...

PESCA: You couldn't get off of work.

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: No, I couldn't. The next album, "Safari" - "Safari" was an EP, and I was able to get off of work for that. And I...

PESCA: Yeah.

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: We went to New York and did it here in New York.

PESCA: But Kim did make the drinky-drinky motion. That is somewhat true, yes?

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: I don't know when - what - I mean, that's true, ah, just as a thread that goes throughout. Although how that affects that particular decision, I don't know. She just likes to do that motion.

Ms. KIM DEAL: It was just funny, because you were talking about lots of stuff. And then she just...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: It's kind of a physical Tourette's that she has.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: Wow! That, I guess, makes you be terse, the threat of the drinky-drinky motion.


PESCA: Holding over your head...

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: Just ignore her.

PESCA: Now, when you were first in the Pixies, what's the story? You said you could play bass, and you couldn't? Or you just didn't own a bass, Kim?

Ms. KIM DEAL: Er, I don't remember if I've ever said that. I mean, everybody can play bass.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: I can't.

Ms. KIM DEAL: Can't they?

(Soundbite of laughter)


Ms. KIM DEAL: You just go, woop. I'm sorry, Mando.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: Well, you played guitar. That was your instrument.

Ms. KIM DEAL: Right. So, the fact that I couldn't play bass isn't - I mean, if you play guitar, you can play bass. Not, I mean, not very well. I don't think I can play bass. I'm not saying I can - I'm a bass player, but I can play the bass.

PESCA: But you responded to an ad that combined the couple bands that no one else, I guess, responded to...

Ms. KIM DEAL: Husker Du and Peter, Paul and Mary.

PESCA: There you go. And you really liked those bands. That wasn't like, oh, those guys are being funny.

Ms. KIM DEAL: I liked Peter, Paul and Mary. Oh, I didn't, yeah. I - well, they were being funny because they said no chops.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. KIM DEAL: And so I've never answered an ad before. I've never answered an ad before.

PESCA: So, that was it. That was your one ad you answered.

Ms. KIM DEAL: Yeah, and I was the only person who answered that ad.

PESCA: You were in The Pixies. You got some - you got credit from that, and you never had to answer an ad again. All right, what's the next song we're going to hear?

Ms. KIM DEAL: Let's do - should we do "Drivin' on 9"? This was from "Last Splash." Kelley played violin on this.

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: On this...

PESCA: Can you just pick up any instrument? You play so many.

Ms. KIM DEAL: She's very...

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: Apparently!

Ms. KIM DEAL: She's really good. She's really very musical.

PESCA: Let's hear it.

Ms. KIM DEAL: OK, here I go.

(Soundbite of song "Drivin' on 9")

Ms. KIM DEAL: (Singing) Drivin' on 9. You could be a shadow Beneath the street light Behind my home.

Drivin' on 9. I sure miss you. Pass a motel, Looking at the pines.

Drivin' on 9. Looking for one thirty. Maybe I passed it. Go another mile.

Drivin' on 9. Drivin' on 9.

Drivin' on 9. I'll sure look pretty, Carson City, Walking down the aisle.

Drivin' on 9. Does daddy have a shotgun? He said he'd never need one. Go another mile.

Drivin' on 9.

Drivin' on 9. Looking out my window sill, Wondering if I want you still. Wondering what's right.

Drivin' on 9. Drivin' on 9. Drivin' on 9.

PESCA: You guys - you guys are not breeders yet, correct? Or perhaps...

Ms. KIM DEAL: Correct.

PESCA: Perhaps you will never be breeders? Who knows...

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: That is correct...

PESCA: What the future holds? If you were to have twins, would you go with the same-letter-in-the-first-name thing? How did that work out for you in your lives?

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: I thought it was fine.

(Soundbite of laughter)


Ms. KIM DEAL: Pass.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: Oh, come on! We need a comment. Did you feel - did you feel unfairly tethered...

Ms. KIM DEAL: Stupid question.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. KIM DEAL: How's that for a comment?

PESCA: Oh, come on!

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. KIM DEAL: If you demand a comment...

(Soundbite of laughter)

MR. MANDO LOPEZ: Oh, you hurt his feelings, look.

Ms. KIM DEAL: My - my brother's name is Kevin.

PESCA: Really?

Ms. KIM DEAL: Yeah.

PESCA: What are your parents' names?

Ms. KIM DEAL: Kristie and Karl.

PESCA: Is that true? Would that...

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: She's so...

Ms. KIM DEAL: No, it's not.

PESCA: No. I could tell it wasn't true.

Ms. KIM DEAL: But wouldn't that be great?

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: Why do you do that?

PESCA: Yeah, no, I could tell. I could tell you were...

Mr. LOPEZ: They have a friend named - they have a friend named Kyle, too.

PESCA: They have a friend named Kyle. They took him in the fold.

Ms. KELLEY DEAL: You mean with K? Is Kirsty with a K?

Ms. KIM DEAL: And Kyle. Or Karl.

PESCA: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Ms. KIM DEAL: With Kyle...


Mr. LOPEZ: It's a whole thing.

PESCA: I want to thank all the Breeders, Jose, Mando, and the two Deal sisters. Thanks a lot, guys.

THE BREEDERS: Thank you.

(Soundbite of music)

PESCA: They had a good time, and so did I. You can see the video of the Breeders performing in BPP's studios at Up next, movies with Dan Holloway on the Bryant Park Project from NPR News.

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