Q&A: Joey Santiago on New Pixies Riffs & Wikipedia's Shortcomings

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County Grind: Have you sustained a lot of damage to your body from attacking the amp during performances over the years?

Joey Santiago: My fingers would just bleed, but that's nothing, you know. I'm just whacking the shit out of my strings, and it hits the pick guard. But, no. Nothing really. If anything, the guitar's taking the abuse.

What part of the legacy of the Pixies is the most important to you?

That we're still relevant. Our records will probably never go out of print. And people are buying more vinyl now than actually CDs of ours. It's not disposable music. We were lucky enough to find our niche. That's the vibe that people get from us, that we sound honest. We don't sound contrived at all. Not to say that any band does, but it's more apparent in our music.

That, and "Wave of Mutilation" and the rest of Doolittle is integrated into the Rock Band videogame?

I suck at Rock Band. I tried songs [other than ours] that are there. It's too push-button. I don't have the patience for it. You know, if I'm going to do that, I'll just learn the damned song on the guitar.

Have you heard a lot of other artists' covers of the Pixies over the years? Like, one of my favorites is TV on the Radio's version of "Mr. Grieves."

Yeah, that is mine too. That's the only one that comes to mind. It's a cappella, right? Yeah, I mean, that's that nut of it. That's the obvious reason why. Weezer did a good one of "Velouria." A really offshoot take of it. I like those. I like the weirder versions of stuff.

How does it feel to have an opening band that obviously looks up to you like Surfer Blood?

It feels good, I guess. We've played with people that we really like, U2 and stuff. You probably wouldn't be an opening band if you didn't like the headliner. But it does feel good, you know? I don't really think about it. Do I get flattered? Maybe a little bit. We played with Neil Young at a festival and was like, "Oh my God. He's right next door. The room next to us." There's always an admiration every time you go out, I guess.

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Reed Fischer
Contact: Reed Fischer