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The Breeders’ Kelley Deal Reflects on ‘Last Splash’ 20th Anniversary

The Breeders
Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images

The Breeders are nothing if not comprehensive. To mark the 20th anniversary of their breakthrough album ‘Last Splash,’ the band is releasing ‘LSXX,’ a hefty package compiling ‘Last Splash,’ four EPs from the same era, a live show recorded in Sweden and a disc of demos, rarities and previously unreleased session tracks.

In addition, mainstays Kim and Kelley Deal have reunited with bassist Josephine Wiggs and drummer Jim Macpherson for a tour that will take them through the U.S. and Europe this spring, along with dates July 20 at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago and Oct. 26 at All Tomorrow’s Parties in Melbourne, Australia.

“I think there is a lot of interest in that record,” Kelley Deal says in an interview with Diffuser.fm, explaining the band’s decision to reissue ‘Last Splash.’ “I think it’s a record that has had a life, and that’s why I think there’s still interest in this anyway. People have a relationship with the record.”

So, 20 years of ‘Last Splash.’ What does an anniversary like that mean to you?

I think the first thing it means is, “What, are you kidding me? Where did the time go? It’s been 20 years? Are you nuts?” Sometimes it feels like it’s been 20 years, and other times it doesn’t. Other times it feels like it was six years ago.

How often do you reflect on what the band did back in the day?

I don’t really spend a lot of time thinking about that time period or anything. I don’t wake up in the morning and go, “Oh, remember when everything was wonderful in 1993 and I could read something without putting my little magnifying glasses on?” I don’t know. I don’t sit there and morbidly, obsessively reflect on this stuff.

Did you go back and listen to the music before putting together the reissue?

Oh, yeah. There was a ton of stuff we listened to. There was one performance, and I looked at it and it said “Breeders Reading,” and I said, did we play Reading? I just didn’t remember doing it. It was 1992. So we were checking it out to see if the tracks would be good, and some were good and some were not, but there was one in particular, ‘Divine Hammer,’ where I am completely out of tune and I’m playing the wrong thing on guitar, and I’m thinking, “Was I drunk? How did I play that?” But it was Reading in 1992, which means I had been playing guitar for about a year. Part of me was like, “Hell, you get what you get then, dude.” But on the other hand, I couldn’t play that now. I was much better then. I don’t understand that.

How fast did you and Kim click back in with the ‘Last Splash’-era lineup?

Let me tell you who I was impressed with: I was impressed with Jim Macpherson. He played every single song at the exact right tempo, and he did every single hit and it was perfect. It’s like I have a new appreciation for him. I mean, I guess I appreciated him at the time, but I just have such an appreciation for what a good drummer he is. When he came in and sat down, it was like, “Damn, buddy.” It was like we left his basement yesterday.

And Josephine Wiggs is back on bass.

We were rehearsing last fall, and when Josephine did that opening riff on ‘Cannonball,’ I was like, oh, my God. I’ve heard other people play that riff, but it never sounds the same as when Josephine does. It’s her English magic.

In reading the liner notes, it sounds like the Breeders were constantly driving through snowstorms to record albums.

Driving from Dayton to San Francisco to do the record, it was in January, and there was a horrific snowstorm. Poor Jim, going 30 miles per hour down a mountain with Kim and I in this big UHaul truck that he had to drive, at night. Oh, man, he was freaking out. Maybe it’s that we like to record in the winter so we can travel in the summer. I don’t know if that’s what we did on purpose or not, but if we did, I think it was a brilliant idea.

Read Our Review of the Breeders' Tour Opener in Brooklyn, N.Y.

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