The Breeders reissue Last Splash Boxed Set
After cutting her teeth with Boston college rock icons Pixies in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Dayton’s Kim Deal returned home to rekindle her other band, The Breeders, with twin sister Kelley, bassist Josephine Wiggs and newly-recruited drummer Jim MacPherson. In 1992, the band set to work on what would become one of the most successful albums of the first wave of alt rock, Last Splash (released August 31, 1993), due in large part to the omnipresence of the single “Cannonball.”
As the album reached its 20th anniversary this year, The Breeders and their label 4AD compiled a boxed set for Last Splash, complete with reimagined packaging, out-of-print singles, a live set from that era and an extensively curated booklet. The results are stunning, an impeccable reissue of one of the era’s finest albums. In support of the reissue, the Last Splash-era lineup has reformed, along with violinist/keyboardist Carrie Bradley, touring throughout the U.S. this spring, with additional dates in Europe, the U.S. and Australia planned throughout the remainder of the year. The Dayton City Paper spoke with Kelley Deal about the reissue, the resulting tour and what lies ahead for this reunion.
How did the reissue come together? Did 4AD approach you or was it something you were thinking about?
Kim and I were sitting on the couch, and as she remembers it, and I’ll take credit, I said, “You know, next year is gonna be the twentieth anniversary of Last Splash.” And she said, “Oh, really?” And then we started talking about what we could or may do about that. I think they were talking about it. Then we were working with somebody and they said, “Let me call 4AD and see if they want to do anything about it and see if they’d be interested in reissuing it or putting something out.” And they did. -Kelley Deal
When you first approached 4AD about reissuing Last Splash, how did all the bonus materials come in?
They’re a really cool label. We basically made out a wish list; we said, “Here’s what we want.” Every step of the way – the artwork, should the different discs retain their original artwork, to the copy writing of the booklet, to collecting the photos, to placing the photos – we’ve been working hard on it. We’ve been working very closely with Chris Glass; he did the booklet for us as far as laying it out. So, we just kinda gave them a wish list and they told us “no” on, like, two things and other than that it’s been pretty amazing. -KD
How did the tour come about?
That’s what we really wanted to do was tour. We wanted to do the album from start to finish. And we wanted to do any kind of B-sides that might make sense in terms of that. So, we thought about it and we talked to Jim and Josephine to see if they would be interested, first of all. The responses we got back from them were, “Absolutely!” At that point, we started making schedules about having people fly in or drive in. So we just started getting together and everybody worked really hard beforehand and relearned some parts. … I think we’d done every song live except for “Mad Lucas.” The thing we wanted to do was when we got together was working and building and re-creating a song. -KD
Twenty years later, what is your impression of Last Splash?
I think it’s a perfect album, you know what I mean? As far as dropping a needle on it and letting the songs go. The path that it takes you on, the journey that you go on, you’re never sonically bored. There’s always something sonically intriguing or odd or creative that you don’t hear. I think it’s crazy that it can run the gamut of the sugar-pop of “Divine Hammer” to the absolute dirge that is “Mad Lucas.” And that’s all on one record? And seamlessly. It’s not like it’s jolting, it’s lovely. It all makes sense, and I think that’s amazing. I think that was just dumb luck. You can’t make that happen. -KD
You did the pre-tour show at Southgate House. How did you feel about that?
I felt great about it. We wanted to get out of Kim’s basement so we could understand certain things. For instance, Joe hasn’t played in a loud rock band for years. Jim’s a player, he always plays. Carrie was doing new things. She was having pedals she was incorporating. It was important for her to get a feel for what the gear would sound like on stage. It’s always good to have a dress rehearsal. Southgate House was a wonderful place to do that, and they were so nice and generous with what they were doing that we decided the next time we did this and worked with them, let’s just do a show. … It’s coming up on a year from when we first thought about this, so we’ve got a remarkable amount of stuff done. -KD
For more information on the Last Splash boxed set and The Breeders’ tour itinerary, visit thebreederslsxx.com.
Reach DCP Music Editor Kyle Melton at musiceditor@DaytonCityPaper.com