During one recent interview with a world-renowned pop star, I asked a simple question: "What part of the creative process do you enjoy most when making a new album?" Granted, the question was a bit cliche, but hardcore music fans tend to be interested in those kinds of things. After three minutes of silence, I thought we'd been disconnected.
"Are you still there?" I asked.
"Yes," she responded.
Another minute went by before she finally added, "I think it's nice that [name of record label] took a chance with this album. It’s like, nice that they did."
Two weeks later I met with a bona fide female rock legend for an interview. But after a series of uncomfortable pauses and countless one word answers, I just gave up. I've never published the piece, and I've never been able to bring myself to listen to the playback. That's how disastrous it was. Sadly, I can barely listen to her music anymore without having flashbacks of the silence.
But truth be told, you can't really fault musicians for how they sometimes come off in interviews. They are artists, so music is their preferred mode of expression -- not Q&A's.
With that in mind, Pixies bassist and Breeders frontwoman Kim Deal is a rare breed of rocker, blessed not only with talent, but also with conversational skills. She has an opinion on everything asked of her -- and it's always entertaining. You could even mess with her and say, "Kim, which would you rather talk about: The discontinuation of oscillating fans, or the controversy about blind people thinking that electric cabs are dangerous because they're too quiet?" “Oh my GOD!!” she’d likely say. “I mean, you can’t get rid of fans now, can you? In the summer? During the sweet corn crop and all? And, I mean, the blind people have a point, but dude, please!” [Note -- that was just an example, Kim didn't really say that].
I recently chatted with Deal about The Breeders' stellar new EP, "Fate to Fatal," and the latest news on the Pixies. Along the way, we also chatted about celebrity dreams, "American Idol," her mother's struggle with Alzheimer's, the crazy things parents say about their kids, and a possible reality series for Deal and her twin sister Kelley. "Grey Gardens," anyone?
Hi Kim. First off, congratulations on the new Breeders EP, "Fate to Fatal." I hear you're in LA doing some stuff with the Pixies?
Yes, I'm down here in Los Angeles for a few days. The Pixies are doing a few shows in Isle of Wight this June, and I had a really bad dream that I forgot a song! And the dream just seemed so real -- we were playing the song and then I forgot it. So I called Joe [Santiago] and he told me that he had a dream that he forgot a song! His dream didn't happen the same night as mine, but anyway, we thought it would be a good idea to get together real quick and go over parts. Charles [Black Francis] was in a different state touring, so I didn’t even ask him to come. I thought the three of us could get our parts down quietly.
[Laughing]. I can't remember the song, but yes, the dream was so vivid I remember how scary it was forgetting the song onstage, but I don’t remember the song. But I do remember it was an outdoor show, and there were a lot of people there.
Speaking of dreams, we just ran a piece on celebrity dreams and how vivid they can get, and hundreds of people are commenting in great detail about their celebrity dreams. Have you ever had a celebrity dream?
[Excited]. Oh my God, yes! I have had them and I totally know what you mean about them being vivid. I had this dream once -- it was when Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt were together – and I remember it so clearly.
Ok, in the dream, there was this big party. Now, I don't remember where the party was exactly, but I do remember clearly that it was in fact in a southern state. And the party was outdoors. And it was daytime. Now, I don't remember if the three of us went to the party together? Or if I had like just met them there? Whatever, the point is they were there, you know? It was just like, wierd.
And it was super vivid?
Oh it was so super vivid! And it wasn't some boring dream where you just…meet a celebrity or something, it was so much more than that – I mean, there was a lot going on, you know?
And it was just so weird, I don't even know how to describe it -- and I know I sound crazy -- but we were going through all these different rooms. But like, there didn’t seem to be any order to the rooms, or to anything. I mean, sometimes Brad was there in a room, sometimes the three of us were in a room. Sometimes I'd be alone in a room and Jennifer would walk in. Or both of them. I mean, it was just weird, but I remember it so vividly! Isn't that odd that you would ask me that? Have you ever had a celebrity dream?
I keep having this dream lately that I'm in a bad relationship with Angelina Jolie, and she won't let me break up with her. Have you had any other celebrity dreams or is that the only one?
[Laughing]. Angelina won't let you break up with her! Isn't that weird though that we're both sort of dreaming from the same celebrity tree? Now, I have had more celebrity dreams since then; I only chose that particular one because it sticks out in my head so much and I'm absolutely sure about that one. But let's see. I think I've dreamt about Jennifer Aniston since then. But I think it's just her and Brad isn’t there. I don't know what she's really doing or anything and I don't remember specifics, but she has been in a few of my dreams since the one at the party with all the rooms.
Do you really like Jennifer Aniston or something?
[Laughing] Do I really like Jennifer Aniston? Oh my God, I don't know! I mean, I have no idea! I didn't think so! I mean, she like…seems nice, I guess. I just remembered her being in my dreams. But I have no idea if I like Jennifer Aniston, and I have like no idea why she's been in my dreams! Who knows? Oh my God!
Isn't that a nice song? I think "Pinnacle Hollow" is a pleasant song to listen to? And usually, that's a bad thing – I think – to say about something, but I really found it really, extremely pleasant music to put on.
It's a great song, and it is very pleasant. It's like soundtrack music, almost. When I'm listening to it, I feel there's a camera on me...
[Yells] And you're with Angelina Jolie and she won't let you break up with her!
[Laughing]. Yes! But seriously, the song is so gorgeous and pleasant it's almost like a continuous valium drip. When you record a song like that, does it make you crave drugs?
I sometimes want to take drugs but it absolutely has nothing to do with whether I'm recording or not. Sometimes the craving or the thought (of doing drugs) will come along when I'm doing nothing. Sometimes it will come along when I'm... I have no idea at all when it's going to come along.
Would you ever want to be a judge on "American Idol"?
No, probably not. And I don’t think I'd even be a good judge because I think I would be "opposite" judge. I would be like, 'Look, if you do the exact opposite of anything that I tell you to do, you'll probably be extremely popular in the United States.' I'd be like, 'No, don't wear all that makeup, and just wear jeans and [a] T-shirt! God! Why are you going to wear that and how can you walk in those shoes?'
Do you watch the show?
No, I wouldn’t watch it by myself, but when I'm at my parents house, I'll watch it with my mother; it's one of the few shows we can watch together. Like, dude, I can't bear 'Dancing with the Stars,' but I can sit down and watch 'American Idol' with her. And that's a good thing that she can do.
How is your mom doing? [Editor's note: Kim's mother is struggling with Alzheimers].
She is…not doing well. She has recently begun saying stuff like, 'Now, you're mine, right?'
Oh man, that’s so sad…
I know, and she's like, forgetting the family connection. Like, she said to my brother the other day, 'You're my son, right?' And she knew it was a 'Kevin,' and she knew generally his personality and stuff.
You know, watching her lose so much information really underlines how much information we actually have to learn. And I'm not talking about schooling. It was weird to watch her lose the grip of time, and to lose it in every way.
Like right now, she really believes that her mother and father, and my dad's mother and father are laid out in a nursing home side by side next to each other in a bed across the street from my old high school! Oh my God, and you've got to hear the names of these people -- there's Hobart, Ruby, Blanche Myrtle and Grace. Oh, and Fred!
And my poor dad! She'll say to my dad, 'Why don't you go visit your mother? I can't believe you won't visit your mother! She'd be so surprised if she saw you.' And of course, sometimes my dad can't stand it, and he has to say something like, 'You're right, she'd be surprised to see me…she's been dead for 30 years!'
Oh my God! I used to work with Alzheimer's patients in college, and once a woman escaped. Luckily we found her safe at the lake, but it was absolutely terrifying.
Oh my God, I know my mom's going to be a runner! I just know it.
Do you ever worry that you might potentially inherit Alzheimer's from her?
Honestly no, because I take after my dad so much for all of his bad qualities that I can't possibly get my mother's Alzheimer's. I mean, I didn’t get her pretty legs. I didn’t get her nice body. We [Kim's twin sister Kelley] don't even look like her, and that's why I couldn't possibly have the one bad thing that she has. I mean, I didn't get any of her good stuff, so I don't think I'll get this.
The last time I interviewed you, the piece got hundreds of comments and a lot of them were about how both lesbians and gay men are attracted to you. I have to ask, do you have a gay bone in your body?
[Thinks] You know what? I'm just so…asexual, I wish I had a gay bone.
That's so wierd. You don't seem asexual. Does it seem weird to you that both are attracted to you?
I can see the lesbian thing, but like, then again, I don't really know because I have no idea what attracts people.
I was just talking to a gay guy friend and it was interesting because he was saying that he didn’t think he was gay all through high school, right? His older brother was gay, so he was used to it, and he just never thought about it. He said the only gay guys he would think of back then were the really 'fabulous' types. And he said he had no idea he was gay until he opened up a copy of Bear magazine in his mid-twenties, and he was like, 'Shwing! I'm gay.'
My point being how would I know what lesbians or gay guys were attracted [to] because one can never know what can turn on a particular lesbian or a particular gay person.
Do you remember when, in an interview a few years ago, you said you looked at all your musical contemporaries and that they were all married with children, and then added, 'I could use a wife?'
No, it's not! You have every right to want a wife. Even certain women want wives. So, speaking of families, did you ever want children?
I used to always think that in my future self, I would want kids. And I read a 'Newsweek' article in the early 90's and it was an article about women hitting the glass ceiling, blah, blah blah, whatever.
Anyway, there was this female CEO and one of the things she said in the article was for women to not forget having kids. And to make sure you make time, because there's a time limit for that. So that always stuck with me, I made a mental note.
And then, it wasn't like I forgot, it just never happened. But maybe if I was more organized in my life, maybe I could have done something about it, but you know then I think that maybe I'm too lazy to be a mother.
Would you want to adopt one now, or do you just not even care?
I don't know, I worry I'm too lazy. I think I was extremely depressed when I was hitting 40, but then what I think happens is as my mother would say, 'nature takes its course,' and it gets less, it drops off, you know what I'm saying? I'm glad the [brooding] didn’t go into a square root of like, "Oh my god! I still don't have one, Oh my god!" So it just alleviated.
And Kelley doesn't have kids either. I like that you both don’t have kids.
Oh God, I'm going to sound like a fucking weirdo for saying this but I'm going to. But Kelley and I have been noticing all of these things parents say and we get alone and we just -- oh my God, I wish she was here.
These things people say! Like, [Serious voice] 'You know, children change your life completely. It's the best thing that's ever happened to me. I was nothing until I had kids.'
[Laughing] I mean, the quotes are endless! 'My children give me all the perspective in the world.' 'I didn't even know what living was until I looked into my daughter's eyes in the nursery.' I mean, it just goes on and on! And then I'm like, 'Well, I guess I blew it, didn't I?'
[Laughing]. What you just said makes that one scene in "Loud Quiet Loud" even funnier. Charles tells you and Kelley that he and his wife just found out they were going to have a baby, and you and Kelley light cigarettes, and start screaming, "OH MY GOD THAT IS THE BEST NEWS! THAT'S SO GREAT!"
[Laughing hard] Oh, I know! But the thing is, I really feel like obviously not everyone in the world can be wrong. Can they? Ok, I get it everybody, I mean, obviously I made a HUGE error, and obviously I can't rectify it. Whatever!
There was that fascinating 2002 documentary about you and Kelley, and I just read that your bass player is making a new documentary about the band. Have you ever instead thought about making it a reality series about you and Kelley for like, A&E?
Huh, you know a couple of people have actually asked us about that. I wonder how one would get to do that.
Just get someone to pitch it to a variety of cable channels – A&E, VH1. I think they'd be interested off the bat if they saw the 2002 documentary and recent footage of you two. You and Kelley together on film is entertaining anyway, but when you throw in that you're twins and rock stars, it's just a major hook. Would you do a series?
I don't know if I'd do it. I don't know! I mean, I think Kelley's funny and I enjoy hanging out with her. I'd have to think about it. It would [be] fun to try, though, and see what happens. I don't know.
Here's the final question. Over the years, the one word that is always used when describing you is "cool." There have been songs about it, it's been on web sites, reporters say it, fans say it...
Yeah, but you know what? I could just Google 'Kim Deal is an asshole' and I bet things would come up.
Wait, why did I even just say that? Why would I even Google 'Kim Deal is an asshole?'
I don't know why, but you shouldn't do that. So anyway, since that word is always associated with you, can you think of one characteristic or attribute you possess that's been the reason for people always coming back to that same word about you?
Yes, I know what it is [Pauses].
What is it?
It's cuz I smoke. [Laughs hard].
[Laughing]. Oh you jerk! It would be so "cool" if you really answered!
That was my answer! I used to smoke, and that was cool, but I don’t smoke anymore so I'm not cool anymore. I'm fat and uncool.
By Jenny Stewart
Originally Published on PlanetOut.com and Gay.com. Read the original interview -- with reader comments -- by clicking here.