Sunday, October 29, 2006

loudQUIETloud: A film about the Pixies

loudQUIETloud is a documentary about the Pixies’ reunion tour of 2004. Why do you care?

Maybe you’ve heard of the Pixies and know that they’re somehow important. The nutshell: Late 1980s band more famous after the fact than at the time. Big influence on other bands. (“I was basically trying to rip off the Pixies” —Kurt Cobain on the genesis of “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”)

Maybe you need an antidote to the big-time rockumentary, with its inevitable dramatic arc of obscurity to fame to excess to fall-out to redemption. No big dramatic arc here, more of a constant dilemma: Bandmates don’t get along well, but they need each other to be the Pixies—for the money but also for the meaning, since everything else they do individually is in the Pixies’ shadow.

Maybe you want to relate to rock stars. Now middle-aged and not looking too rock-star-ish, the Pixies are ordinary people with everyday problems. But for a couple hours a night, they become musical superheroes.

Maybe you like the underdog. Bassist Kim Deal’s mother approves of the reunion because it will give her daughter “something to do besides sewing and making snowflakes, crafty stuff.” Prior to the reunion, drummer Dave Lovering was spending a lot of time on the beach with a metal detector. Band leader Charles Thompson (aka Black Francis, aka Frank Black) listens to motivational tapes about being a better person.

Maybe you’re a sucker for the human moments. Charles and family visit the aquarium. Joey watches his new baby grow up via webcam from hotel rooms around the world. Kim reads a fan’s gift: a novel that includes a girl whose hero is Kim Deal.

Maybe you like the tunes. Don’t know?

loudQUIETloud has been (and, in some places, still is) playing in art-house theaters. It will be out on DVD in November.

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