I saw the Breeders open for Nirvana in 1993. But that doesn’t count as meeting Kim Deal.
Years earlier, my high school friends and I, including the girl who played bass in my band, all drove from Ft. Myers, FL, two hours north to the 1000-plus capacity USF Special Event Center, in Tampa, to see the Pixies. I rode in the open, windy back of my friend Andy’s pickup truck, covered with a blanket. We showed up several hours early for the show. With nothing to do but wait around, my bass player and I snuck into the Pixies’s afternoon soundcheck.
We hid up in the balcony, far from the big stage, and watched the band members trickle in. I remember guitarist Joey Santiago walking nervously around the stage with a roll of tape and his guitar. He would carefully distance himself from his amplifiers, then play a recognizable Pixies lick that involved a little feedback, and if it didn’t sound right, he would move to another spot and try it again. When the feedback finally sounded exactly like it did on Doolittle, he would stop, tear off some tape, and lay an X on the floor, so he knew where to stand when playing that particular song. We thought that was cool as shit — because it was.
A few meticulous licks later, security spotted us and escorted us out.
With nothing else to do, and like eight more hours until showtime, she and I figured out how to sneak back in. By now, the whole band had shown up, with the addition of keyboardist Eric Drew Feldman from opening band Pere Ubu (and formerly of Captain Beefheart’s band!). To test their gear, the Pixies played a great, heavy rendition of Metallica’s newly released, first-ever radio hit, “Enter Sandman.”
When security finally nabbed us a second time, Kim Deal waved goodbye to us from the stage. But that doesn’t count as meeting her.
Afterward, with nothing to do and hours left to wait, we continued wandering around outside the huge venue. On one aimless lap past their tour bus we saw, about 200 feet away, Pixies bassist Kim Deal walk out the venue’s back door. We froze, and stared at my bassist’s idol. Just as Deal began climbing aboard the bus, she spotted her gawking teen fans, stepped down from the bus, and began walking across the parking lot toward us. “Hi guys!” she smiled and waved, and walked right up to us and hugged us.
Kim Deal gave my bass player some words of affirmation, then headed back onto the bus. One of the first famous people I’d ever met, Deal gave me the wrong impression about how encounters with one’s heroes often go…
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