Documentary Goes Inside Pixies Reunion
"loudQuietloud: A Film About the Pixies" will premiere Sunday (March 12) during the South by Southwest film festival in Austin, Texas."loudQuietloud: A Film About the Pixies" will premiere Sunday (March 12) during the South by Southwest film festival in Austin, Texas. Directed by Steven Cantor and Matthew Galkin for New York-based Stick Figure Productions, the documentary chronicles the Pixies' year-long reunion tour which began in 2004, starting with the first rehearsals and ending with the band's quiet dissipation. Daniel Lanois contributed an original score to the project.
"It was surprising to see how utterly human this band was, particularly in comparison to their idolized image," Cantor tells Billboard.com. "They were all coping with pretty standard mid-life issues, and meanwhile all these sold-out crowds were going crazy over them."
The filmmakers captured live footage from a number of concerts and were given consistent, personal access to the quartet on and off-stage. The Pixies disbanded in 1992 under rancorous circumstances and those sentiments were still apparent even after 12 years of separation.
"Not that they despise one another, they are just not the types of people who talk a lot. They would barely talk to each other in the van, get to the venue and go to their dressing rooms and warm up on their own, read or listen to music. And then when they got on stage, there was this electric energy and connection with each other and the audience. And then again, once they walked off stage, they would barely say another word to each other. They certainly pulled off the on-stage charisma though so maybe that was just their unorthodox method of preparation."
"loudQuietloud" also emphasizes the personal issues of each of the band members. Cantor and Galkin capture bassist Kim Deal's struggle with sobriety, drummer David Lovering's floundering career prior to the reunion, frontman Frank Black's desire to nurture his relationship with his pregnant girlfriend and children and guitarist Joey Santiago's race to finish projects outside of the tour.
"[Black] and Kim were both on the reclusive side, they spent hours on end in their hotel rooms, reading or napping. Sometimes it felt like they only left their rooms to go on stage," Cantor says. "I don't think the issues they had in the early days were resolved in any way, but they did make both make an effort to coexist this time around and resisted any major blow-ups -- at least none that we observed."
Cantor, who won an Emmy award for his 2003 television film "Willie Nelson: Still is Still Moving," says the challenge of making any music documentary is to pick out the most interesting moments while still making the film true to life.
"It felt like each day, there'd only be two hours of excitement and 22 hours of what was basically silence," he says. "It must be difficult, as a musician who's in your 40s, to go through putting this whole thing together and feel like your crowd is there only to hear the stuff you wrote when you were in your 20s."
Speaking as an "outsider looking in," Cantor doesn't expect another reunion or even another album to come from the fabled rockers, though their "lives were changed" and the band went from scrambling to make a living to "being rich and hugely successful" -- which was hardly achieved during their initial formation.
"I feel like 75% of the reason for the reunion was for money, but the other 25% was because of the fact that they're legends," he says.
There's no date yet for the wide release of "loudQuietloud" but the film will be screened twice more during South by Southwest (March 14, 18). Additional screenings are set for April 26 in Los Angeles and during New York's Tribeca Film Festival, which runs from April 25-May 7.
Cantor is currently working on the Lisa Loeb reality television show "#1 Single" and is in the midst of organizing a documentary on reggae rapper Matisyahu. Galkin, who co-directed the music video for LCD Soundsystem's "Disco Infiltrator" and was associate producer on Martin Scorsese's "The Blues: Five Riffs," is directing a documentary on animal rights organization PETA.