Kim Deal

The Breeders frontwoman is back with a new album-and some choice words for a fellow alt-rock star.

Illustration: Rob Kelly

Few alternative rockers are as revered as Kim Deal. She became a cult icon in the late 1980s as the bassist of the Pixies, one of the most influential indie bands of all time. After her feud with that band's leader, Charles Thompson (a.k.a. Black Francis, a.k.a. Frank Black), led to the Pixies' demise, she reached new heights by turning her other group, the Breeders, into a full-time gig. The latter's platinum-selling 1993 album, Last Splash, spawned the MTV hit "Cannonball," and led to opening spots on Nirvana's final U.S. tour and the main stage at Lollapalooza. Now 46 and fresh off the hugely successful Pixies reunion, Deal is attempting to further regain her past glories with Mountain Battles, the Breeders' first record in six years. With her identical-twin bandmate, Kelley, hovering somewhere nearby, Deal called us recently from SXSW in Austin.

How do I know this isn't Kelley?
[Laughs] Because there she is—she's standing over there. When she comes by I'll have her say, "This is Kelley." But then how would you know that's actually Kelley?

Yeah, it would prove nothing. Which one of you is the evil twin with the sinister goatee?
I think that's a fantastic question. Here's what I want: I want a mustache that curls up like... What's the name of Dudley Do-Right's nemesis?

Snidely Whiplash?
Wow. How the hell did you know that?

I'm totally nerdy.
Well, all right, big nerd. Did you just Google that? Do you have the implant in the back of your neck? Hey, Kelley—he's got the implant!

The only lyric on the first track of Mountain Battles is "I can feel it!" It's repeated 11 times. You must have really been feeling it.
Dude, I tried to think of other lyrics, right? I was planning to come up with something really, really, really cool to say. But when it came closer to the time to actually record it, there I am with my pen and my white, clean sheet of paper, and...nothing.

Couldn't you have just added, "And it is so awesome!"?
Now you're just being an asshole.

"Cannonball" was a big crossover hit. Ever get sick of it?
No. That used to be a popular stance for indie-rockers to take. If somebody actually liked one of their songs, then they would hate the song. I was never like that.

Did the success of that song cause any jealousy among your indie-rock peers?
You know, [Pavement's Stephen] Malkmus is being a bit of a bitch in interviews recently. One thing he said last summer referred to me as "trashy mouth." And he just did this article in Spin where he alluded to me unpleasantly, saying [something like], "You know, I always thought that Pavement could have had one of those big hits in the early '90s with 'Cut Your Hair,' but I guess people preferred 'Cannonball.'"

Are you a fan of his music?
Yeah, I liked Pavement. But if he keeps fucking smacking his mouth off about me, I'm going to end up not being able to listen to any of their fucking records again. Anyway, I thought, God, man, "Cut Your Hair" isn't as good of a song as "Cannonball," so fuck you. How's that? Your song was just a'ight, dawg.

Do you want people to like the Breeders more than the Pixies?
It doesn't really make sense like that. It's like saying I would rather have somebody like my mom and not like my dad. I don't feel like a winner one way or the other.

Are you and Frank Black getting along currently?
Yeah. No. Whatever.

Did you at least have fun on the Pixies reunion tour?
Oh, it was so much fun. I had a great time. People were so fucking excited that we were there, man.

At Poison concerts, women throw bras and panties on stage. What do guys throw on stage at Breeders shows?
Joints. Cigarettes. Band T-shirts.

Lame. What about marriage proposals?
At the Buffalo show recently, after we sang "Bang On," one guy yelled out, "I'd do you, Kim!" That was cute. I'd do you.... Thanks, man.

Mountain Battles is out Tue 8.