The Breeders

The Breeders
The Breeders

The Breeders in 2009
Background information
Origin Boston, Massachusetts; Dayton, Ohio; East Los Angeles, United States
Genres Alternative rock
Years active 1988–present
Labels 4AD Records
Associated acts Pixies, Throwing Muses, Belly, The Amps, The Josephine Wiggs Experience, Kelley Deal 6000, Last Hard Men, Guided By Voices, Slint, Fear
Kim Deal
Kelley Deal
Jose Medeles
Mando Lopez
Cheryl Lyndsey
Past members
Tanya Donelly
Josephine Wiggs
Jim MacPherson
Carrie Bradley
Richard Presley
Nate Farley
Britt Walford
Jon Mattock

The Breeders are an American alternative rock band formed in 1988 by Kim Deal of the Pixies and Tanya Donelly of Throwing Muses. The band has experienced a number of line-up changes; the current line-up consists of Kim Deal (lead vocals and guitar), her twin sister Kelley Deal (guitar and backing vocals), Jose Medeles (drums and percussion), Mando Lopez (bass guitar) Todd the Fox (guitar) and Cheryl Lyndsey (guitar); Kim Deal has been the band's sole continual member. Their first album, Pod (1990), received critical acclaim but was not commercially successful. The Breeders' most successful album, 1993's Last Splash, produced the hit single "Cannonball". The band's fourth album, Mountain Battles, was released in 2008. The band's name is gay slang for heterosexuals.[1]




In the 1970s in Dayton, Ohio, Kim and Kelley Deal had an acoustic guitar duo which played at open mic nights, and opened for John Kay of Steppenwolf.[2] Despite reports to the contrary, this duo was just called Kim and Kelley, not The Breeders or The Breederz.[3]

The Breeders' history began when Kim Deal, then bassist of the Pixies, began writing new material while the band was on a post-Surfer Rosa tour of Europe with Throwing Muses. As neither band had plans for the short term, Deal discussed possible side-projects with Throwing Muses guitarist Tanya Donelly. After rejecting the idea of creating a dance album together, the pair decided to form a new band.[4] Carrie Bradley, violinist and vocalist in Ed's Redeeming Qualities, was recruited and they recorded a short demo tape. Tracks on the demo tape included early versions of "Lime House", "Doe" and "Only in 3's".[5]

With the help of four drummers and bassist Ray Halliday The Breeders completed their demo tape and subsequently played one show at The Rathskeller in Boston, billed as a "Boston girl super-group".[5] The band sent the tape to the English independent record label 4AD because both the Pixies and Throwing Muses had signed to the label. Upon hearing the tape 4AD head Ivo Watts-Russell remarked "This is absolutely magical, beautiful stuff", and signed them to the label.[6]


The Breeders wanted to re-record the demo tape for a general release. 4AD gave the band an $11,000 budget[7] and recruited Steve Albini, who had worked with Deal on the Pixies' 1988 album Surfer Rosa, to record in Edinburgh, Scotland for two weeks in December 1989.[6] The Perfect Disaster's Josephine Wiggs joined the band as bassist. The Breeders were without a drummer, so Albini suggested Britt Walford of Slint join for the recording sessions. Deal met Walford after a Pixies concert in Chicago; Walford agreed to play drums on the album, and joined The Breeders under the assumed name of "Shannon Doughton".[8]

The recording of Pod took only a week, so The Breeders used the remaining time to record several B-sides, a Peel Session and a video for "Hellbound".[9] Released on 28 May 1990,[8] Pod, although not commercially successful, received positive reviews from mainstream critics; The New York Times' Karen Schoemer wrote: "The angular melodies, shattered tempos and screeching dynamics recall elements of each of the women's full-time bands, but Pod has a smart, innovative edge all its own.".[10] The album also was famously quoted by Kurt Cobain as one of his favorite records ever: "The main reason I like [The Breeders] is for their songs, for the way they structure them, which is totally unique, very atmospheric. I wish Kim was allowed to write more songs for the Pixies, because 'Gigantic' is the best Pixies song, and Kim wrote it."[11] In July 2007, in a chat forum interview, Pod's engineer Steve Albini revealed that he considered the album to be amongst his best works.[12]

Safari and Last Splash

Promo shot for Last Splash

Following Pod, The Breeders returned to their various projects. The Pixies released Bossanova in 1990 and Trompe le Monde in 1991, but by the end of 1991 were becoming less active. Deal, denied the opportunity to contribute material to a Pixies album, wrote new material for a Breeders release and recruited Kelley Deal on guitar. The band recorded the Safari EP in late 1991. After the recording of Safari, Donelly left The Breeders to form Belly.[13] The Pixies became inactive in mid-1992, so Deal continued to write new material for The Breeders. By this time, Walford had become more reluctant to be identified as part of The Breeders[citation needed], and was replaced by drummer Jim MacPherson. The band had become a full-time outfit,[8] and opened for Nirvana on their 1992 European tour.[14]

With the break-up of the Pixies in January 1993, The Breeders returned to the studio to record their second album. Last Splash appeared in August 1993 to widespread acclaim and commercial success. Three singles were released from the album, including "Cannonball", which made it to #2 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.[15] In 1993, the band contributed the track "Iris" to the AIDS-Benefit Album No Alternative produced by the Red Hot Organization. As a result, The Breeders' visibility increased: 1994 saw Last Splash receive a platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America and the band secured a prime spot on the Lollapalooza tour.[14]


In 1995, Kelley Deal was involved in a drug bust, so Kim Deal formed the side project The Amps with MacPherson, bassist Luis Lerma (member of the Dayton, Ohio band The Tasties) and guitarist Nate Farley, who later joined Guided by Voices. The Amps released the album Pacer in October 1995. Following drug rehab, Kelley started the Kelley Deal 6000 and also formed the Last Hard Men with Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach, Smashing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, and Jimmy Flemion of The Frogs.

In 1996 Kim Deal reclaimed the Breeders name and played several California dates; the lineup was essentially The Amps augmented by violinist Carrie Bradley. The band made another unsuccessful attempt at recording a third studio album in 1997. Kelley Deal rejoined the band the following year and wrote and recorded songs with her sister, although the only material released during this period was a cover of The Three Degrees' take on James Gang's "Collage," recorded for The Mod Squad soundtrack in 1999.[14]

Title TK

The Deal sisters recruited new personnel to play several live shows in 2001, and returned to the studio with guitarist Richard Presley, bass player Mando Lopez and drummer Jose Medeles to record the third Breeders studio album Title TK with Steve Albini. The Breeders were also recruited, in early 2002, to perform in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. They were approached by the production staff, after they had been performing the show's theme, originally written by Nerf Herder, as a regular part of their concert set. The episode is entitled "Him", and aired November 5, 2002.

The Breeders contributed the track "Wicked Little Town: Hedwig Version" to the 2003 Hedwig and the Angry Inch tribute album, "Wig in a Box".

In 2004, Warner Music Group announced plans to drop the Breeders from their label following low album sales of Title TK. The decision came with Warner's plans to drop several other artists as well.

Mountain Battles

Mountain Battles was released in April 2008 on 4AD. It features Kim and Kelley Deal, Jose Medeles and Mando Lopez. That October they played a benefit concert in Cincinnati, Ohio, for then-presidential candidate Barack Obama.[16][17]


The Breeders' third EP, Fate to Fatal was released on April 21, 2009. It contains a Bob Marley cover ("Chances Are") and a song with vocals by Mark Lanegan. The title track was recorded at The Fortress Studios, London, by The Go! Team producer Gareth Parton. The music video featured the Arch Rival Roller Girls, a St. Louis roller derby league.[18]

The Breeders were curators of an edition of the All Tomorrow's Parties festival taking place in May 2009 in Minehead, England. They played the ATP New York 2010 music festival in Monticello, New York, in September 2010.



  1. ^ Aaron, Charles (March 1994), "Ordinary People", Spin (Vol 9, No 12): 82, 
  2. ^ Costa, Maddy (2002-05-10), "The addict family", The Guardian,, retrieved 2011-01-21 
  3. ^ Anstaett, Tim (February 1989), "Pixies Interview", Offense Newsletter 
  4. ^ Frank, Ganz, 2005. p. 105
  5. ^ a b Frank, Ganz, 2005. p. 106
  6. ^ a b Frank, Ganz, 2005. p. 107
  7. ^ Spitz, Marc. "Life to the Pixies." Spin. September 2004.
  8. ^ a b c "The Breeders". 4AD. Retrieved 2007-09-07. 
  9. ^ Frank, Ganz, 2005. p. 108
  10. ^ Schoemer, Karen (July 8, 1990). "Recent Releases". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-11-22. 
  11. ^ Melody Maker, "Kurt Cobain of Nirvana Talks About the Records That Changed His Life". August 29, 1992.
  12. ^ "Steve Albini Drops Anonymity, Answers Questions In Poker Forum". Stereogum. July 6, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-22. 
  13. ^ Frank, Ganz, 2005. p. 109
  14. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas; Phares, Heather. "The Breeders > Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2007-09-15. 
  15. ^ "Artist Chart History — The Breeders". Billboard. Retrieved 2007-07-31. 
  16. ^ "Romney, actress in area stumping McCain, Obama". The Western Star. 16 October 2008. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  17. ^ "Campaign '08: Artists Prep Protest Albums". Rolling Stone. 9 October 2008. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  18. ^ "The Breeders Cover Bob Marley, Recruit Mark Lanegan for April 21st EP "Fate to Fatal"". Rolling Stone. 16 March 2009. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 


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