In 1992, to the shock of the alternative music world, Charles "Black Francis" Thompson, the front man for The Pixies, called it quits. Simmering animosity between him and bassist Kim Deal had made their partnership untenable, so they parted ways, Charles performing as Frank Black, while Kim teamed up with twin Kelly to form the Breeders. Along with countless fans, I was disappointed, but moved on, though I never stopped listening to their music. The Pixies cultivated the sound that I have always found most compelling in music, the fusion of a wall of noise with poppy melody. I never really liked their dirgy, slow-moving pieces, but there was enough of what I liked for me to continue listening.
Fast-forward to 2004, and the band was reunited, mostly due to financial needs, but I think also to see if they could slay the dragons of the past and move forward as a unit. While Charles and Kim had their side projects to keep them busy, Joey Santiago (guitarist) scored movies and paired up with his wife to form The Martinis, while David Lovering, the drummer, focused his energy on performing magic and beach combing with a metal detector. With the advent of mp3s, music sharing, and the general collapse of record/cd buying, the royalty checks had begun to wither. Several of the band members were expecting children, so the financial pressure overcame their reluctance to try again.
"loud QUIET loud" was filmed over the year that The Pixies reunited, toured, and pondered their future together. Portions of it are painful to watch, as the antagonists ignore and snub each other, showing the divisions that never healed. Over the course of the documentary, however, connections are made, friendships reborn, spirits uplifted. If you are a Pixies fan, or even if you have never heard of them before, this movie is a great view into their reunion attempt, with some band history thrown in for good measure. Well-worth seeking out.