Kim and Kelley Deal were sitting on the couch in their Dayton home one day in 2012 when Kelley pointed out that the following year would be the 20th anniversary of the release of “Last Splash,” the 1993 platinum-selling album by their alternative rock band The Breeders.
“Once we finished getting our minds around how much time had passed, we started thinking it would be fun to do a show about it,” said Kim, the band’s lead singer and rhythm guitarist. “We started visualizing scenarios. We knew (drummer) Jim (Macpherson) was still playing. I’d already taken (bassist) Josephine (Wiggs) hostage once. She finished our tour when my bassist’s wife had a baby.”
Enthusiasm snowballed all around after that initial idea of a reunion show. The other band members from the band’s classic lineup were indeed receptive.
After a “warm-up” show next Wednesday at Southgate House, just south of Cincinnati, in Newport, Ky., The Breeders will tour the East Coast, the South and Europe. Several of those shows are already sold out.
“I was both thrilled and surprised,” said Wiggs. “In the back of my mind, I’d wondered if we’d ever got back together again. When I got Kim’s text, I texted back, ‘Of course!,’ before the proverbial ink was dry.”
Eventually, The Breeders’ longtime record label, the much esteemed 4AD Records, got wind of it and decided that not only was a tour appropriate but also a box set. The set, to be released in April, will include a re-release of “Last Splash,” four EPs that include rare tracks, a live album, an album of session recordings and demos, and a 24-page booklet containing personal photos, tour diaries and reminiscences by longtime musical friends such as Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon.
By time The Breeders were formed, Kim enjoyed a glistening reputation among alternative rock fans, thanks to her key role in the influential Boston-based band The Pixies. She played bass and sang secondary vocals behind band leader Black Francis.
Deal said she was extremely pleased with The Breeders’ output, particularly the more personal and hard-to-find materials. “There’s demos that we did here in Dayton,” she said. “There are songs we did live in Stockholm. Some are good, some are sketchy, but all are blazingly fast. I think that was Kelley’s idea. The category department at 4AD had all this stuff that I had never seen, and in different colors.”
Wiggs said of the reissue package, “I’m glad the ‘Safari’ EP is getting out there. I really liked it, but because it was a limited release, not many people had a chance to own it.”
It’s hard to overstate the importance of “Last Splash” to The Breeders. It was their follow-up album to the critically acclaimed album “Pod” and was released shortly after a tour with Nirvana, Kurt Cobain’s groundbreaking band. “Last Splash” gave The Breeders national recognition with the single “Cannonball” and a prominent slot on the 1994 Lollapalooza tour.
The Breeders went on hiatus in 1995 after Kelley was arrested and placed in rehab for drug addiction, and the band members got involved in various side projects.
Since “Last Splash” Deal has released two albums and one EP under The Breeders moniker. Those records feature only Kim and Kelley from the classic lineup.
Now with the classic lineup reunited at last, Wiggs indicated she was more than ready to go.
“It was frustrating in the beginning because, after the initial idea, we didn’t hear anything about it for months and months,” Wiggs said. “There was a process of getting people involved, booking agents and promoters who’d be interested in having us play. Because we wanted to do it in 2013, festivals weren’t looking that far ahead. We didn’t know when it was going to start. There are so many (Breeders songs) that I enjoy, some that I don’t think we’ve ever played live.”