Kim Deal And Black Francis’ Ego Clash That Changed The Pixies’ Future

Being in a band with big personalities and egos is more challenging than most people realize. Why? Some of you may ask. Just take a look at a few bands that have disintegrated or one band member who decided to leave, to see that it isn’t always rainbows and sunshine; it’s often an ego conflict between bandmates that pushes them over the edge without any room to turn back.

That was the case for the Pixies, who were at an all-time high when the band derailed, and there was no way to turn back time or get it back on the rails. They were en route to becoming the forerunner of the alternative-rock genre that was brewing. Their sound, which was new for the scene, had made waves, and many artists, including Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain, were inspired by what the Pixies were putting out.

Unfortunately, all good things end, even if they seem to last forever. The band’s frontman, Black Francis, made a name for himself as controlling and a problematic lead to follow. Additionally, his relationship with bassist Kim Deal was one story that the media wouldn’t let go of, especially after their biggest hit, ‘Gigantic,’ which changed the band’s trajectory.

Although Francis was the primary writer, Deal also contributed and wanted to do more within the band. When they wrote ‘Gigantic,’ Francis left the studio, and Deal finished the song that became their biggest hit. However, when Deal opened up to her bandmates, no one was willing to change how everything was being done, resulting in a massive blow-off that made Deal leave the band for good.

Francis tried to move on from the situation by trying to soften what happened, but Kim shared her version of the story on the pages of Spin; she said, “When reporters asked, ‘Why doesn’t Kim sing anymore?’ he would get up from the table, and he behaved very badly. Obviously, this became a button that the press always pressed. People loved ‘Gigantic’ and even sang it at our shows. They would have to ask him if that bothered him. I don’t know, and I don’t care. It’s none of my business.”

By the end of 1989, after their tour ended, Deal already had her next move lined up even before leaving the band. When all her actions to be more effective in the musical direction of Pixies failed, she teamed up with Throwing Muses guitarist Tanya Donelly to form The Breeders. Although most viewed this as impolite, she had to have her next step planned out before actually pulling the plug.

However, Francis admitted that he had a massive ego and that the public’s love for Deal affected his attitude toward her. In the same publication, Francis said: “I have an ego. You have to have an ego to do this. At that time, we were playing, and I was saying to myself, ‘I’m doing all the work. She is smoking a cigarette, and the public loves her. Why am I giving my skin off writing all these damn songs?”

In the end, it was most certainly an ego battle, and the two musicians just couldn’t move past their differences. However, it might have been the best decision for Deal as Francis would have always gone with what he thought was right for the band. While they could have accomplished so much more as the Pixies, his ego got in the way.