Follow TV Tropes


Music / The Breeders

Go To
The Breeders in 1994. Left to right: Kelley Deal, Jim MacPherson, Josephine Wiggs, Kim Deal
I know you, little libertine,
I know you're a cannonball.
I'll be your whatever you want,
The bong in this reggae song.

So, what would you do if you're in a band and fans like you, but your frontman gets jealous and starts doing the I Am the Band thing and pisses you off?

Kim Deal's answer: "Start My Own band! And become just as popular!".

The Breeders was started by Kim Deal, the girlish-voiced bassist of The Pixies, as a result of frontman Black Francis' aforementioned jealousy at her Ensemble Dark Horse status and I Am the Band tendencies. She has since remained one of the two constant members of the band.

At first, The Breeders were a collaboration between Deal (who switched to guitar) and Throwing Muses guitarist/vocalist Tanya Donelly, augmented by The Perfect Disaster bassist Josephine Wiggs and Slint drummer Britt "Oh wait, that's a guy?" Walford. In this incarnation, the band got signed to 4AD Records (also home of The Pixies) and recorded an album with Steve Albini, who had worked on The Pixies' Surfer Rosa. The album, Pod, represented a variation on The Pixies' catchy Alternative Rock but with rawer production values, and was well-received upon its release.

After a break to record with their full-time bands, Deal and Donelly returned to the Breeders, this time permanently - Donelly resigned from Throwing Muses shortly thereafter, while the Pixies went on a two-year hiatus and disintegrated. A short Breeders EP followed, Safari. This marked the debut of Kim's twin sister Kelley, who has remained the other constant member of the band since, despite never having played guitar in her life before being hired as The Breeders' lead guitarist. By the end of the year, Donelly and Walford had left the band, the former starting her own band Belly, the latter replaced by Jim MacPherson behind the drumset. With the new Kim-Kelley-Josephine-Jim lineup, The Breeders became a full-time band, supporting Nirvana on their 1992 European tour.

After The Pixies broke up for good in 1993, The Breeders went into the studio to record Last Splash. Produced by Kim and Mark Freegard, Splash has slightly better production values (but not by much) and way catchier melodies. It quickly became the band's biggest success, spawning a hit single with "Cannonball" and selling well in excess of a million copies.

However, this success proved too good to last. The band wound down after Kelley ran into legal trouble for drug use, going into a long hiatus. Both sisters started up side projects, namely The Amps (Kim), the Kelley Deal 6000 and The Last Hard Men (Kelley). MacPherson and Wiggs themselves left at some point during this hiatus. The Prodigy also Sampled Up their song "S.O.S." for the massive hit "Firestarter" while they were inactive.

The Breeders came out of their 10-Minute Retirement around 1998, initially just with the Deal sisters. They returned to the studio with a new rhythm section (bassist Mando Lopez and drummer Jose Medeles) and guitarist to record Title TK, released in 2002. TK shied away from the catchy accessibility of Splash and instead returned to the raw garage rock of Pod. The band released another album and an EP with that lineup, before reuniting the 1993 lineup in 2018.


  • Kim Deal - vocals, guitar (1990-present)
  • Kelley Deal - vocals, guitar (1992-present)
  • Tanya Donelly - vocals, guitar (1990-1992)
  • Josephine Wiggs - bass, cello (1990-1996, 2018)
  • Mando Lopez - bass (2002-2009)
  • Britt Walford - drums (1990-1992)
  • Jim MacPherson - drums (1992-1996, 2018)
  • Jose Medeles - drums (2002-2009)


  • Pod (1990)
  • Safari EP (1992)
  • Last Splash (1993)
  • Head to Toe EP (1994)
  • Title TK (2002)
  • Mountain Battles (2008)
  • Fate to Fatal EP (2009)
  • All Nerve (2018)


  • Album Title Drop: Last Splash's title comes from a line in "Cannonball".
    • Title TK gets its title drop less than 30 seconds into the opening track "Little Fury".
  • Break-Up Song: "Do You Love Me Now?", with a chorus that goes Come on, come on, come back to me right now no less.
  • The Cover Changes the Gender: Notably averted with "Lord of the Thighs".
  • Cover Version: "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" by The Beatles on Pod, "So Sad About Us" by The Who on Safari, "Drivin' on 9" by Ed's Redeeming Qualities on Last Splash, "Shocker in Gloomtown" by Guided by Voices and "The Freed Pig" by Sebadoh on Head to Toe and "Archangel's Thunderbird" by Amon Düül II on All Nerve.
    • And a non-Gender Flip cover of Aerosmith's "Lord Of The Thighs" on the "Cannonball" B-side.
    • They would also frequently cover the theme from Buffy the Vampire Slayer live, and a studio version would appear on Radio Sunnydale, the second official Buffy soundtrack album .
  • Everything Is an Instrument: "S.O.S." features Kelley playing an amplified sewing machine. The sewing machine was originally being used by Kelley to work on a quilt during studio downtime - Kim decided it'd be interesting to mic it up and incorporate it into a song. The Last Splash liner notes credit Kelley as playing a "Kenmore 12-stitch" among other instruments.
  • In the Style of: The "Drivin' on 9" cover is performed as a folk-country sort of thing.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Britt Walford.
  • Gratuitous German: "German Studies".
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Probably inherited from The Pixies. See: "Regalame Esta Noche".
  • Instant Expert: Kim initially asked Kelley to play drums, which she did know how to do. Kelley insisted on being the lead guitarist instead, despite having never played the guitar, and learned it in a matter of weeks. Downplayed Example in that her lead guitar lines aren't exactly Steve Vai material, but it fits The Breeders.
  • Let's Duet: "Do You Love Me Now Jr." is a duet between Kim and J Mascis. Kim also duetted with Kim Gordon on Sonic Youth's "Little Trouble Girl".
  • Looped Lyrics: "Bang On".
  • The One Guy: During The '90s, Walford and MacPherson.
  • Performance Video: "Cannonball".
  • River of Insanity: "900" was inspired by Franklin's lost Arctic expedition in 1845.
  • Singing Simlish: "Huffer"
  • Single Stanza Song: "Roi"
  • Solo Side Project: During the Breeders' hiatus in the mid-90s, Kim and Kelley started bands of their own - The Amps and The Kelley Deal 6000, respectively. The Breeders would record their own version of The Amps' "Full On Idle" for Title TK, and a few other Amps songs occasionally make their way into Breeders live performances.
  • Start My Own: How the band began. Also, Donelly went on to form Belly and left The Breeders to focus on her own group.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Josephine Wiggs sings two BSides from the Cannonball single/EP: "900" (which she also wrote) and the already mentioned "Lord Of The Thighs" cover, as well as "Metagoth" on All Nerve. Meanwhile, Kelley Deal sings lead on "I Just Want To Get Along".
  • Studio Chatter: Appears a bit on Pod, such as on "Metal Man" and the end of "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" (where Walford asks "Josephine, do you think you're going bald?" to the rather exasperated reply, "No, you've asked me that before, and the answer was 'no' then.").
  • Take That!: Downplayed - Kelley sang "I Just Want To Get Along" so it wouldn't be seen as a Take That! at Black Francis.
    If you're so special, why aren't you dead?!?
  • "Untitled" Title: Title TK, sort of - "TK" is a journalism abbreviation for "to come", meaning content that will be added to an article later, so the album name effectively means "we haven't come up with a title yet".
  • Word Salad Lyrics