Legendary alternative rock outfit The Pixies are returning to New Zealand this week with drummer David Lovering excited to showcase what he considers the band's finest work.
The American group are bringing their Come On Pilgrim … It's Surfer Rosa tour to Auckland's Spark Arena tomorrow - their fourth visit to our shores but first since 2017.
"It's interesting because Surfer Rosa, essentially, is my favourite album," Lovering tells TimeOut down the line from his home in the Santa Ynez Valley, California.
"Surfer Rosa is easy to play and I think it comes across well. With everyone [in the band] it was just very easy to play and we enjoy it very much."
The quartet, of singer and guitarist Black Francis, guitarist Joey Santiago, bassist Paz Lenchantin and Lovering, will do something unusual on this tour, revisiting the band's debut releases – the 1987 EP Come On Pilgrim and 1988's masterful full-length album Surfer Rosa – along with material from last year's record Beneath The Eyrie.
"We're doing Surfer Rosa first, A to Z, in the actual album order, then we'll do a regular show but it'll be interspersed with songs from the new album and other classic songs as well," he explains.
"It's a great Surfer Rosa show and I have a blast doing it."
Lovering is thrilled to be able to treat fans to songs that defined contemporary music for a generation, including classics from the Steve Albini-produced album, such as Bone Machine, Gigantic, Where Is My Mind? and Vamos.
The tour Downunder also presents the chance for the group to pay homage to the late Vaughan Oliver, the British graphic designer whose iconic art graced the covers of The Pixies' albums and became synonymous with the indie record label 4AD. Oliver passed away on December 29, aged 62.
"It's great, [the tour] shows all the video with Vaughan Oliver, which is kind of a turn of events," he says.
"It's quite an honour to have and to see this show right now in the circumstances, it's wonderful."
After forming in Boston, Massachusetts in 1986, the Pixies are credited with shaping alternative rock throughout the 90s, with their abrasive and infectious pop sound paving the way for the likes of Nirvana, the Smashing Pumpkins and Weezer.
The band lasted just seven years before combusting, thenreunited in 2004. Acrimony continued to affect the group before original bassist Kim Deal left the line-up in 2013, with Lenchantin recruited full-time in 2016.
Despite their tumultuous past, Lovering insists the band is now one big happy family.
"It's great. It's pretty hectic-free," he says with a laugh.
"It's just very nice. We all get along, we joke with each other. Yeah, it's a great old time.
"We look forward to doing this and are enjoying each other's company, so , it's great. It's a fantastic situation."
While The Pixies will forever be remembered for helping to usher in the grunge era of the 90s, Lovering is pleased their new material is also proving popular with new audiences.
"Very much so. People sing along and what's interesting with The Pixies is we have kind of a diverse audience with young and old.
"The young kids know all the words [to songs off Beneath the Eyrie] more than some of our previous stuff.
"So it does give me an inkling - I think they like that. So it's pretty cool."
Who: The Pixies
What: Come On Pilgrim…It's Surfer Rosa tour
When: Tomorrow (Friday, March 6) at Spark Arena