- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 1, 2002

"It's a love thing," Kelley Deal says about the new incarnation of her band, the Breeders. "We're like a little family," she adds. "Nobody quits. If they leave, they get killed."
She's joking, of course, and the sarcastic line is the first of many spontaneous comments made during a recent telephone interview with her and her sister Kim. "Interview" seems too formal a word. Telephone conversations with the Deals have much in common with performances by the Breeders. Both glide along joyously, ripe with quirky, funny moments and unscripted tangents.
At first, Kelley Deal is in a recording studio describing the maturity of her new band. A few minutes later she steps outside to watch planes lift off from a nearby airport, wryly discussing her interest in being a personal assistant if she weren't a rock star. "I'm really organized but not with my own life," she says. The calls and the concerts are always playful and engaging events, and they always end too soon.
The same could be said about the life span of the earlier incarnations of the Breeders, which formed in 1989 and fizzled out five years later. Just as Kim Deal's previous band, the Pixies, would inspire future superstars Nirvana, the Breeders' spirited and smartly constructed rock musings influence such current favorites as Weezer. The Breeders were among the groups that helped rid the airwaves of pop pap such as Paula Abdul and New Kids on the Block, and the rollicking bass line of its smash song, "Cannonball" became the star attraction of mix tapes everywhere.
Even with a worldwide audience, "Last Splash," released in 1993, would be the group's final full-length album. Bassist Josephine Wiggs decided to focus on other projects, and Kelley desperately needed treatment for a worsening drug problem. Kim, a songwriting workaholic, stayed busy by forming the Amps with Breeders drummer, Jim MacPherson. After a worldwide tour, Mr. MacPherson decided to dedicate more time to his children, and Kim was on her own.
In 1999, she and Kelley, now rehabilitated, began to record new material. The resurrection of the Breeders progressed the next year, when Kim moved to East Los Angeles to play with guitarist Richard Presley and bassist Mando Lopez, musicians from the old-school punk band Fear. Kelley left the Deals 'hometown of Dayton, Ohio, to join Kim in East L.A., where they share a two-bedroom apartment. Along with drummer Jose Medeles, the new Breeders are touring in support of "Title TK," which features 12 tracks recorded between 1999 and 2001. The group visits Nation on Wednesday.
European fans have been accepting of the group and its fresh slate of songs, Kelley says from the Los Angeles studio. The band is re-recording "Son of Three" and a cover version of the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" theme song for an upcoming single.
The conversation shifts to the theme of making songs that remain vibrant and fresh almost 10 years after they are released. "It's the difference between playing good music versus playing bad music," Kelley says. "I get to play these songs," she says, listing the great Breeders tracks that appear on the band's nightly set list. For a moment, the joking subsides as she expresses her appreciation for the band's legacy and her good fortune to be part of it.

During the past two summers, Moby's Area festivals have filled the gap left by the eclectic Lollapalooza tour. But nothing has satisfied hip-hop fans who have sorely missed the skillfully programmed Smokin' Grooves shows of the late '90s. Until now.
Triumphantly returning to outdoor venues across the country after a three-year absence, Smokin' Grooves assembles some of rap and hip-hop's best performers for one of this year's most promising concerts. Outkast headlines the bill Saturday at Nissan Pavilion at Stone Ridge, supported by Lauryn Hill, The Roots, Jurassic 5, Truth Hurts and Cee-Lo
As they have in Smokin' Grooves tours of the past, the promoters' choices appeal to a wide range of tastes. There's something for fans of tongue-knotting lyrical prowess, old-school beats, social consciousness and outrageous showmanship. This won't be merely a greatest-hits showcase, because nearly every act is keying on new material. The Roots, among the top-five live acts in any genre, intersperses cuts from the upcoming album, "Phrenology," into its set. Outkast plans to perform "Land of a Million Drums," its single from the movie "Scooby-Doo." Jurassic 5 will introduce tracks from September's "Power in Numbers," and Miss Hill focuses on the plaintive collection of songs from the recently released "MTV Unplugged 2.0."
Past Smokin' Grooves lineups brought Busta Rhymes, Cypress Hill, Erykah Badu, George Clinton and the P-Funk All-Stars and other superstars to outdoor amphitheaters. That's an intimidating pedigree. But even after the long hiatus, the acts on this summer's tour won't have a problem contending with the huge expectations established by their predecessors.

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