Real Deal

Kim Deal lays it out, and Danielson confesses. Plus: Chuck D., McCoy Tyner, Robyn Hitchcock, and more
Deal or no deal?

SONIC REDUCER Been down so long that the initial whooping, joy-drenched Obama-phoria of Nov. 4 felt — at least before learning of Proposition 8's passing — like that moment during the flannel-flying whirl of the early '90s, when the world finally seemed like Kim's playground. When everywhere I looked, ultra-cool Kims like Kim Deal, Kim Gordon, and Kim Thayil seemed to signal the primacy of the K Word. Kim was the kid with perpetual Christmas morning going on. The universe seemed to smile down on us as we made art and did what we pleased, as if to say, "Whatever, dude, I mean, Kim. It's your day."

But what did we do with our Kimdate apart from starting clothing lines, burning out like a black hole sun, and simply keeping on? The moment passed, though it was still thrilling to finally talk to one of those crucial Ks — namely Deal, on the occasion of her surprisingly revitalized, multi-hued new Breeders album, Mountain Battles (4AD) and her forthcoming two-fer at Slim's — and to dig her breed of Midwestern rock 'n' roll realness. I mean, would anyone concerned with conjuring cool or projecting power really say she was bummed out and rocking the chub duds when asked about her typical day?

"I think I'm actually a little depressed," said the sometime Pixies bassist in deliberate, Kim-to-Kim tones from Dayton, Ohio. "I've been sleeping in really late and I don't know why. I gained weight — maybe because I quit smoking a year ago. I've gained weight, and you know, I feel fat. So that's an odd feeling for me. I'm not very confident, and I feel kinda stupid, so I dress really bad and I just wear sweats. You know, when you're looking good and feel good, you have a spring in your step, and then when you're heavy for some reason, you're just like, 'Ah, lemme just get these sweats on and do what I have to do today.'"

Chin up, Kim — at least you have the Steve Albini-recorded Mountain Battles with insinuating, melancholy songs like the doo-wop-inflected "We're Going to Rise" and the dreamily minimalist "Night of Joy." "Can't stop the wave of sorrow," Deal coos in the latter alongside Deal's twin sister Kelley, Jose Medeles, and Mando Lopez. "This night of joy follows — oh, everywhere you go." That and at least Deal has vaulted past her smoker days of getting winded after running up stairs. With the help of a prescription medication that altered her brain chemistry, she managed to kick the nic fits. "I felt a bit like a sociopath taking it for three months last year," Deal said. "Now it's worn off and I'm just fat." She chuckled. "It's better than being a skinny sociopath! There's far too many of those wandering the streets right now."

But back to the average Deal day. Long after all our Kim Kristmases, Deal told me that when she isn't touring or planning, say, the Breeders-curated May 2009 All Tomorrow's Parties in England, she continues to spend her spare hours helping her father care for her mother, who has Alzheimer's: "She's doing pretty good. She knows who I am and stuff, but she can get on a loop and repeat some crazy shit! But it's like, 'OK, mom, whatever.'" So there is a morning after — full of earthy laughter straight from Planet Deal. *


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"I feel like the leader of the band, but that's taken 12 years to acknowledge out of false humility," confesses Daniel Smith, mastermind of that fluid project dubbed Danielson.

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