Embarking on his musical journey in the late 1960s, David Bowie became one of the most iconic and commercially successful artists, boasting a staggering tally of over 140 million records sold worldwide. Distinctively setting himself apart from conventional trends, Bowie exhibited unparalleled versatility, refusing to be confined to a singular musical genre throughout his prolific career.
Beyond the evolution of his musical landscape, Bowie was a shape-shifter in the realm of personal style, continually reinventing his image. His refusal to conform to a fixed identity mirrored his approach to music, preventing easy categorization of the artist. This dynamism extended to his eclectic taste in music, with Bowie consistently expressing enthusiasm for emerging talents and groundbreaking bands.
In the late 1980s, as the music scene underwent transformative shifts, Bowie’s attention was captivated by The Pixies, a Boston-based band formed in 1986. His admiration, particularly for the band’s guitarist, Joey Santiago, was vocalized in a 1990s interview available on YouTube. Bowie fervently championed Santiago’s prowess, emphasizing the guitarist’s underrated status and attributing a significant part of The Pixies’ allure to the rich textures Santiago contributed to their sound.
Joey Santiago, born in Manila, Philippines, in 1965, played a pivotal role as a founding member of The Pixies. Remaining a constant presence through the band’s evolution and hiatus, Santiago’s guitar work left an indelible mark on their discography. Bowie’s endorsement further elevated Santiago’s standing in the music world.
Expressing his frustration in a 2002 interview with NBC, Bowie lamented The Pixies’ lack of mainstream recognition, despite their profound influence on his musical trajectory. He identified them as an “absolutely necessary” band, highlighting Black Francis’s songwriting prowess and the innovative musical landscape they pioneered. Bowie decried the absence of their presence on American radio, attributing the oversight to the prevalence of what he deemed “real crap.”
Bowie’s admiration for The Pixies extended beyond words. A testament to their camaraderie, Bowie and The Pixies shared the stage during live performances in the 1990s. Not content with mere endorsement, Bowie integrated their influence into his repertoire. In 2002, his album “Heathen” featured a cover of The Pixies’ “Cactus,” a homage to the band’s 1988 release “Surfer Rosa.”
The reciprocated admiration between Bowie and The Pixies reached its pinnacle when Joey Santiago expressed the band’s desire to serve as Bowie’s backup band, underscoring the potential magic of a collaborative musical endeavor. Such sentiments echoed the sentiment that legendary collaborations, akin to Dylan and the Grateful Dead, could transcend musical boundaries and create something truly extraordinary.