The Pixies, Leonard Cohen And My Ever Burgeoning Desire To Live Life A Little Less Idealistically…

I did not know the Pixies were touring Australia this month.

I also did not know they had recorded a cover of Cohen’s ‘I Can’t Forget.’

I first saw the Pixies play during the Northern Hemispheric summer of 2004, I think.

It was their reunion tour which for a whole gamut of reasons, I’m sure, they decided to bring to Japan.

I was more impressed by them then perhaps anyone I saw play that year, and I was at the time, seeing shit load of live music, working as a freelance music journalist and loving every minute of the music, rather than the scene.

Kim Deal has always been, in my opinion, one of the sexiest minxes in rock n roll. She simply  d o e s  n o t  g i v e  a  f u c k . And she’s a twin. Did you know that? A reclusive twin. And a chain smoker. I admire people who can play and smoke simultaneusly, though  probably shouldn’t, and mainly because I can’t. The smoke always goes up my nose and makes me pull faces not entirely condusive to seducing the masses with my tunes. I digress… What really impressed me about this reunion was not so much the hype surrounding the rebanding– though there was plenty of that– My lover at the time has been hired to translate for them during the Japanese leg of their tour and being privy to the rather well documented dissenance between he and Kim he grew concerned that Francis might get the shits with having him be his shadow for a week.

Something worth explaining, I think, is how tricky it is for non-Japanese speaking artists to tour Japan. Without a phrase book or a certain degree of ambition just ducking out to a local bar or perusing the wears in a record store can be a real struggle. Knowing Francis had had a bash at learning a second language while on exchange in Puerto Rico and then returning prematurely to Massachusetts with his tail between his knees– because it was all too hard– left my poor dear friend feeling a tad nervous about the whole arrangement.

Though from memory it all went swimmingly.

Francis at one stage throughout the duration of their performance at Fuji Rock forgot the lick to a particular song he was playing. Kim stopped playing, lit a cigarette and just stared at him. Eventually he stopped trying and said “I’ve totally forgotten how to play this song,” which I thought was well cute.

At the conclusion of their set all four of them walked off stage and returned with a beer in hand. Francis opened each of them with a bottle opener and they all just stood there, bowing and drinking. Pigs in mud.

They were my favorite act that year.

I was thinking just now of why he, Francis, would’ve chosen to cover this particular Leonard Cohen song.

I reckon it all comes down to stumbling out of bed and preparing for struggle… lighting a cigarette and sucking his gut in.

I could be wrong. I often am.

I also recall him once saying somewhere that;

“It’s all those characters in the Old Testament. I’m obsessed with them. Why it comes out so much [in my lyrics] I don’t know.”

Which is a nice little parallel between Leonard I reckon. And me too, I suppose. Though I care less and less to bang on about my religious childhood lately.

No surprise really, The Pixies version of this song is an entire 50 seconds shorter than Leonards.

Good times.


I Can’t Forget:

I stumbled out of bed
I got ready for the struggle
I smoked a cigarette
And I tightened up my gut
I said this can’t be me
Must be my double
And I can’t forget, I can’t forget
I can’t forget but I don’t remember what

I’m burning up the road
I’m heading down to Phoenix
I got this old address
Of someone that I knew
It was high and fine and free
Ah, you should have seen us

And I can’t forget, I can’t forget
I can’t forget but I don’t remember who

I’ll be there today
With a big bouquet of cactus
I got this rig that runs on memories
And I promise, cross my heart,
They’ll never catch us
But if they do, just tell them it was me

Yeah I loved you all my life
And that’s how I want to end it
The summer’s almost gone
The winter’s tuning up
Yeah, the summer’s gone
But a lot goes on forever

And I can’t forget, I can’t forget
I can’t forget but I don’t remember what.

– Sometime during the 80s. Woot.


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