Breaking up is hard to do — especially if you do it via e-mail or text message or, in the case of the Pixies, by fax. Before their end, the Pixies embodied 1990s alternative rock (though they formed in 1986 and split in ’93). They had a demented, dreamy surf-punk sound, complete with irreverent and sometimes morbid lyrics that were crooned and screeched by lead singer Black Francis. Kurt Cobain said their first full-length album, Surfer Rosa, changed his life.
But by the time Nirvana threw open the doors to grunge rock in 1992, the Pixies were headed toward destruction. They hadn’t achieved much popularity in the U.S., and their success overseas only proved to drive the group apart. After years of rumors and breakup threats, front man Black Francis pulled the plug, announcing on BBC radio in January 1993 that the band was done. This was news to the other Pixies: while he had the decency to call guitarist Joey Santiago after the interview, he told bassist Kim Deal and drummer David Lovering the news by sending a fax. Ouch.