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And yet the sisters' quirkiness resists the simple constraints of self-deprecating confession. Both are legendary smokers, but Kelley quit more than two years ago (and will gladly recycle the pop-culture trash when mentioning her entrapment "in a shame spiral," as she puts it — she's still chewing nicotine gum), while Kim's cessation can only be counted in months.
"She's having a really hard time with quitting the cigarettes," Kelley points out. "For some reason, her quitting the cigarettes has made her re-evaluate everything else she's quit. Like she's not had a problem staying sober at all. At all. But I tell you, since she's quit smoking, she makes these jokes, and I know they're jokes, but how much are they jokes, really? 'I would love to have a beer and a cigarette right now.' And she didn't say that before. I think the quitting smoking has been harder than quitting drugs and alcohol for her."
Okay, so if Kelley Deal's role in the Pixies was "companion," what, exactly, is her role in the Breeders?
When the Pixies toured and Kelley was along for the ride, Kim was still working on Breeders songs. In fact, "Walk It Off" was first recorded in Kim and Kelley's motor home (a scene captured in loudQUIETloud). But though Kelley actively assisted as advisor and advocate during the writing of Battles, she receives no songwriting credits.
"A lot of times, just because it's not on the album itself doesn't mean that I won't be getting any royalties from it," Kelley says with a laugh.
"One thing that I've discovered is when I'm with Kim — and I figured this out, and I'm okay with it, because I analyzed it — it's like, 'What's going on? Why am I not writing songs for the record?' And something that I discovered for me is when I'm doing Breeders stuff with Kim, that's not my job. My job is to be encouraging, to help, to collaborate, to come up with parts, to come up with arrangements, things like that, but not to bring the lyrics to it. That's not my job."
Does that mean that the Breeders are, in fact, her sister's band?
"No," Kelley says, and laughs again. "It's Kim's and my band, but I let her think it's her band. And she probably lets me think it's our band. It's a total mindfuck."