Joey Santiago: “The non-traditional sounds I get are just the way I attack the guitar. When we play Vamos, I’ll hit my amps, bite my strings – I just go bananas”

Joey Santiago
(Image credit: Timothy Norris/WireImage)

He’s the square-peg radical of alt-rock, whose angle‑grinder guitar parts made the Pixies the biggest cult band of the late ’80s. 

As the Boston band releases a deluxe boxset of its fabled 2004 reunion shows at Brixton Academy, Joey Santiago tells us about military coups, celebrity fans and refusing to turn down.

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Henry Yates

Henry Yates is a freelance journalist who has written about music for titles including The Guardian, Telegraph, NME, Classic Rock, Guitarist, Total Guitar and Metal Hammer. He is the author of Walter Trout's official biography, Rescued From Reality, a talking head on Times Radio and an interviewer who has spoken to Brian May, Jimmy Page, Ozzy Osbourne, Ronnie Wood, Dave Grohl and many more. As a guitarist with three decades' experience, he mostly plays a Fender Telecaster and Gibson Les Paul.