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Kelley Deal

Deal playing with the Kelley Deal 6000 in 2004.
Background information
Birth name Kelley Deal
Born June 10, 1961 (1961-06-10) (age 48)
Origin Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
Genres Alternative rock
Occupations Musician
Instruments Vocals
Lead Guitar
Years active 1992–present
Labels 4AD
Nice Records
Associated acts The Breeders
Kelley Deal 6000
The Last Hard Men

Kelley Deal (born June 10, 1961, in Dayton, Ohio, United States) is the lead guitarist of The Breeders and the identical twin sister of musician Kim Deal.


Early days

Kelley Deal was born 11 minutes before her sister. The Deal twins grew up in Huber Heights, a suburb of Dayton, Ohio. Kelley began recreational drug use at the age of 13. The sisters formed the first incarnation of The Breeders while in their late teens, with Kim on acoustic guitar, Kelley on bass, and both girls singing. They both had an opportunity to join the Pixies in the mid-'80s, with Kim on bass and Kelley on drums; Kim followed through while Kelley opted to move to California. While Kim made her mark as an indie musician, Kelley lived a more subdued life of computer programming.

Kelley also worked at Dynamics Research Corporation as a defense contractor with top secret security clearance. She worked with a mathematical model developed by the Rand Corporation. Kelley says because of this, she was not able to get time off of work to record with The Breeders.

The Breeders

In 1989, Kim Deal and Tanya Donelly (lead guitarist of Throwing Muses) formed the next incarnation of The Breeders. Kelley was asked to play on the band's debut, Pod, but couldn't get time off from work.

In 1992, Kelley Deal joined the band as third guitarist, even though she didn't really know how to play. The Safari EP was the first recording she appeared on. Guitarist Tanya Donnelly left to form Belly a little after the release of Safari. Kim suggested Kelley should be the band's new drummer. After Kelley insisted on lead guitar, Kim gave her a crash course on all the songs in the band's set. Kelley picked up quickly and learned all the lead parts on Pod and the new parts on the album they were about to record, Last Splash. A new drummer from Dayton, Jim MacPherson, joined them. Last Splash was released in 1993, the band toured opening for Nirvana and also got a slot on the Lollapalooza tour in 1994.

Rehab and rebirth

Kelley Deal had been addicted to heroin since her teens, and also drank heavily during her time as a technical analyst. In 1995, she was involved in a drug bust when she accepted a package of heroin delivered (by mail) to her house and was arrested for possession. Her family admitted her to rehabilitation, and the judge accepted the rehab in lieu of a prison sentence.[1]

Following drug rehab, she started the The Kelley Deal 6000. The band was originally to be called Solid State; however, another band had rights to that name. In rehab, she began writing her own songs, which appear in her band's set. She was living in St. Paul, Minnesota, while her sister was back home in Dayton playing in her new band The Amps.

Kelley Deal, performing with the Breeders, Zappa club, Tel Aviv, August 22, 2008

Deal also joined the Last Hard Men with Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach, Smashing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, and Jimmy Flemion of The Frogs. She played bass for them and they recorded an album in 1997, but it was not released until 2001 because they could not find a label that would release it.

The Kelley Deal 6000 released two albums on Deal's Nice Records label, Go To The Sugar Altar in 1996 and Boom! Boom! Boom! in 1997.

Deal teamed back up with her sister in the late 1990s and began recording new demos for the Breeders. With a new line up, they released Title TK in 2002. Title TK features three songs recorded in 1999, where the Deal sisters played all the instruments.

In April 2008, The Breeders released Mountain Battles. That October they also played a rally in Cincinnati, Ohio for then presidential candidate, Barack Obama.

Other collaborations and projects

Deal turned to knitting as part of an effort to stay sober. She specializes in knitted handbags, which she sells on her official website. She appeared on the DIY Network knitting show, Knitty Gritty (episode DKNG-401, Rock Star Bag). On the show, she showed step by step instructions on how to make a "felted handbag with Swiss darning design".

She co-wrote and played guitar on Magnetophone's "Kel's Vintage Thought".

She has also performed duets with Kris Kristofferson and Supersuckers.

Kim and Kelley Deal, performing Driving on 9 with the Breeders, Zappa club, Tel Aviv, August 22, 2008

She released a book of her knitting handbag patterns, Bags That Rock: Knitting on the Road with Kelley Deal, in October 2008. The Breeders have also released their fourth album, Mountain Battles, in April 2008.

In 2009, Kelley began selling knitted goods on Wire & Twine. These goods include scarves made out of recycled, felted sweaters and knitted handbags.


  1. ^ Costa, Maddy: The addict family, The Age, 24 May 2002.

External links

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