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Kelley Deal was born 11 minutes before her sister. The Deal twins grew up in Huber Heights, Ohio, a suburb of Dayton, Ohio. The sisters first played together in their late teens, Kim playing guitar and both sisters singing Hank Williams songs in biker bars.
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 worked in computer programming.
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 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. After Last Splash was released in 1993, the band toured, opening for Nirvana, and also got a slot on the Lollapalooza tour in 1994.