“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” Singer When the Song Comes On: “I Turn the Station”

Deep Blue Something's Todd Pipes on the derivation of the band name, what they're up to today and the best and worst of times


Love it or loathe it, there’s little avoiding the Deep Blue Something pop-rock smash “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Even now, twenty years after it peaked on the Billboard charts at #5, the song is interwoven into the fabric of ‘90s pop-culture. You’ll hear it often on Sirius/XM’s 90s on 9, in a newly released documentary entitled Crazy for Tiffany’s and, of course, at the Dallas area sporting-goods store Academy. Deep Blue Something frontman Todd Pipes can explain.

“You always have to cruise by Academy to get shin guards or socks for somebody,” the Dallas native begins. “Any time I go into Academy [“Breakfast at Tiffany’s”] is on. I’ll be standing there and, out of the corner of my eye, I’ll be thinking, ‘please, no one make the connection.’ If I’m at the gym and the video comes out, I’ll just have to blow my workout. I can’t do it. It’s so weird.”

While Pipes recognizes “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is his meal ticket, when it does come on the radio “I generally turn the station,” he admits.

Deep Blue Something never officially broke up—although they were inactive for more than a decade beginning in 2001. In the interim, Pipes spent a lot of producing, including for The Nadas, VH1 Bands on the Run victor Flickerstick and metal troupe Drowning Pool. The band—now as a five instead of four-piece—reconvened last year to record Locust House (their fifth album; available as a digital download only).

Today, Pipes says, Deep Blue Something are “as active as any of us are prepared to be” and hopes the band will tour for a few weeks this summer. The band is even considering recording the fan favorite “Deep Blue Something,” an 11-minute-plus prog-rock opus from whence the oblique band name derived.

Oh, and here’s the story of how they got the band name (because how could you not care?): While jamming on the aforementioned “big space epic,” as Pipes calls it, he was having a bit of writer’s block. “’Somebody just throw out a title,’” Pipes told his bandmates. “[Drummer] John [Kirtland] said, ‘This one part, for some reason, makes me think of water. You should call it ‘Deep Blue Something.’ I said, ‘Hey, did you get that from somewhere?’” And, the rest, as they say, is history.

Deep Blue Something’s High Point: “It was second date in Europe [in 1996]. Our first date was in Austria. We were doing this date and Santana was headlining. All of our gear was stuck in customs in London. We finally got all our gear, played that show that was crazy because it started raining like I’d never seen before. So the next day we were supposed to play this festival in the Netherlands. So we fly there only to find out that our gear, that was supposed to go to London to the Netherlands, had not done that. It had gone from London to Austria. So there was this mad scramble. We were the first band on the bill in a big outdoor festival. And we’re just kinda going, ‘man, just get us whatever. We’re the first band. There’s not gonna be anybody here. Just come on. This is a long tour, just make it happen.’ So [Todd’s brother] Toby’s up there with a pink Stratocaster. I got this Fender squire bass. It was just this nightmare and we’re just pissed off. And we walk out there and 400,000 Dutch have come to see us. There were so many people. It was just an endless ocean of people. All these people are going, ‘they have come specifically to see you.’ We played a helluva show that day, I gotta tell you.”

Deep Blue Something’s Low Point: “We’d toured all over the world. I mean we were like #2 in Iceland and Israel. The last country we’re going to where the record still hasn’t been released is England. Half the world thinks we’re from England anyway. We think this is gonna be awesome. We go and have this meeting with MCA and they go, ‘here’s the thing: the British charts are dominated by British acts and you guys sound so American, we just don’t think it’s gonna happen here, so congratulations on your success on the rest of the world, but we’re just not gonna release it.’ That was dark times.

“Then, what happened, was Virgin radio was already playing [‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’] and the kids in England were buying these German imports at three times the normal price and there was this panic about how much money they were losing, so they did a quick turnaround and released it. But they didn’t print up enough CDs. So instead of debuting at #1, it debuted at #3. We were on[BBC One’s] Top of the Pops five times and when we hit number 1, it’s like the same guys from the meeting [with MCA] were standing there backstage and handing me a fruit basket and saying, ‘hey, funny how things work out, isn’t it?’ I was about to become unhinged on this guy. It had a happy ending but when something like that happens and you realize your life is in somebody else’s opinion, that’s the part of the music industry when you’re like, ‘come on.’”

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