Formed in the wake of the Pixies' breakup, the Martinis feature Joey Santiago and his wife Linda Mallari as the group's creative core. Santiago was born in Manila, Philippines, and when he was seven, moved to Yonkers, NY with his family. However, he spent most of his childhood in Massachusetts and went to college at U. Mass Amherst. This was where he met Charles Thompson (aka Black Francis and later, Frank Black); during this time he also met Mallari, who was studying Communications and Music at Emerson College. Classically trained in voice and piano since grade school, Mallari came from a music-loving family and had been performing in some fashion since childhood. Mallari offered to sing backing vocals for the Pixies (who had not performed any shows at that time), but since the band already had bassist/singer Kim Deal, Mallari didn't join the group. However, when the Pixies split in 1993, Santiago and Mallari began working on their own music as the Martinis. For a time, Pixies' drummer David Lovering played with the band, appearing on the group's song "Free," on the Empire Records soundtrack, but left to become the touring drummer for Cracker. The Martinis had a revolving rhythm section on their subsequent releases, including that dog's Rachel Haden on bass for the group's 1998 self-titled, self-released debut album. Around this time Santiago's career as a composer began to take off; he wrote the score for 2000s Crime and Punishment in Suburbia, a project that Frank Black also contributed to, and also wrote music for the cult TV show Undeclared. 2004 was a big year for both Santiago and the Martinis: along with the hotly-anticipated Pixies reunion tour, the Martinis released their second album, Smitten, on the Artist Direct label.
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