Black Francis headlining with Pixies at the Brixton Academy, October 2009
|Birth name||Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV|
|Also known as||Frank Black, Black Francis|
April 6, 1965 |
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
|Labels||4AD, American, Cooking Vinyl, Sonic Unyon, spinART|
|Associated acts||Pixies, Frank Black and the Catholics, Grand Duchy, Paley & Francis, Pigface|
People go back to the stuff that doesn't cost a lot of money and the stuff that you don't have to hand money to over and over again. Stuff that you get for free, stuff that your older brother gives you, stuff that you can get out of the local library.
I've got a small, loyal audience, which is great. And I appreciate that. They're there for me every time.
I like visual images and there are certainly other bands that have strong visual images going all the way back to Elvis Presley, but it's kind of like that's never really been my bag. Probably because I'm too shy.
I don't make records that way, where I'm trying to please the marketplace or anything. Not because I have anything against that, it's just never been a part of my aesthetic, even when I was with the Pixies.
I think everyone should sell whatever product they want to sell for whatever price they want to sell it for, but ultimately the market will dictate what it is and people will have to charge less money for everything. Record companies have been overcharging people for way too long and now this is the trouble that they're in.
They're a different generation, those kids; kids that are under the age of twelve. They're not that impressed by rock music, you know what I mean? They're like, it's cool and everything, but whatever. They're just as impressed by YouTube.
It more or less has the shape of a love song, but 'Crescent Moon' reflects more my longing for an ancient romantic context that includes wild animals, fire, danger of death, stellar navigation, and seasonal intuition.
If you're going to exude naivete, you can't really… walk out there like it's a Sting show. You can't be that well put together and then have this kind of innocent bravado.
You should never rely on interviews with musicians as being factual. Most of them are mangled and even have made up stuff in them, that is to say, made up stuff by the writer or editor.
As soon as I got into music, I tried to be a working, real artist who gets paid for what he does, who doesn't have a day job.
The dumber half of the audience – whether they're male or female, and a lot of them are male – for some reason responds very quickly to the feminine voice. How can I put it? They kind of instantly react to the female voice in a positive way quicker than they would the male voice.
I'm not saying that people have to listen to rock music. It's a great, cool thing and it can really be liberating for a lot of people but, hey, so can Charles Dickens so I'm not going to judge.
I'm always looking to rock out. But it isn't really about rocking out versus being mellow, in terms of your personal satisfaction. In the end, you just want to be good. When you look at something that's really good, it might be Iggy Pop or it might be Leonard Cohen. Whatever it is, you want it to be really good.
I certainly have gotten caught up in the music business at various times in my life, mostly because you want to get along with whatever record company you're dealing with. I don't want to be flaky. I don't want to be some temperamental, hard-to-work-with musician.
Bob Dylan is quite a songwriter, and a great singer and musician. I won't bother with comparing myself to him, but I will say that I heard his records at a very young age and I still listen to all his records.
I can remember back as far as age 8, performing with the Boston Folk Song Society. It was a Woody Guthrie song.
My most cryptic, strange songs might be my most personal, but that isn't how people are going to receive them, because they don't know the code.
I have always been a singer, a writer, and a musician, not as a prodigy or as in a trade handed to me by my parents, but because of an inner voice or maybe a command from beyond reality as it is usually defined.
For some artists the live performance is the chicken before the egg of writing or recording of repertoire. For other artists the writing or recording of repertoire is the chicken before the egg of live performance.
I have had UFO experiences, and yet, at the same time, I can easily be convinced that none of it is true. It's hard to say whether or not you're a believer. I've been interested in that subject matter, like lots of people. Perhaps foolishly, I've allowed some of that stuff to creep into my music.
I listen to Neil Young and jazz and classical stations and, if my girlfriend's driving, it tends to be Hall & Oates.
I drive a lot. Just for pleasure. Sometimes I'll get in the Cadillac and drive around the city or the country, kind of trying to get lost basically. Y'know, just see where roads lead.
They're pretty good actually, Hall & Oates. I gotta give them credit. They got a lot of toe-tappers.
I have two step-kids and one of my own on the way. That's three college funds.
The first thing that inspires any song is a chord progression. When I have one I really like, I get into the lyrics even more.
I'm an untrained musician. Untrained musicians don't really have any music theory, they don't have a lot of rules. We break the rules, but it's mostly because we don't know what the rules are. It's easy for us to go to certain places, so I'm not surprised that a lot of people were amused by my songwriting style.
I've made my records and I've done all the interviews. I've done lots of long tours. I've made stupid videos. I've done all that stuff and learned all the lingo and gone to radio stations and shmoozed with DJs on the air and met retail people.
It's sour grapes, I admit, I want to be more famous so people are examining my work couplet by couplet, you know what I mean? That's the level where I want to go.
I don't want to do children's music. I write kids songs, but the kids songs I write are for my kids – like when I'm putting them to bed. We sing some song that we made up but I don't want to make a record like that.
But the truth is that critics are by definition critical. That's their job.
Some have called we rock and roll performers who never retire 'troubadours.' I enjoy this misnomer immensely. While there are many differences between me and my distant predecessors in L'Occitane, I do believe there is a lineage that connects us of the last 70 years with those romantic singers of the High Middle Ages.