Is Black Francis one of the great writers of alternative rock?
(Photo: George Pimentel)
If you were to ask Kurt Cobain and David Bowie the answer is yes, so who are we to tell you otherwise?
Why did we ask? Because we wanted to tell you some interesting facts about the singer, guitarist and creator Black Francis:
1. He was born Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV in Boston, Massachusetts, but grew up in Los Angeles, since his father moved there following his restaurant business.
2. In his youth he grew up on folk music and got his first guitar when he was 11 years old.
When he was 12 his mother and grandfather joined an evangelical church, a move that greatly influenced Francis as reflected in many songs by the "Pixies".
4. He founded the "Pixies" in 1986 together with Joey Santiago, whom he met during his university studies.
(Photo: Rob Verhorst)
5. Francis met J. Mascis in school, but although they were both interested in the same kind of music, their paths parted when J. Mascis went to form "Dinosaur Jr.".
6. In the beginning, Francis tried to recruit Kim Deal's sister to serve as the band's drummer. Kelly will later serve as guitarist in her own band - the "Breeders", with here sister Kim Deal.
7. He changed his name following a joke by his father who told him that if he had another child he would call him Black Francis.
8. Francis has been the lead writer in the "Pixies" since its inception to the present day.
9. The band's first demo tape known as "The Purple Tape" released in 1987, included 18 songs. Its recordings were funded with the help of Francis' father.
10. Some of the songs on the tape were written during Francis' vacation in Puerto Rico, to which he traveled during his university studies.
11. He learned to speak Spanish there and some of the "Pixies" songs will be influenced by this visit.
12. Following the demo tape known as "The Purple Tape", the band was signed on a recording contract and released the mini-album - "Come On Pilgrim" in the same year.
13. The name of the EP came from an expression of the Christian music artist Larry Norman, whom Francis loved as a child.
14. Francis' genius is already evident in the band's first album released in 1988 - "Surfer Rosa". Francis wrote and sang in all the songs except "Gigantic".
15. Singer Thom York of "Radiohead" noted that "Surfer Rosa" is the sexiest album he's ever heard.
16. Kurt Cobain said that the "Pixies" were his big inspiration and that the album "Nevermind" was an attempt to copy the melodies of the "Pixies", from "Surfer Rosa".
17. Even David Bowie praised the album and the band and recorded a cover of the song "Cactus" from it, which he released in 2002 as part of the album "Heathen".
18. Francis wrote the lyrics for "Where Is My Mind?" following a diving trip in the Caribbean, during which small fish chased after him.
19. But Francis and the band even surpassed themselves on the next album - "Doolittle" which was released in 1989. Here tooת Francis was responsible for writing all but one of the songs, among them unforgettable ones like: "Debaser", "Wave of Mutilation"," Here Comes Your Man", "Monkey Gone to Heaven" and more.
20. Francis wrote the song "no. 13 Baby" from the album, about the gangs he heard about as a child in Los Angeles.
21. Francis continued to dominate the writing with high hand, when he wrote all songs of the album "Bossanova" from 1990 exclusively, except for the opening track "Cecilia Ann", written by "The Surftones".
22. Following friction between Francis and Kim Deal that was intensified during this period, a meeting in the presence of the band's lawyers was held in 1990, in an attempt to persuade him not to fire her from the band.
23. The friction intensified after the release of "Trompe le Monde" in 1991. Francis wrote most of this album's songs spontaneously in the studio.
24. In 1993, during an interview with BBC Radio, Francis announced the breakup of the "Pixies". The announcement was not coordinated with the other members of the band. Following the interview, he called Joey Santiago on the phone and informed him of the breakup, when Kim Deal and David Lovering received the message by fax.
25. After the dissolution of the "Pixies", Joey Santiago continued with Francis, who in the meantime changed his name again to Frank Black.
26. He called the solo album "Teenager of the Year" after a competition he won in Massachusetts in his youth.
27. In 2003 he reunited the "Pixies" and since then the band has released 3 mini albums and 3 full albums (the first consists of songs included in mini albums). In 2020 the band released the single "Hear Me Out" and in 2022 another single called "Human Crime".
28. Kim Deal was part of the reunion until 2013 when an announcement came out that she had left the band. Francis recruited another Kim in her place - Kim Shattuck from the band "The Muffs", but he also fired her later.
29. Francis is an oiled machine of creation. During his solo career as Frank Black he released, since 1993, no less than 7 studio albums.
30. In addition he released 7 more albums as part of the band "Frank Black and the Catholics", and another 6 albums as Black Francis.