Ok, so this time I’m going to talk about a name in capital letters in the alt-rock world. His name (not his real one) is Frank Black, although he was once known as Black Francis and he’s recently using it again. He got a great songwriting talent that he mainly showed off with The Pixies, a key band for almost everything that happened in the 90’s. Back in those times, when he was young he was a bit overweight, he wore squared flannel shirts, the lumberjack trend that ended up being a must in grunge fashion and he looked pretty handsome. Obviously he was not going to represent the usual stereotype of extremely thin indie kid with a baby-sized t-shirt.
Too much have been said about The Pixies and everything good. So the story goes basically like this. They record some songs that a UK label release under the EP named “Come On Pilgrim”, the first piece of a work that is aging remarkably well and of course the first success of their brief but astonishing career. His blend of punk-rock and pop with surrealism and sci-fi influences was totally explosive and opened new paths for indie-rock. Then “Surfer Rosa” comes out, with some of his all-time hits, like “Where is My Mind?” or “Gigantic”, this one written by Kim Deal. Later, both albums were released together for the US market, so you’ll probably see it as “Surfer Rosa & Come On Pilgrim” in your store or p2p.
Then came “Doolitle”, another awesome shot with the dancey “Debaser”, the fierce “Tame”, the delicious “Wave of Mutilation” and it goes like this till the end with the perfect end of “Gouge Away”. In the middle there is a collection of awesome songs, including two pop hit-singles, “Here Comes Your Man” and “Monkey Gone To Heaven”, songs that placed the Pixies not only as a brilliant post-punk band, but as one who had come to print their signature in all fields of modern music. It’s amazing what they can do even with absence of lyrics (“La La Love You”) or mixing undecipherable bits of Spanish and English (“Crackity Jones”).
With the nineties and the Pixies being already an influence for a lot of alternative bands, they released “Bossanova”, an album that is less pop or at least includes some more obscure songs like “Is She Weird” or “Ana” with winds of the dusty west and at the same time they made new major hits like “Velouria” or “Dig For Fire” and punk-pop anthems like “Allison” or “Stormy Weather”. A new masterpiece and again, the band shows their wide-range talent, which normally comes, of course, from our subject, Black Francis.
And the dream ended in 1991. I’m still amazed at how bands like Pixies or Hüsker Dü made so fucking incredible albums in that few time… like a masterpiece a year or even less. Astonishing. So well, relationships in the band were going in bad ways, mainly between Frank Black and Kim Deal, which I guess made impossible to carry on with the band. But as a testament for all indie and alternative rockers in the world, they released “Trompe Le Monde”. The record with eyes on the cover (surrealistic cliché) was in some way their most truly ‘rock’ record, with many solos, lots of guitar distortion (Planet of Sound), punk-core aggression (The Sad Punk, Distance Equals Rate Times Time), power-pop (Trompe Le Monde), catchy experimental songs (Space (I Believe In)), an awesome cover of Jesus & Mary Chain and another instant classic (Letter to Memphis).
So the bassist devoted to The Breeders, a very cool band at the beggining (“Pod” and “Last Splash” are almost as brilliant as Pixies music) which is not that brilliant right now. Well, I don’t know whose fault was, but definitely Charles Thompson (Francis’ real name) is now a more respected songwriter.
Black Francis, turned his name to Frank Black to start a solo career that we can say today, have gave us lots of good moments, normally not as exciting as the ones The Pixies gave us, but definitely this chubby big boy have explore from indie-rock to american rooted rock and country, with The Catholics, and succeeded for the most part. Along the way he have got incredibly chubby and incredibly sexy. Here are some pictures to illustrate his evolution. Sorry if I don’t put them in order.
Still in the Pixies, lumberjack looks.
Frank solo, early years. Black discovers sunglasses:
More when he still were a (handsome) youngster. There’s no point in covering those beautiful eyes.
He can look silly and funny
And he can look black and depressed, like and old rocker soul.
Well, you can find lots of pictures of him, with or without beard, with head shaved or short hair (he’s not so bald in fact… I mean, not much more than he showed in the last Pixies years), but definitely he’s gorgeous 90% percent of times and when not, the photographer is to blame, hehe.
He has lovely lovely eyes
But he’s freakey and likes to look like a martian
but he’s a gentleman
What’s wrong with white clothes?
Again with the Pixies, they did a few promo shots when they toured some years mostly for some festivals. I don’t now if fortunately or not, they decided not to record anything new (I think it was again the thing that the two big weights, literally, can’t stand each other). Not the type of clothes a normal guy would pick for a promo shot, are they?
Killer record and cover, it’s the greatest hits. I’m generally against greatest hits, but as his work is vast, it’s a good way to know what he have done after Pixies. Check it out.
Some great portrait of Wendy Lynch. Thanks so much for this great work
To finish, some pics live. If you got the chance to see him, don’t think twice, he’s on great shape… recently after the Pixies reunion I think he wanted to show himself that he can still rock and I can tell he does. He screams like a teenager, dance like crazy, throw himself to the floor, have electric orgasms, make love to the drums… fucking crazy and funny show. Man, I definitely love and admire him in more than one way. In fact in this last european tour you could see him with only the mic, so he could perform and move way more than he could with Pixies ever, always attached to the guitar. It’s like seeing the incredible hulk of alternative rock. A true force of nature, and you got the proof.
I’m afraid I’ve overwhelmed this post with so many images… specially compared to the text displayed. I just couldn’t help it, unfortunately there are very few musicians so gorgeous, so it won’0t happen again in some time 😉
Check out this amazing video of The Pixies performing “Tame”. (that’s fucking punk)
An acoustic vid, the proof that Frank looks great in shorts
And here Frank in all his glory, in the “Men in Black” video.
And Headache, cute and creepy at the same time