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T O P I C    R E V I E W
tampatrader Posted - 10/08/2004 : 06:58:20

10 Pressing Questions
Return of the prodigal Pixies
By GINA VIVINETTO, Times Pop Music Critic
Published October 8, 2004

When the Pixies called it quits 12 years ago, fans thought they'd never come together again. The end was nasty. The band's leader, Black Francis, announced the split on British radio without telling his bandmates. He faxed the band's management his notice, changed his name to Frank Black and began a solo career. Bassist Kim Deal formed the Breeders and scored brief commercial success. Guitarist Joey Santiago formed another band, the Martinis. Drummer David Lovering gave up music for magic.

But the Boston band's unique sound went on to influence countless younger bands, including Nirvana and Radiohead. The Pixies attained mythic status for a generation that had no hope of seeing them perform. The band couldn't get on MTV, but it was credited with starting the alt-rock explosion. The band got more attention after it split up than when it was together.

So when the quartet announced in 2003 that it would reunite for one show at the annual Coachella music festival in California, fans scrambled.

That show turned into a tour. A year later, the band finds itself still intact, on magazine covers and celebrated for gallivanting through one of this year's most surprising and successful tours. The band sold out six nights in New York, five nights in Chicago, two in Atlanta. The Pixies play tonight in Tampa.

From a tour stop in Ohio, 39-year-old Frank Black - or is that Black Francis? - answers 10 Pressing Questions about enjoying fame the second time around, getting therapy and recording as the Pixies again.

(1) Does all this Pixies hype seem crazy? You're on the cover of Spin. For the first time ever. The band is bigger now than it was the first time around.
Yeah, it's crazy. Spin had some young gal call my manager when they heard we were going to get back together, and they wanted to negotiate with us some kind of exclusive cover thing with them. It had to be an exclusive. The woman called my manager and was like, "Oh, Spin has always been big fans of the band." And my manager was like, (deadpan) "No, you're not." She was like, "Yes, we are!" My manager was like, "No, and here's why. Let me give you a history of the magazine's relationship with the band."

Spin was trying to be all schmoozy, but basically, Spin had never written about the Pixies. They kind of piggybacked on our tour once so they could get backstage when we opened for U2 to write about them. They reviewed like one of my solo records, the very first one, in 1992. That's it. (Laughs)

I'm thrilled you guys are getting your props, don't get me wrong, but all these magazines that are coming out with, "We've always been into the Pixies," to be hip now, doesn't it seem weird?
(Laughs) Not weird, but it is show business. I accept it. You get what you get. The first time around, we were big in Europe. There were a lot of other things going on here in the United States. Editors of the various publications weren't going to jump on the "Oh, they're big in Europe" bandwagon and give us the attention that we would have liked.

The flip side of all this: Are you sort of relishing it? Are you sitting back, saying to yourselves, "You know we did influence a lot of people. Why not relax and enjoy this nice hotel room."
Oh, we're enjoying it. The tour manager, he has a thing for nice hotels. We don't even leave our hotel rooms on this tour. We're like, "When is our gig? Tomorrow night at 9? When can we leave our hotel room? At 8:55?" (Laughs) At the age that we are, we can appreciate it. When you're 23, you're just trying to score hash. (Laughs) That kind of nonsense.

Now we're a little bit older. We're like, "Oh, this is perfect, I can take a bath! Oh, I love this, the room service is good here." Or, "I can make phone calls, what a lovely desk!" Or, "They've got a business center, I can catch up on my e-mail."

(2) I've read that one thing that contributed to the reunion for you, personally, was that you had had some therapy. You're a more mellow guy now? Oh, for sure. Have the other three changed, too?
They have all had their own, if not actual therapy, then the therapy of the universe, you know? Everyone has been through their ups and downs and things. People are definitely a lot more mellow. (Pause) I have to be fair and say Joe and Dave were always pretty mellow. (Laughs)

(3) You went from Black Francis to Frank Black. But the other Pixies just call you Charles, don't they? (Black's real name is Charles Thompson).
Yeah, they call me Charles. Actually, Dave calls me Charlie.

Have you considered going back to Black Francis?
I guess so. (Sighs) Now it just seems old.

(4) The Pixies were so young and spry when you chose that name. Now that you're older and frumpier, if you had to pick a name today, off the top of your head, what name might you pick?
There was a review of the band in London a couple of months ago that said onstage we all looked like a team of oxen. (Laughs) So I'll go with the Oxen.

(5) David is doing magic on the road. Do you find that endearing or annoying?
No, it's all sleight-of-hand-type things. We enjoy it.

What other interesting things do you guys do while traveling together?
The rest of the Pixies have this gambling pool involving football that they try to get me involved in. They watch football, all of them.

Even Kim?
Yeah, she watches it more than the other two. (Proudly) I have never watched a game of football in my life. (Laughs) Anyway, it's kind of cute. They have their picks and all of that. All three of them were raised in that culture. They really enjoy it. David Lovering, his father had season tickets to the New England Patriots. He took him to every game when he was a kid.

Joey was a big-time gambler when he was in junior high and high school. He ran all these gambling pools, all mafioso. (Laughs) He could have had a very different type of life had he never met me. He could have been like the head of some Filipino mafia.

(6) So far, we've got a whopping one new Pixies song, courtesy of Kim. Are fans getting a new album or what?
Yeah, I imagine so. Everyone is up for it. But everyone knows I can be kind of hyper, all "Let's go into the studio tonight after the gig!" I think I am smarter than that now. I know not to subject them to that kind of exhausting thing again. We're all waiting for the tour to end. We'll give each other a call and go hang out in the studio.

(7) Kurt Cobain name-dropped the Pixies a lot. Were you happy or did you cringe when he kept mentioning you to the mainstream?
I just sort of accepted it. Obviously, musicians are just music fans who got into it so much, they started making it themselves. So I appreciated it. We're all music geeks. Then you meet, like, Bono and Bowie, and they tell you they like your band, too, and you realize how plugged in they are. Those guys listen to everything, no matter how obscure. They're still such music geeks, they just have, like, cooler outfits. (Laughs)

(8) Are there any young bands out there now you like that you can name-drop?
(Pause) Um.

You never like anybody new!
I don't.

You're an old curmudgeon.
I am. I really do listen to mostly old music. And I always go blank when I get asked in interviews. Later, I'll go, "Oh, s--, I should have said that one band.

Okay, well, tell me the old stuff you listen to. I know you like Dylan.
Yeah. I like old jazz. Chet Baker is almost the most crossover jazz artist at this point because of a particular film that was made and because he was white, and he's a famous junkie! He represents that West Coast jazz that I really like, that kind of breezy, sunny, laid back, not too intense, mid 1950s jazz. It was kind of before he was a drug addict. The one record I love is Chet Baker and Crew. I love Mose Allison. I've been listening to him since the 1980s. I like Stuff Smith. He's a jazz violinist. I love classical music. I've turned into a total nerd. I'm on the airplane, and I'm like (polite voice), "Oh, what is this pretty classical music? I must write it down so I can purchase it at the next Virgin megastore. Opus 98, oooh!" (Laughs) I still love Minor Threat, it's just that I finally have time to educate myself and listen to all the stuff I've always heard about.

(9) A friend of mine flew to California to see the Pixies recently. He reports that Kim cut all her hair off and it looks like Carol Brady's hair on The Brady Bunch.
No, it's short, but it's not like that. It's a tomboyish cut I've seen her do before. It's not bad.

(10) Do you guys take your meals together on tour?

Who eats the funkiest food?
Joey, because he eats what he calls Filipino soul food. It's like oxtails in peanut butter sauce and deep-fried pig's knuckles.

Is Kim still laying off the booze?
Oh, Kim doesn't drink at all anymore.

I know that was an issue before.
As it is with many of us. (Laughs)

So, two thumbs up for this reunion tour?
Absolutely. Three thumbs up!

- Gina Vivinetto can be reached at 727 893-8565 or gina@sptimes.com

The Pixies perform with the Thrills at 8 tonight at the USF Sun Dome, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. $32.50-$35. (813) 287-8844 or (727) 898-2100.

peace & chicken grease
11   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Stuart Posted - 10/08/2004 : 18:06:32
Originally posted by Lex

Great read Trampatrader, it just gets better and better..........but it is a Friday night and I am a tad pi$$ed!!!!

I've got Brixton 3rd June playing as I type and so many more people need to hear this F***ING band!!!!

........and as for a new album.................well I think I'll have to go to the great pantie debate on general chat to express my true views onthat one!!!!!!?????? : )

Man June 3rd Brixton gig was one of the best, if not the best gig I have ever been to!

Just the good ole boys, never meaning no harm,
that all you ever saw
been in trouble with the law,
since the day they were born
Lex Posted - 10/08/2004 : 17:16:06
..........oh and as an after thought,,,,,,,,,,,,,,I was at a work mates engagement do tonight and I got chating to a girl who left our company in August..........I was trying to find an excuse as to why I couldn't make it to her leaving do, so I said "I went to see a band" she said "who" I replied "Pixies".............."Oh I love Frank Black"

ARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH.............and I've always had a sort of soft spot for her...oh well!!???
Lex Posted - 10/08/2004 : 17:11:48
Great read Trampatrader, it just gets better and better..........but it is a Friday night and I am a tad pi$$ed!!!!

I've got Brixton 3rd June playing as I type and so many more people need to hear this F***ING band!!!!

........and as for a new album.................well I think I'll have to go to the great pantie debate on general chat to express my true views onthat one!!!!!!?????? : )
Ziggy Posted - 10/08/2004 : 13:51:22
The Man... the Quotes!!!
Cult_Of_Frank Posted - 10/08/2004 : 09:28:17
Yes, a top quality interview. Thanks for reminding me to link this thread in the news.

"Join the Cult of Frank 2.0 / And you'll be enlightened (free for 1.x members)"
Daisy Girl Posted - 10/08/2004 : 09:06:54
Thank you tampatrader... have fun at the show... sorry you have to go by yourself... but I know you will have a blast.

Thanks Dean for getting the word out on this and Honeycomb--also HUGE news-- i can't wait for that and what might be a new Pixies album to come out!!!!!


I really thought Gina did a good job of doing her homework on this article... Frank's quotes I think really reflected the better caliber of questions on this one-- a VERY cool read!
tampatrader Posted - 10/08/2004 : 08:18:46
Originally posted by Cult_Of_Frank

That is fantastic, thank-you for popping in and posting that. I think this is the first time FB has more or less said 'yes' to the new album question. That's pretty huge.

"Join the Cult of Frank 2.0 / And you'll be enlightened (free for 1.x members)"

Not a problem. I'm more of a lurker than a poster. I'm going to the Tampa show tonight, and am so stoked. If anyone is looking for an extra ticket for Tampa tonight, at least to get in the door, I'll probably know whether or not I'm going to have one by noon today. My 7 month old daughter is sick, and Mom's probably going to stay home. Dad is flying solo tonight. Leave a message here if you're interested, and I'll get back with you.


peace & chicken grease
n/a Posted - 10/08/2004 : 07:55:40
now I'm smiling, through the pain of my hangover I have managed a grin, this forum is always making me sigh and love the pixies more

Brilliant interview many thanks

I look like the kind of guy who pimps his sister not just for the money, but because he hates her
Cult_Of_Frank Posted - 10/08/2004 : 07:37:55
That is fantastic, thank-you for popping in and posting that. I think this is the first time FB has more or less said 'yes' to the new album question. That's pretty huge.

"Join the Cult of Frank 2.0 / And you'll be enlightened (free for 1.x members)"
dayanara Posted - 10/08/2004 : 07:27:49
Man, oh man. They just keep getting better. Thanks for posting this!
vilainde Posted - 10/08/2004 : 07:07:36
If there's something great about the Pixies reunion, it's that Frank's giving awfully funny interviews. I love that.


"I do feel sorry for people who don't collect records and obsess about music. Why? Because collecting, consuming and obsessing over music and records is very interesting. That's why." - Johan Kugelberg

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