Black Francis Addendum
I've got an interview with Black Francis/Frank Black in this week's issue of the Shepherd, where the outgoing songwriter gladly addresses some of the major elephants in the room surrounding his solo career, namely, "Why doesn't he write songs like the Pixies' anymore?"
Black also makes a spirited case that even his bluesiest, most rootsy material isn't as straight forward as it seems, but there's one supporting anecdote that I wasn't able to fit into the article:
"Here's how I know my music isn't square," Black says. "I got booked to play a Hell's Angels festival in France a couple years ago with my old band, the Catholics. When we arrived we felt very uncomfortable. It was all Hell's Angels, and it was kind of a wild affair. So we decided to conjure up the most bluesy hard rock that we could at the moment so we weren't beat up. I know it sounds like I'm exaggerating, but there were strippers at the catering tables, people urinating on our bus, and big burly biker guys eying us and throwing their arms around us, making it clear this was their party. And we got out of their so fucking fast after we played; it was very awkward. We played the most bluesy stuff we could, rocking hard, but they just looked at us like we were... well, they didn't boo us, but let's just say it was impolite applause.
"Here we were thinking, 'Gosh, we've got pedal steel guitars, we've got some hard rocking stuff, we got more bluesy bass, we'll do all these songs and we'll be fine,'" Black recalls. "But they were middle-aged bikers from Sweden, and they needed their music really dumbed down. They like it real straight up. They want 'Born to be Wild.' Even when we tried to dumb our stuff down, we weren't able to give them what they wanted."