Published Feb 01, 2000When Frank Black, then known as Black Francis, broke up the sonically charged Pixies in favour of putrid solo albums, I had written him off, and so did his record company. The truth be told, I heckled Black in the fine Detroit tradition when he opened for They Might Be Giants shortly after his first solo album.
Now back with a band, the Catholics and two excellent straight-up guitar rock albums, Frank Black and The Catholics and Pistolero, on Sonic Unyon, I won't be screaming out "Play some Breeders!"
I attributed this improvement to the Catholics, who have helped flush out his guitar rock sound, but Black downplays the role the band had in helping create these two interesting rock albums. "If I were to write the songs and hire session musicians - the guys are going to put in an effort. All a band is, is a band, whether it's long term or for one night," he says from his home in Los Angeles.
Even though he has recorded two albums and toured North America with the Catholics for the last two years, Black doesn't want people to think that this is his new band. "Bands are meant to be broken up. Unfortunately, people rally around them like sports teams."
He felt the sting of the fans who adored the Pixies when he broke them up, and fears that people might do the same thing again. Instead, he prefers to think of the band in Neil Young and Crazy Horse terms - and although they're not as good, they are similar. Young still records solo albums but brings out Crazy Horse when the mood is right. This way, Black can always return to recording those horrid solo albums.