Pixies’ Frank Black, or Black Francis, dependent on the day of the week, is a modern-day songwriting extraordinaire and a prominent name in any solid record collection. However, what are the albums stacked up on his own personal shelves?
“I used to hang out with some misfits,” Black once said about his musical upbringing. “We were the ‘we listen to odd-ball music’ kids. I wasn’t hanging out at all-ages shows or trying to get into clubs to see bands, and I was buying records at used records stores and borrowing them from the library. You just saw Emerson, Lake & Palmer records. So I didn’t know [punk] music, but I started to hear about it in high school. But it was probably a good thing that I didn’t know it, that I instead listened to a lot of ’60s records and this religious music.”
His unique slant on the world provided Pixies with a slick filter for their luscious tones and forged something shimmering that captured the hearts of millions. Speaking to The Quietus in 2012, Black opened up the keys to his encyclopedic mind and revealed 13 of his favourite albums, which was a mix of old-school classics along with a smattering of modern-day cult gems.
Lou Reed is somebody you can hear within the work of the Pixies, and the former Velvet Underground singer’s album, Sally Can’t Dance, is one that Black selects. It’s not one of Reed’s most critically revered albums. In fact, it was universally panned, but Black adores it.
“I heard this record in my college dorm, courtesy of [Pixies guitarist] Joey Santiago,” he commented. “I knew that I liked the record but when I got into listening to it again, some years ago, I realised: I know the record really well. I really like the production and sound of it. It’s very toppy and it’s got some really good sounds. It’s very thin, ’70s rock radio production.”
Later on, Black’s selects Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska, which is a record that just doesn’t tire. No matter how many times you listen to the seminal masterpiece, there’ll always be something new to be awe-struck by it, and it’s where Springsteen proved he was The Boss.“
Adding: “I really liked this record, and I downloaded it for our kitchen listening,” he mused. “I really got into some of the other tracks. ‘State Trooper’ is so great, so minimalist. It’s fucking two chords and a few words. It’s the most and the best example of that Bruce Springsteen song where he’s the character of a down and out desperate guy. And it isn’t going to get any better.”
Overall, the list provides a thorough glimpse into Black’s musical DNA and how his relationship with music has altered through the years. Additionally, you can see a broader image of what makes him tick on an artistic level and the prized skills the Pixies singer demands from an album. To read the full feature, visit here.
Frank Black’s 13 favourite albums of all-time:
- Baxter Dury – Happy Soup
- Lou Reed – Sally Can’t Dance
- Neil Young – Le Noise
- Musique De La Grece Antique – Atrium Musicae De Madrid Gregorio Paniagua
- Bruce Springsteen – Nebraska
- Tom Waits – Frank’s Wild Years
- Iggy Pop – New Values
- Kurt Weill – The Threepenny Opera
- Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians – Fegmania!
- Carbon/Silicon – The Last Post
- The Good, The Bad And The Queen – The Good, The Bad And The Queen
- The Heptones – Peace & Harmony
- The Clash – Combat Rock