His name isn’t really Francis and he’s black in musical mood only, but Black Francis has certainly made a name for himself in the music industry over the past twenty plus years. Most people won’t recognize his name, but they will recognize the famous punk/proto-grunge band he formed in the mid-80’s: the Pixies. The band, which also included rock heartthrob Kim Deal and innovative guitarist Joey Santiago, has proven to be one of the more influential punk outfits of the latter quarter of the 20th century: Kurt Cobain even said his mega-hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was his attempt to rip off a Pixies song. After the Pixies broke up, Black Francis launched a solo career as Frank Black, and, later, as Frank Black and the Catholics, and eventually he returned to his original stage name. Though the Pixies are in the midst of a tour that’s taking them all around the United States, Black Francis has a stop planned in Indianapolis, where he will perform some of his solo material at Radio Radio on Wednesday, July 20, 2011.
|Video of Black Francis performing “Threshold Apprehension” live in 2007; Black Francis will be performing at Radio Radio on July 20, 2011|
Born in 1965 with the exceedingly long moniker of Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV, Black Francis started playing guitar around eleven or twelve, when his parents bought him a Yamaha classical guitar from the tips his father made bartending. Francis studied anthropology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he roomed with his future lead guitarist, Joey Santiago. After a trip to Puerto Rico, Francis dropped out of college and started the Pixies with Santiago and Deal, who was recruited from a classified ad. Francis and the Pixies released several albums that remain popular to this day, among them Surfer Rosa (1988) and Doolittle (1989). Though Pixies broke up in 1992, Black Francis changed his stage name to Frank Black and released his first solo album, Frank Black, in 1993.
|Video of a 1989 interview with Black Francis on a Canadian television show; Black Francis will be playing at Radio Radio in Indianapolis|
Black Francis released several albums under the Frank Black moniker before starting a new band, Frank Black and the Catholics, which released a self-titled album in 1997. The band would have two critically and commercially successful albums, Pistolero (1999) and A Dog in the Sand (2001), but after two more subsequent albums they would break up. Black Francis wasn’t too put out, however: by 2004, the Pixies were back together and touring relentlessly. Black Francis once again became Black Francis when he released Bluefinger under that title in 2007, an album inspired by Dutch artist Herman Brood. A mini-album, Svn Fngrs, was released in 2008, followed by Non Stop Erotik in 2010. Most recently, he composed a full length soundtrack to the 1920’s silent film, The Golem: How He Came Into the World, aptly titled The Golem and released in two different versions, one the full soundtrack and the other a condensed, hour long cut called The Golem Rock Album.
|Video of Black Francis performing “Velouria” live in the 89.3 studio in 2009; Black Francis will be playing at Radio Radio in Indianapolis on July 20, 2011|
Indianapolis music fans would do well to head down to Fountain Square this Wednesday, July 20, 2011 to catch Black Francis in an intimate performance at Radio Radio. Through his work with Pixies and his solo material, Francis has shown himself to be a force in the modern music industry, whether he’s excoriating his throat on “Crackity Jones” or penning homages to musicians with the less than normal number of digits. If you haven’t already bought a ticket to this Indianapolis event, you’re out of luck: they’re sold out (unless you can find a scalper or two). But if you DO have a ticket, get on down to this Indianapolis cultural district early: Radio Radio isn’t the largest Indianapolis music venue, and Francis’ reputation is more than enough to create standing room only conditions. Lose your mind and find it again with Black Francis at Radio Radio this Wednesday, July 20, 2011.
Black Francis at Radio Radio
Wednesday, July 20, 2011 at 8:00 p.m.
Tickets: SOLD OUT
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