LAST WEEK I SPOKE to none other than Charles Thompson, AKA Black Francis, AKA Frank Black, AKA the man who wrote "Caribou," about touring, Cat Power, record bootleggers, the future of the Pixies, and his new album, Fast Man Raider Man (which is actually very, very good, with a sort of Leon Redbone/Alex Chilton vibe). Here are a few things I learned.
(1) Black lives "down near Eugene." When I asked him what brought him down there, he flatly stated, "a woman."
(2) He's only going to play three of four songs from his new album on this tour, because, as he puts it, "I'm kind of in this space where I just play what I want to play. [The record's] going to sell what it's going to sell. It doesn't matter if I plug it or not. So I work for the brand name. I work for the career, I work for the circuit. I work for the lifestyle. I work for the troubadour aspect of all of this."
(3) He's never heard a Cat Power record, which seems odd.
(4) Bootlegging and downloading? Frank doesn't care: "Burn baby burn. Go for it. It doesn't bother me. All that kind of stuff is going to help me more than it hurts me. When you're a small fry like myself, anything that's going on, even bootlegging, adds to your brand name and spreads the word about your scene."
(5) On the talk of a new Pixies album: "There's always talk. It's cheap talk. Who knows what's going to happen. Maybe it's interesting to me for the wrong reasons. We enjoy touring at the level that we're currently touring at. But we can't keep doing this as a reunion band. It's going to turn county fair in the next year or two if we continue to do that. So the only way to keep the train rolling is to do more new stuff. And not all the band is convinced—hell, I'm not even convinced that's what we should do. But that's the one thing that's going to keep the touring opportunities available to us."