Back 'n' Black

Frank Black Francis and his Pixies return dry and determined after a dozen years

In the past, Frank Black has made it known that he doesn't enjoy interviews; he tends to keep answers short and evasive. So it's surprising how chatty, open, and jovial he is during this one. He does get a bit defensive, though, when it's suggested that the band's reunion might have something to do with money. "Well, of course it's partially for the money; that's why it costs people money to get into the gig. People talk like, 'Oh, they're just doing it for the money,' as if it's some kind of ignoble thing. But the fact of the matter is, as a musician, you work really hard to get where you're at, you put a lot of effort into it, and maybe you fight with a lot of people about it." So, he says, "It's not just about money in the most evil sense of the word; it's about being an artist as opposed to being the manager of a warehouse."

Black in the day
photo: Elektra/4AD

The money earned from this tour will likely keep him out of the warehouse for some time, but what does the future hold? Joey Santiago just had his second child, and Frank Black is expecting his first. "It's the biggest event of my life, hands down," he says. "My girlfriend has a couple of kids already, so she's like a trouper—she's real calm, and she's kind of holding my hand through it." But will there be a college fund for his kid? Remember the lyrics to "UMass"? He laughs. "Yes, absolutely. He's going to go to M.I.T., damn it! I guess that song was about mildly well educated people that think they're really cool, and me just sitting there going, 'Ah, this is just a bunch of bullshit.' I'm sure that I'd have a much better attitude about going to college now, but it wasn't for me at that age."

La la love you: One big, happy family
photo: Chapman Baehler
La la love you: One big, happy family

He isn't quite ready to settle down, though. "I really don't want to become the manager at my local Albert's grocery store, so I think my family is just going to have to become a showbiz family. The Pixies are thinking about making a new record, but we're treading carefully; we don't want to just shit out some mediocre record. It's like we have to start the band over again, we have to go back to our garage rehearsal space, and I have to impress them with some songs, or they have to impress me with some songs, or whatever. But we haven't really done that yet."

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