Give the Chinese What They Want

The many moods, names, aspirations, and tourmates of Mr. Frank Black

And so maybe, finally, once more, for the first time ever, Black is ready to give it to them. But will it be as a solo artist? Or with the band that helped make Boston famous?

"I remember performing recently [with the Pixies] in Zagreb, Croatia," Black recalls. "We were playing at a little outdoor sports arena, and it was full. There were four-and-a-half thousand people, so that's pretty good for a band that, you know, is in Croatia and hasn't put out a record for 12 years. And I was standing on the stage and I had this little inspired epiphany, enjoying myself there in the summer evening, in the big, massive Pixies sing-along there with the Croatians. I said, 'You know, if I can't get the Pixies to record another record, screw it. Maybe I won't be able to come back to Croatia and deliver the Pixies, but maybe I can come up with something that will, you know, be an approximation of that.' "

For this month, Frank Black and family will take in the bounty of America's vistas among acoustic tour stops. But come September, somewhere within this country's great expanse, the Pixies will get together to jam (but not like Phish). Or they may not. "If the Pixies are suspicious of me—or if they think that they don't want to be in a band with me, or if I don't have their vote of confidence—then it's kind of over and I can't get there," Black says. "I can't get to that same space. I've never really felt the need to do it, but talking about Zagreb, Croatia, the other night, I mean, I'm thinking, 'Well, you know, maybe that's what people want, even if I can't do it with the original band.' " Maybe, instead, he can do it with his wife, four children, a nanny, a tour manager, and a driver.

Hounded by the Chinese, led to epiphany by the Croatians
photo: Michael Halsbrand
Hounded by the Chinese, led to epiphany by the Croatians

Frank Black headlines Southpaw Saturday, August 19, and opens for the Foo Fighters Monday, August 21, at the Beacon Theater.

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