Thursday, May 31, 2007

Black Francis to release "Cooking Vinyl"

The Pixies' iconic lead singer Frank Black dons his decades-old moniker - Black Francis - and, imbued by the spirit of eccentric Dutch painter/musician Herman Brood, recorded a brand new set of 11 songs, collectively titled "Bluefinger,"that is set for a September 11 release on Cooking Vinyl.
"I privately went back to the old stage name, if that even makes any sense, almost as a joke, explains Black Francis. "I couldn't get The Pixies back into a studio, but I would transform into my alter ego of yesteryear. I spoke the magic syllables aloud and nothing happened; just as I thought. Soon after, my new manager asked me for a bonus track for a "best of" compilation to be released later in the year. And as I prepared for the session, I became (honestly) gripped by the spirit of Herman Brood, and my bonus track expanded into an 11 song record called BLUEFINGER in just a few days. Thank you Herman. You were at the distant edge of my vision for years when suddenly I was under your influence like a cloud of opium, like the scent of the house of the rising sun. Bliss. Bliss. Bliss. I had spoken the magical name and nothing had happened, but I was impatient, and like so many people, I thought the magic would reveal itself in an instant, as depicted in films. Magic is more subtle. And Herman Brood did turn me back into BLACK FRANCIS. Funny how things work out. You just never know."
Directly or indirectly, all 11 songs reference Brood, known as the "Dutch personification of 'sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll.'" Brood was a rock musician going back to the 1960s, and he and his band Herman Brood and His Wild Romance, experienced success in Europe, and even scored a top 40 hit in the U.S.A. in 1979 with "Saturday Night." He was outspoken and in the public eye for decades, in part due to his relationship with the German artist, Nina Hagen. His art has been exhibited at galleries and at the Museum of Groningen in Amsterdam, and he created murals - considered by many to be valuable contributions to Dutch culture and art - in various public spaces around that city. A hard drug user for many years, he swore off most drugs later in his life, but the damage had been done. In 2001, he was told he had only a few months to live, and later that year, committed suicide at aged 54 by jumping off the roof of the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel.
"John Lennon and Yoko Ono claimed the Amsterdam Hilton in 1969," Francis continues. "The Pixies headlined their first big rock show in Holland in 1988. Herman Brood reclaimed the Hilton for his country in 2001, and now I feel he has even claimed back The Pixies, or at least me, BLACK FRANCIS."
Black Francis recorded "Bluefinger" in September, 2007 in Portland, OR. Appearing on guitars, harmonica and vocals, Francis was joined in the studio by drummer Jason Carter (Guards of Metropolis), Violet Clarke on vocals, and bassist Dan Schmid (The Visible Men). Mark Lemhouse produced the album."Bluefinger" showcases a Herman Brood cover - "You Can't Break a Heart and Have It," and ten Black Francis originals: "Captain Pasty," "Test Pilot Blues," "Lolita," "Tight Black Rubber," "Angels Come to Comfort You," "Your Mouth Into Mine," "Discotheque 36," "She Took All the Money," "Blue Finger," and "Threshold Apprehension," which is a bonus track on Frank Black's "93-03" "best of" album, due out June 12.
As Black Francis, Boston and Los Angeles-bred Black was one of the architects of modern rock as front man of the Pixies, whose "loud-quiet-loud" dynamics, primal scream intensity and free-ranging compositional style exerted a huge influence on alternative music. His solo recordings as Frank Black demonstrated his artistic restlessness, embracing alternative pop and avant-garde rock with equal fervor; he continued exploring this territory with a new band, The Catholics, for several years before journeying to Nashville to create two critically-acclaimed albums with producer Jon Tiven - 2005's "Honeycomb" and the more intense, upbeat "Fast Man Raider Man" in 2006.

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