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 'I was hanging out with Beck and Mike Watt. It was really amazing. [pause] I'm kidding ...'


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 Card tricks, Hall & Oates and the roar of the crowd ...




The Pixies Tour Kickoff, Minneapolis, Minnnesota 04.13.04

2004 Coachella Valley Music Festival





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— by Corey Moss

When the Pixies startled the world by announcing their reunion at the beginning of this year, singer Frank Black, guitarist Joey Santiago, bassist Kim Deal and drummer David Lovering reconnected for the first time in 12 years at a rehearsal studio in Santa Monica, California.

So when Black (a.k.a. Charles Thompson, who called himself Black Francis during the Pixies' first incarnation) phoned for a rare interview recently, it was not ridiculous to ask if he was calling from Los Angeles. At least, not as ridiculous as he made it sound ...

The Pixies talked to MTV News on 9.22.04 at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles.

 Will the Pixes ever record a new album?

 Dave Lovering performs a magic trick for the camera.

 "['Bam Thwok'], it's on the 'Internet' "

The Pixies live at the Greek Theater, 9.22.04

 "Bone Machine" (live)

 "Crackity Jones" (live)

 "Something Against You" (live)

"No, I'm in Portland," he responded. "It's next to Washington. Just above California."

Yes, Frank Black is a smartass. But he's a likeable smartass: During a 30-minute series of candid calls interrupted by poor cell-phone service, he was also blunt, funny and modest — not unlike a Pixies song.

Those songs, oddly enough, are more popular than ever: On its current reunion tour, the group has been playing to rabid crowds in sold-out arenas all across the U.S. and Europe. The Pixies were initially together for just six years (1986-92), and although they were revered in Europe and opened stadium tours for U2, they remained in the then-small alternative-rock ghetto in the States. By the time Kurt Cobain and many others began acknowledging a profound debt to the group — there's a quite obvious link between the Pixies' 1988 song "Gigantic" and "Smells Like Teen Spirit" — Black had notoriously sent the other members a fax stating that he'd split up the band.

Luckily for us, he called back whenever his cell phone cut out during this interview.

MTV: I saw the Pixies at the Coachella festival in May, and there was so much exhilaration in the air. How thrilling have these shows been for you?

Frank Black: Fairly thrilling — at moments, exhilarating, sure. I don't want to make too big a deal of it because that wouldn't really be my style. But yeah, it's been a pure pleasure.

MTV: Many of your admirers were on that bill. Did you spend any time backstage with other musicians?

Black: A little bit. I was hanging out with Beck and Mike Watt. [pause] It was really amazing. [pause] I'm kidding.

  The Pixies
"Gigantic" (live)
Surfer Rosa
(4AD)
MTV: I know you've been asked this a million times, but did you ever think this reunion would happen?

Black: I wasn't anticipating it, no. I was sort of dead-set against it, but oh well. I lied.

MTV: What changed your mind?

Black: I just took a chill pill.

MTV: Did you expect this kind of reaction? The tour is selling like mad.

Black: There's been a lot of interest. The Internet has helped. Yeah, it's kinda cool. I'm not confused or shocked — I mean, it's showbiz. And there always was a feeling of celebration around the band whenever we toured or performed, especially in Europe. And that feeling seems to be very much the case now here in North America. It just took a while to penetrate.

MTV: Tell me about the first rehearsal after you got back together.

Black: I waited outside, and I was the first to arrive. I was a little nervous, but not that nervous. We had all spoken on the phone, of course, so I guess that was the real icebreaker. And we all kissed and hugged and broke out our Starbucks and plugged in, and that was it. It was very uneventful.

  The Pixies
"Here Comes Your Man"
Doolittle
(4AD)
MTV: I understand the rehearsal studio was similar to the one the band practiced in when you first started.

Black: It was real simple, something you paid for by the month. A cement room in a big cement building. It was nice — it was nice to start out real.


The logic behind breaking up by fax ...
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Photo: Chapman Baehler

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 "Here Comes Your Man"
Doolittle
(4AD)


 "Where Is My Mind?" (live)
Surfer Rosa
(4AD)


 "Bam Thwok"


 "Head On
Trompe Le Monde
(4AD)


 "Monkey Gone To Heaven"
Doolittle
(4AD)


 "Velouria"
Bossanova
(4AD)


 "Dig For Fire"
Bossanova
(4AD)


 "Allison"
Bossanova
(4AD)


 "Gigantic" (live)
Surfer Rosa
(4AD)


 "Ana"
Bossanova
(4AD)


 "Planet Of Sound" (120 Minutes Performance)
Trompe Le Monde
(4AD)


 "Alec Eiffel"
Trompe Le Monde
(4AD)




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