As the Pixies reunion tour rolls on, there may soon be another way to revisit the group’s past: two writers have been pitching a book proposal for an oral history of the band.
Since the bandmembers have never been known to get along swimmingly, the behind-the-scenes take, as told to writers Josh Frank and Caryn Ganz, would be “nothing short of a ticking time bomb,” according to the proposal currently circulating among New York publishers.
The book would be called “Fool the World: An Oral History of the Pixies,” in a nod to the translation of their French-titled 1991 album, Tromp le Monde. It would follow the band from its inception to “one of the most notorious breakups in rock history” — when singer/guitarist Charles Thompson (a.k.a. Black Francis, a.k.a. Frank Black) told the band’s manager via fax that he was dissolving the band, before he’d informed fellow Pixies Kim Deal, Joey Santiago and David Lovering — through to the band’s current reunion (see “Pixies Guitarist Says Reunion Not Embarrassing So Far; Martinis Ready To Roll” ).
“For the first time since the band’s 1993 demise, all four members have spoken, on the record and at length, about the Pixies’ remarkable ride,” the proposal reads.
Frank originally started interviewing each of the bandmembers, as well as seminal figures from the band’s life, in an effort to write a musical called “Teenager of the Year” (also the name of a 1994 Frank Black solo album), which would follow the lives of Thompson and the band. But since he approached them as an artist first and a journalist second, the proposal says, he gained their trust and ended up with more material than would fit into a two-hour musical. Thus, his proposed biography would be in the vein of Legs McNeil’s “Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk,” “where the story of a band, a scene and a crucial era of rock history is told in the words of those who lived it.”
Frank and Ganz also plan to include the voices of Thom Yorke, David Bowie, Bono, Polly Jean Harvey, Dave Grohl and Ric Ocasek to analyze “how the Pixies absorbed, reflected and created the culture of their time,” which would make “Fool the World” “the most definitive and cohesive document of early 1990s rock ever written,” the proposal promises.
And just in case there’s any question of whether such a document would be of interest today, “one only needs to look to the hunger for anything and everything Pixies” since the band announced it was reuniting. “The Pixies’ story is dramatic, vibrant and still being written,” the proposal reads.
One publisher noted, however, that the band’s volatility, which makes the premise interesting, also threatens to undermine the project, or at least the band’s participation in its promotion.