Let Black Francis Sing His Songs About Mustaches and UFOs To You Tonight
He's a man of many monikers and moods, and he rocks under any name. Charles Thompson / Frank Black / Black Francis has 23 albums to his credit, beginning in 1988 with Surfer Rosa by the Pixies, a band where the tired journalistic cliché "seminal" actually applies.
Black Francis performs tonight with Reid Paley at Maxwell's in Hoboken, 9 p.m.
As for his large assemblage of driving, quirky-cool thought-rock, Thompson is modest: "I don't know how prolific I am, I just make a record a year or so. It's what I'm supposed to do, isn't it? Make music. Play music. I love making records. Sometimes I edit. Sometimes I don't." Over the decades he's had reviews that range from rave to well, not so, but the man who marvelously covered the Beach Boys' "Hang On To Your Ego," is judicious. "You think you're losing it 'cause some reviewers don't get it," he muses. "Time passes and things change. No one was over the moon about Teenager of the Year when it came out. When it gets referenced now it gathers many more compliments. It's OK. A critic is supposed to be critical. Sometimes they're spot on. Sometimes they're not; just like me."
His live show, under any persona, however, is nearly always on, a driving edginess permeating even the quiet moments. For an East Coaster (Amherst, Mass.-based at his musical naissance) Thompson seems to have a bit of a lyrical obsession with the West ("Los Angeles," "California Bound"). He now finds his home in Portland, Oregon. However, his return to the Maxwell's Hoboken stage fills him with fond recollections: "Perhaps in loyalty to my earliest memories of the place, I'm always impressed there is a fresh bowl of pasta to eat. I always enjoy playing there. I always feel as if 'tonight's the big night; there are people to impress; do a good job.' Exciting for me. Always. I'm very comfortable in small clubs; it's where I come from, professionally speaking."