During that dark dank period where we didn’t have the Pixies (1993 to 2004) we did have Black Francis, Frank Black, Jack Black, Jack White and Frank Black And The Catholics. Yep, Charles Thompson IV stayed busy since signing off on Trompe Le Monde and driving up the Motorway To Roswell… Hang on, a couple of those weren’t actually him. Which ones were? Only The Navajo Know.
“This wrinkle in time can’t give it no credit, I thought about my space and it really got me down”
Franks Wild Years began in Los Angeles (out in the valley?) in 1993. That self titled debut album released just after the Pixies split had Hang On To Your Ego (a Beach Boys cover) and I Heard Ramona Sing (a song about The Ramones) among it’s opening three tracks. They may have lacked Kimmy’s cool bass and Joey’s killer strings but they were Pixie lead enough to get us through. Second solo opus Teenager Of The Year delivered us this absolute nugget.
“I got me so down, I got me a headache, my heart’s crammed in my cranium, and it still knows how to pound”
1994 might appear to me to be the best year of music releases in the history of rock and or roll but even I can see that the main reason I feel that way is because for much of it, I was nineteen years old. If I was ever going to qualify for the award in this albums title 1994 would be the last time I was eligible.
Frank was doing solo Frank at the same time his old alumni of 80’s college rock Bob Mould was doing Beasterish things in his new band Sugar. If someone was going to corner you at a party and enthuse about the big 4 of pre-grunge Rock (R.E.M and The Replacements took the other two slots) you were to prepare for Mould love and painting everything Frank Black.
Headache came at us at the same time as the death of Bill Hicks, The Gulf War, seeing Pulp Fiction for the first time and losing Kurt Cobain. The album henceforth known as TOTY featured 22 songs. Of the 21 others on that record I cannot recall a single one being played anywhere except at home on my record player. It was Headache and only Headache which seemed for a while to be everywhere. The huge pop harmonies and infectious acoustics barrel this endeavor along on a big old roll of bouncy good will.
“Well, I found you, maybe you can help me and I can help you”
Frank Black Francis has released over 20 albums since going solo. He’s got the old band back together these days and these solo songs have been sort of buried by a Dog In The Sand somewhere in the not so distant past.