Jeff Sweatman

Black Francis links/history! and an “X” theme

So here’s a short Sweatman/Pixies/Frank Black/Black Francis history for you…ok, maybe not so short, but I’m covering 25 years here!

late 80s, Central IL – I first heard “I Bleed” on the radio while in high school and thought it was amazingly great and different from anything I’d ever heard (and it inspired a short-lived dream to be a rock’n’roll bass player).  The show was called “Vinyl Dujour” and was hosted by Keefer, who oddly enough would end up giving me my first full-time job in radio (about 7 years and a different city) later.  A friend then made me a cassette tape copy of “Doolittle” (thanks, Matt!) and I loved every song just as much if not more than that first one.  Home taping may have been touted as “killing music,” but it made me a Pixies fan for life!

fall 1991, Columbia, MO – I still remember the simultaneous joy/kick in the gut feeling I got when told by one of my fellow college radio DJs that the new Pixies album had just come in (YES!), but that it would be their last, because they were breaking up (those were still rumors at the time, albeit strong ones) (WHAT??)

winter 1991, Columbia, MO – not broken up (yet), Pixies come to my college town to play The Blue Note.  I meet my future 1st wife in line at the show.  The Pixies would later use that same venue as a rehearsal space to gear up for the opening slot on U2’s Zoo TV tour.  I only found this out years later, otherwise I would’ve been down there every day stalking them!

 spring 1996, Columbia, MO KBXR radio – On the Cult of Ray tour, Frank Black (formerly Black Francis) comes to town, and unbeknownst to Keefer, our Program Director at the time, our morning show host had arranged for Frank to visit the station for an interview.  He shows up 3-4 hours late, so as the night guy (7pm-midnight shift), I get the last-minute news that I will be the one recording the session & doing the LIVE interview!  It’s an absolute trainwreck, partially because I was unprepared, partially because it was my 1st live artist interview, partially because I was dorking out as a huge Pixies fan (but I’d heard he would get mad if I brought them up, so I didn’t), and partially because, as Frank admitted at the end of the interview, he’d had a fantastic bottle of wine at dinner before coming over!  Super-fun anyway, and still probably THE highlight of my radio career (although I certainly love The Corner Lounge too!)…

 2004 – I bought one of the early official bootlegs because I wasn’t sure how long this reunion would last, or if I’d ever get to see it for myself, but I do end up seeing Pixies twice on their reunion tour that fall, once in Columbia, MO (at the JPJ equivalent!), and once in Minnesota…they basically were exactly as I remembered them (plus a few pounds and minus some hair)…not a lot of movement on stage & not much stage banter, just a bigger crowd watching that ferocity wrapped in velveteen…oh, and still great use of strobe/white light and fake smoke!

let the record show I have seen Frank Black (w/ and w/out The Catholics) a few times over the ensuing years also…a little fuzzy on those times/dates though…he played Columbia fairly often!  Then again, I worked the night shift during the late 90s, so I might’ve missed him a time or 2!

fast-forward to the spring 2012 – my first trip to Europe, and when my new wife and I finally get around to visiting the Eiffel Tower during our week in Paris, I’ve got The Pixies “Alec Eiffel” in my head the whole time!

So, as you can see, Frank Black Francis (aka Charles Thompson) has had quite a significant, lasting impact on me (among countless others), dating back to the late 1980s.

And not only did we get to interview legendary Pixies frontman Black Franics in the Corner Lounge via phone today, but here are 2 other great recent interviews he’s done that should answer any lingering questions you may have leading into his solo show at The Southern tomorrow night (2/19)!

Cornell Daily Sun – Inside the Mind of Black Francis

Blog Talk Radio – an hour-long session w/ Black Francis

Every Weekday at 6pm, we do a request hour with a different theme, started by the New Song of the Day.  Here’s what actually got played among the requests tonight…

Workday Wrap Up 2/18/13 (X theme)

Phoenix – Entertainment

INXS – Don’t Change

Sex Pistols – God Save the Queen


XTC – Making Plans for Nigel

B.T. Express – Do It Till You’re Satisfied

Tift Merritt – Mixtape

Jamie Cullum – Mixtape

The Police – Next To You

X-Ray Spex – The Day The World Turned Day-Glo

Rolling Stones – No Expectations


Warren Zevon – Excitable Boy

Berlin – Sex (I’m a…)

ZZ Top – Heard It On the X


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