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Pixies’ Black Francis Talks New Album Doggerel, Why The Velvet Underground and Grateful Dead Are Similar, and Much More

"This is how the Pixies put together music … the main metaphor that we use is a sandwich, and it’s how you stack the sandwich."

Pixies Black Francis Interview 2022
Pixies, photo by Tom Oxley

    Pixies are back with their eighth album, Doggerel, which finds the legendary alt-rock band exploring new sonic landscapes. With the album set for release on Friday (September 30th), Consequence caught up with frontman Black Francis to discuss the LP and more.

    Doggerel was recorded during the pandemic, with Francis having written 40 new songs heading into the sessions. The album also features the first writing credits from guitarist Joey Santiago, who co-penned the music for the single “Dregs of the Wine” as well as a few lyrics for the title track.

    With Doggerel, Pixies have now released as many albums (four) in their current era as they did in their initial run from the late ’80s to the early ’90s, during which they released four classic LPs in four years — including 1989’s Doolittle, which landed in Consequence‘s recently refreshed list of the 100 Greatest Albums of All Time.

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    Pixies are playing a handful of US shows surrounding the new album’s release, beginning with an October 1st gig in San Diego and wrapping up with an October 5th show in New York City, with tickets available via Ticketmaster.

    In our conversation with Black Francis, he spoke about how the pandemic affected the writing and recording of Doggerel, dug into a few of the new songs, explained why The Velvet Underground and The Grateful Dead are actually similar, and discussed the band’s prolific musical output over the past decade, among other topics.

    Pick up the new Pixies album, Doggerel, here, and read our interview with Black Francis below.


    How much was the writing and recording of Doggerel affected by the pandemic and the socio-political events of the past few years?

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    Black Francis: Well, the best way to make some sort of commentary on the present, on where you are in time, is sort of in the now. I tend to not like to do that. But I think if you keep the lyric sort of open-ended enough it’s almost like you don’t have to. There’s a song from this record called “Thunder and Lightning,” it’s a very minimal lyric, but one of the lines is something like, “They started a war today in another land/ Everything went the way that it all was planned,” right? Now, I compose that song, probably in the period of like December of last year, right? So that was done in December. Now, there had been no military activity that would have been on my radar in that part of the world you know, that I would have been following. I mean, I follow international news quite a bit. But, basically, I wasn’t sitting around going like, “Oh, my God … the Russians are gonna invade Ukraine.” I wasn’t thinking about that, but then by the time the record got recorded, and mixed or whatever, of course, that was the big news story, right? So it’s almost like I wrote it for the moment but I didn’t write it for the moment. I wrote it for some other kind of moment, maybe. But I kept it open-ended so that it wasn’t locked down into the calendar. Some elements of universality, I guess, is what I’m referring to.

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