Thursday, August 31, 2006

Pixies: Sing for your supper

Play it: Black Francis - Sing For Your Supper (Pixies demos)
Cue up to play for pages 1-60 of Fool the World: The Oral History of a Band Called Pixies

I just started reading Fool the World: The Oral History of a Band Called Pixies, and have found a wealth of the back story available in Rhapsody, too much for one post, so we'll break it up in installments. This first playlist works with the first part of the book.

First is the recordings by producer Gary Smith of Charles Thompson (aka Black Francis, aka Frank Black,) intended as a sort of demo for a potential pro-bono recording at Smith's Ft. Apache Studios. Smith, who produced Throwing Muses, would often have artists come over and record into a walkman-like two-track, while he made them supper ('Sing For Your Supper.') Most of these recordings have disappeared after several moves, but Thompson's recordings live on. Smith, while with the Muses, caught a Pixies soundcheck at the legendary Rat in Boston one night, and knew he had to do something with the young band.

Smith invited Thompson over for a 'Sing For Your Supper' recording, which has since recently resurfaced on a compilation Frank Black put out. The first CD is the Gary Smith 'Sing for you Supper' recordings, and it's a fascinating inside look at the songs as Thompson heard them. While playing "Caribou," (one of the highlights of the recordings) Thompson has these illuminating asides, like "this is the one I want to sound like Husker Du" and 'supposed to be screaming" and finally, "then it's hardcore, I can't do it... you need drums." Then you hear a faint "nice" which could be Gary Smith or Thompson marveling at his own humming bird strum on the guitar. Throughout Thompson hums bass lines and Santiago leads, filling out the songs as they would sound upon recording.

Stripped down, you can better hear the Spanish influence on Thompson, who formed Pixies with Santiago after coming back from spending some time in Puerto Rico. Smith would use these recordings to convince the rest of his partners at Ft Apache to agree to the pro-bono recording, which would become first The Purple Tape, and later (and whittled down) Come on Pilgrim. (Next up: The Purple Tape)

Previously:
Frank Black Goes Nashville

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1 comment:

drake leLane said...

Black Francis - Sing For Your Supper

* "The Holiday Song" - Frank Black
* "I'm Amazed" - Frank Black
* "Rock A My Soul" - Frank Black
* "Isla De Encanta" - Frank Black
* "Caribou" - Frank Black
* "Broken Face" - Frank Black
* "Build High" - Frank Black
* "Nimrod's Son" - Frank Black
* "Ed Is Dead" - Frank Black
* "Subbacultcha" - Frank Black
* "Boom Chickaboom" - Frank Black
* "I've Been Tired" - Frank Black
* "Break My Body" - Frank Black
* "Oh My Golly" - Frank Black
* "Vamos" - Frank Black