On September 13, Boston alt-rockers the Pixies will release their seventh full-length studio album, Beneath the Eyrie, the third since the 2000s reunion and since bassist Paz Lenchantin joined the ranks replacing Kim Deal. This weekend, they’re second on the bill to headliners The Cure at Pasadena Daydream, so we chatted with frontman Black Francis…
L.A. WEEKLY: We’re a couple of weeks from the release of Beneath the Eyrie — are you excited to get the record out?
BLACK FRANCIS: I guess so. I’m excited to start making the next record the day we finish whatever record we’re working on. It’s like, ‘That’s done — when do we get to do this again because that was fun.’ Obviously I want people to like it or whatever, but at some point it’s like, ‘We made another record and I hope you like it.’ Whatever — I don’t think about it that much.
Does it at least change the dynamic of the show when people know the songs?
Oh yeah, completely. It takes people about two years after release with our audience in general for everyone to know what we’re playing. Until that time is up, it’s kind of a newbie. Sometimes the newbies go down really well, sometimes they don’t. You never know which one it’s gonna be. It’s never the one you think it’s gonna be. I guess it keeps you a little bit cussed on earnestness, I guess. You’re having to sell it, and prove to people, ‘Look, I’ve got this new song and it’s worthwhile — it’s just as good as that damn ‘Where is my Mind’ song, and we’re gonna play it and we worked hard on it.’ It keeps you a little bit humble. It doesn’t matter how hard you worked on it — if it doesn’t resonate with people, it doesn’t resonate with people. I’ve certainly experienced that plenty of times.
Is the band still evolving — this is the third with Paz [Lenchantin] playing bass?
I suppose so but I don’t know that the growth of a band necessarily goes in a particular way. There’s no correct way to grow. I don’t even know if you’re supposed to grow. You’re just supposed to ‘be.’ I guess we’re always growing — there are subtle changes. It’s never anything dramatic with us. At least that’s the way it feels to me.
Your vocals with Paz really landed this time, from the opening track…
Yeah, well we’ve had five or six years of singing together to practice, and we’re better at being aware of the other person. So we are better at it for sure.
Is there a theme to this album?
There’s this idea or notion of the Gothic. More from a literary point of view. Edgar Allan Poe, spooky, Ichabod Crane — some sort of what I would call Gothic. It’s all to do with a custom guitar I treated myself to as a birthday present a few years ago. It incorporated the first adult tooth I ever had removed. I saved the tooth and I bleached it out so it looked good. I gave it to the guy and asked for a black, four-string guitar with the tooth in it. Then I was talking to the producer Tom [Dalgety] about this guitar, and when I was talking about goth musically to him it was about space, black and white, or something — whatever that means. I said that maybe this vampire Gothic guitar will lead to Gothic songs in the next batch. That was the extent of the conversation other than confirmation if the ‘Gothic thing’ came up. We let it be. All we needed was that little suggestion. As a result, the record does have some kind of Gothic vibe to it.
It would make sense then, that you’re on this bill with The Cure. Are you a fan?
Yeah, and certainly they’re one of those bands form England from the ‘80s that probably influenced the Pixies sound a lot. We don’t sound like The Cure or we don’t sound like other gothy bands. I know The Cure are considered the kings of goth but they’re more than that. But the openness and darkness, certain kinds of feel and grooves. I think we’ve heard a lot of that kind of stuff when we were hanging out after practice at a club.
What can we expect from your set?
I don’t know. We’re rehearsing on Thursday or Friday. We’re gonna play a bunch of songs. We basically just go into a rehearsal space before a tour for a day or two and then play a bunch of songs. The stuff that’s feeling the more legit in a particular moment, that’s what we play. We take a very practical approach.
For all information, go to pasadenadaydream.com.