Black Francis Biography

Black Francis, also known as Frank Black, is an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist. He gained fame as the frontman of the band Pixies, known for their albums such as “Surfer Rosa” and “Doolittle”. After the Pixies split, he continued his musical journey with the band Frank Black and the Catholics, releasing albums like “Teenager of the Year” and “Pistolero”. In addition to his band work, Black Francis has also released several solo albums, showcasing his diverse musical style.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV
  • Age: 58 Years, 58 Year Old Males
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Jean Black (m. ?–2003), Violet Clark (m. 2003)
    • Father: Charles Thompson III
    • Children: Jack Errol Thompson, Lucy Berlin
  • Guitarists
  • Rock Singers
  • City: Boston
  • U.S. State: Massachusetts
  • Education: University of Massachusetts Amherst

Childhood & Early Life

Black Francis, originally named Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV, was born in Boston, Massachusetts. His father was a bar owner who moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue business opportunities. After his parents separated, his mother remarried. Black Francis was introduced to music at a young age and learned to play the guitar by the age of twelve. His stepfather was religious, and they attended a church associated with the evangelical ‘Assemblies of God’. He graduated from high school in 1983 and enrolled at the ‘University of Massachusetts’, Amherst, where he studied Anthropology. It was during this time that he became friends with Joey Santiago, who introduced him to punk music.

Career and Later Life

After participating in a college exchange program in Puerto Rico, Black Francis returned to Boston and left college to join Santiago. Together, they formed the band ‘Pixies’ in 1986, along with bassist Kim Deal and drummer David Lovering. Their demo tape, ‘The Purple Tape’, helped them secure a recording contract with English record label ‘4AD’. Black Francis adopted the name ‘Black Francis’ when they released their mini-album ‘Come on Pilgrim’. He wrote and sang most of the tracks on their debut album ‘Surfer Rosa’ in 1988, with the exception of ‘Gigantic’, which was co-written and sung by Kim Deal. The band embarked on a European tour to promote the album.

Between 1990 and 1991, Pixies recorded the albums ‘Bossanova’ and ‘Trompe le Monde’, with the latter being Black Francis’ first collaboration with Eric Drew Feldman. These albums explored themes of aliens and UFOs. Starting with ‘Bossanova’, Black Francis began writing all the lyrics, which caused tension between him and Kim Deal. The tensions eventually led to the split of Pixies in 1992.

Black Francis released his first solo album, ‘Frank Black’, in 1993. He continued to use this name for subsequent releases. In 1996, he released ‘The Cult of Ray’ and formed the band ‘Frank Black and the Catholics’. They released several albums, including ‘Pistolero’ in 1999 and ‘Dog in the Sand’ in 2001.

In 2002, Black Francis released two albums, ‘Black Letter Days’ and ‘Devil’s Workshop’. The Pixies announced a reunion and embarked on a tour. Black Francis continued to release solo albums, including ‘Honeycomb’ in 2005 and ‘Fast Man Raider Man’ in 2006. He also formed the band ‘Grand Duchy’ with his wife Violet Clark and released albums under that name.

Major Works

One of Black Francis’ major works is the Pixies’ second album, ‘Doolittle’, released in 1989. It received critical acclaim and featured songs like ‘Debaser’ and ‘Monkey Gone to Heaven’. Black Francis’ second solo record, ‘Teenager of the Year’, released in 1994, is also considered a significant work. It showcased a change in style and covered a variety of topics and genres.

Personal Life & Legacy

Black Francis has been married twice. He first married Jean Black, but they later divorced. He then married Violet Clark, with whom he has three children. They reside in Hadley, Massachusetts, along with her two children from a previous relationship.


Black Francis once stated his belief that morality is innate and obvious, rather than being God-given or acquired through religion. He once staged an impromptu gig in Dublin, Ireland, and was briefly detained by the Irish police before being released.

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