Though foundational indie rock heroes Pixies have seemingly been doing everything in their power of late to alienate long-term fans – parting ways with iconic, indispensable bassist Kim Deal in a Welsh branch of Caffè Nero, finding a somewhat agreeable replacement in The Muffs’ Kim Shattuck only to drop her unceremoniously after a couple of months, releasing their first new material in 22 years only for it to turn out pretty depressingly bad – acolytes of their still untouchable brand of weirdo sci-fi surf-rock pop-candy assault may perk up at the news that frontman Black Francis is working on a graphic novel that sounds very him.
Francis – also known variously as Frank Black and, when he isn’t yelping about sons of incestuous union or being molested in parking lots, by his birth name, Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV – is co-authoring The Good Inn with Josh Frank, who himself previously worked on the 2008 Pixies oral history Fool the World. Illustrations come courtesy of Steven Appleby, the artist behind The Guardian’s Loomus strip.
The book has been acquired for publication in the UK and Commonwealth in May 2014 by SelfMadeHero, which describes it as ‘a fantastical piece of illustrated fiction based on a yet-to-be-written soundtrack to a movie that doesn’t yet exist’ about a teenager named Soldier Boy who survives an explosion in Toulon and subsequently travels across France. As he does so, ‘navigating past homicidal gypsies, combative soldiers and porn-peddling peasants, he takes refuge in a secluded inn, where he finds himself centre stage in the making of the world’s first narrative pornographic film’. If you’re playing along, that’s house in Black Francis bingo.
Black Francis guided Pixies through four seminal LPs and one mini-album between 1987 and 1991, before embarking on a prolific solo career as Frank Black, on occasion with backing band The Catholics, after they initially split. Since reuniting in 2004, the band has rarely taken a break from touring, but until recently has stuck exclusively to performing the classic material that won it the ardour of several generations of indie kids. The Good Inn is his first book.
He was chief hack and music editor of webzine Brazen from 2006 to 2010, and hosted Left of the Dial on Subcity Radio from 2008 to 2011.
He can be heard semi-regularly on the podcast of Scottish cultural blog Scots Whay Hae ('20th best website in Scotland!' - The List), and in 2011 founded Seen Your Video, a film and music podcast and blog based in Glasgow. He has a Masters degree in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow that will never have any practical application. You are on a hiding to nothing if you follow him on Twitter expecting any kind of hot publishing scoop.