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Also Known As: Charles Thompson (Black Francis) Died:
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Although he went under several stage names and band names, the music of Frank Black and the Pixies was always distinctive. The founder and chief songwriter of one of the most important bands in alternative music was born Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV on April 6, 1965 in Boston, Massachusetts. He started playing guitar at age 11, influenced by his stepfather's taste in religious music, as well as 1960s folk tunes. Thompson started writing songs in his last year of high school, including the eventual Pixies classic "Here Comes Your Man." Thompson then went to University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he was roommates with future Pixies guitarist Joey Santiago. Santiago turned Thompson on to 1970s punk music and David Bowie, which he had missed growing up. Thompson also became a fan of The Cars, who were at the height of their fame. Thompson soon got the itch to start a band, and realized his college years were the time to do it, so once he came back to Boston after a stint in San Juan, Puerto Rico, he dropped out and formed the Pixies in January 1986. Thompson found bassist Kim Deal through a classified ad in a Boston newspaper, and they recorded a demo in 1987 that got them signed to 4AD, the...

Although he went under several stage names and band names, the music of Frank Black and the Pixies was always distinctive. The founder and chief songwriter of one of the most important bands in alternative music was born Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV on April 6, 1965 in Boston, Massachusetts. He started playing guitar at age 11, influenced by his stepfather's taste in religious music, as well as 1960s folk tunes. Thompson started writing songs in his last year of high school, including the eventual Pixies classic "Here Comes Your Man." Thompson then went to University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he was roommates with future Pixies guitarist Joey Santiago. Santiago turned Thompson on to 1970s punk music and David Bowie, which he had missed growing up. Thompson also became a fan of The Cars, who were at the height of their fame. Thompson soon got the itch to start a band, and realized his college years were the time to do it, so once he came back to Boston after a stint in San Juan, Puerto Rico, he dropped out and formed the Pixies in January 1986. Thompson found bassist Kim Deal through a classified ad in a Boston newspaper, and they recorded a demo in 1987 that got them signed to 4AD, the prestigious British indie label which had just signed another Boston band, Throwing Muses, as their first American act. The band's first EP was entitled Come On Pilgrim (1987), for which Thompson adopted the stage name Black Francis, claiming it was the name his father had planned to give to his second child. The first full-length Pixies album, Surfer Rosa, came out to wild critical acclaim in 1988, followed by the major-label breakthrough Doolittle the following year. A hugely influential album, Doolittle helped jumpstart the alternative music scene of the early 1990s, in part by perfecting the quiet-LOUD-quiet alt-rock song structure that Nirvana and others soon copied. The Pixies proved wildly successful as alternative music was started to crossover to the mainstream, but following Bossanova in 1990 and Trompe le Monde in 1991, tensions between Thompson and Deal took their toll, and the band officially announced their breakup in 1993. When Thompson launched a solo career, he changed his stage name to Frank Black, and released the self-titled solo LP in 1993. This was followed by Teenager of the Year (1994) and The Cult of Ray (1996), after which he formed a new band, Frank Black and the Catholics. As Black's career went on, he began introducing more Pixies songs into his solo sets, which eventually led to a full-blown reunion in 2004. Although the bad blood between Thompson and Deal led to her exit from the reunited band in 2013, the Pixies released their first album in 23 years with 2014's Indie Cindy.

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Education

University of Massachusetts Amherst: -

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