Frank Black

Inverting his stage name from Black Francis to Frank Black, the former Pixies lead singer/songwriter embarked on a solo career after he broke up the band in early 1993; actually, he began recording his solo album before he told the band the news. Working with former Pere Ubu member Eric Drew Feldman, Black occasionally heads into the ferocious post-punk guitar territory that marked such landmark albums as Surfer Rosa and Doolittle, but more frequently he plays up his considerably underrated melodic side. His self-titled 1993 debut album was an adventurous sketchbook of pop styles ranging from surf rock to heavy metal; from Beatlesque pop to new wave. Black's second album, 1994's Teenager of the Year, was a sprawling and diverse album that amplified all the best points of Frank Black. Although it received favorable reviews and had an alternative radio hit with "Headache," it slipped off the charts two weeks after its release. Black parted ways with Elektra and 4AD in early 1995, signing a new record contract with American in the U.S. and Sony in Europe. He released his first album for American and Sony, the hard-rocking The Cult of Ray, in January 1996. The Cult of Ray hardly found the wide audience Black had hoped for, selling considerably less than his two previous efforts.