Crooner Russell influenced Pixies

Pixies frontman Black Francis says crooner Leon Russell is the biggest influence on his singing style.

Francis – AKA Frank Black – is known for his impressive screams, but it is Russell’s “free and loose” style that shapes his voice for the most part.

And Francis adds that he discovered Russell’s self-titled 1970 album after playing for his high school baseball team – despite hating sports.

Francis tells the Guardian: “As a teenager in the late 70s I wasn’t really interested in contemporary pop music or punk-rock, I was listening to stuff from 10 years earlier. This was a big record for me. Sometimes when I’m singing, I realise there’s a certain kind of vocalising I do that takes its cue from Leon Russell.

“He sang in a southern accent but it was very blown-out and exaggerated, very free and loose. I got this record as a gift for playing in the baseball team at junior high. I loathed sports but there weren’t enough people to complete the team. So the coach said, ‘Have as many records as you want, just please be on the baseball team.’ I was like, ‘All right I’ll do it’.”

Russell was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2011.

The Pixies released their fifth album Indie Cindy in April.

Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.