Crooner Russell influenced Pixies

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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.