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First Person

The Experience Questionnaire: Charles Thompson

Charles Thompson (a.k.a. Black Francis and Frank Black) is a performing artist and the lead singer of the Pixies.

Where do you come up with your best ideas? 
I’m not sure that it’s so location oriented, but sometimes during a creative streak I take a lot of baths.

What is the best non-material gift you’ve received?

What is the best non-material gift you’ve given?

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced?
Oh, man. Well, moving away from the darker categories, packing up a house of wife and five kids was pretty intense the first time, piece of cake the next time.

If you had to choose a different profession, what would you do?
A painter, oil

I suddenly decided it was too intense to meet a Beatle so I walked the other way; I fully regret that decision.

What is the most useful mistake you’ve made? 
Oh every record I’ve made probably has at least a dozen. I suppose the realization that mistakes are part of the creative process is a pretty useful thing that happens when you have a mistake. It never ceases to impress me. 

What’s the strangest experience you’ve had?
Silent slo-mo silver rocket UFO above the yard; my brother and I were at play; we were young; we never discussed it for years but when we did as adults the memory was all there in shocking detail.

What opportunity do you regret passing up?
Going to a backstage party that Ringo was supposed to be at; I suddenly decided it was too intense to meet a Beatle so I walked the other way; I fully regret that decision. 

How do you relax?
Painting mostly, oil

If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you go?
Paris, of course; I can get to anywhere else in France from there easily enough.

What is your most indelible childhood memory?
Getting a perfumed letter from a Pitsy Trachtenburg in the 6th grade after I had moved away.

Describe a perfect day.
Sex, coffee, pot, painting, wine, sex, more pot maybe? Richard Harris film to send me off to Nod.

When you’re stuck how do you get unstuck?
Oh, Jesus Mary N Joseph. Ain’t that the million dollar question? So far only time works. And painting, oil. 

What is your proudest moment?
Probably performing at the Hollywood Bowl; When I was a kid I often listened to the Beatles live at the Hollywood Bowl. I think we sold it out, too. 

What would you like to experience before you die? 
Shark cage sounds pretty good.

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