Outside there’s a boxcar waiting :: VOTD

Here Comes Your Man :: Pixies
from the album, Doolittle

About the song

Here Comes Your Man is a Pixies song, written and sung by the band’s front-man Black Francis. Produced by Gil Norton, it was released as the second single from the group’s second album Doolittle in June of 1989.

Written by Black Francis as a teenager, Here Comes Your Man was recorded for the band’s 1987 demo tape, but not included on either previous album, Come On Pilgrim or Surfer Rosa, as the songwriter was reluctant about releasing the song.

Critics deemed Here Comes Your Man as the Pixies’ breakthrough song; Jon Dolan of Spin magazine commented that it was “the most accessible song ever by an underground-type band.”

That “accessibility” was part of the reason Francis did not want the song on any of the albums in the first place. Producer Gary Smith recalls, “There was some reluctance to do ‘Here Comes Your Man’ because it was too pop, there was something too straight about it.”

The song reached # 3 on the U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.

Lyrically speaking, Francis commented to NME on the meaning of the song:

It’s about winos and hobos traveling on the trains, who die in the California Earthquake. Before earthquakes, everything gets very calm – animals stop talking and birds stop chirping and there’s no wind. It’s very ominous. 

I’ve been through a few earthquakes, actually, ’cause I grew up in California. I was only in one big one, in 1971. I was very young and I slept through it. I’ve been awake through lots of small ones at school and at home. It’s very exciting actually – a very comical thing. It’s like the earth is shaking, and what can you do? Nothing.”

Keeping in the spirit of the mimed performance, Francis and Deal open and shut their mouths in time with their prerecorded vocals, yet make no attempt to articulate their lips in synch with the words that they are supposed to be singing. Instead, they simply keep their mouths wide open with blank expressions for the duration of each verse. Francis stated that “Water on the brain” was the theme of the clip.The music video (see above) was co-directed by Neil Pollock and Jonathan Bekemeier. The video shows the band playing its instruments through a distorted fish-eye lens, the camera variously panning horizontally across the performance space and vertically over the individual band members.


My thoughts:

I picked up a cassette copy of Doolittle one late Summer afternoon at Tower Records in Hollywood. I bought it with an early Cure album and Jane’s Addiction’s Nothing’s Shocking. At the time Doolittle was the infrequently played of the bunch, often living in the backseat floor of my car with a couple of other misplaced tapes, an empty Marlboro lights pack, and a stray red lipstick. It wasn’t until I met the boy I would move out of my childhood home with that I would start paying attention to the album, and to the Pixies.

He and his friends were different than I was. Many of them were university kids from two-parent families with money. They were listening to bands like the Pixies and Throwing Muses and artists like Robyn Hitchcock, while I was hanging out in clubs in Hollywood and Downtown LA, dying my hair various shades of black, and falling madly in love with The Cure and Cocteau Twins and Siouxsie and the Banshees and Jane’s Addiction. I felt out of place in some ways, but in other ways I felt like I was living a different life. My gypsy nature had yet taken me out of my home state, but I still liked to change my surroundings in terms of people and style.

There was this bar we all would meet up at, a bar down the street from the community college I was going to. It had a killer jukebox inside and this album was in it. I would often play this song, and Gouge Away, when we went there. This was the bar I learned to play pool in, and the bar where we would first decide to move in together in.

The video itself is so 90’s to me (even if this song came out in ’89). The way it is shot, the faux sky background, the clothes. I sort of wish I had Kim Deal’s orange shirt from this video – it would go great with my Converse that are the same color.


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