“I think I finally figured out my new song, ‘Los Angeles’, this morning. They got one in South Patagonia, they got another Los Angeles in Mexico, they got so many Los Angeleses. Bangkok has a Los Angeles, I read recently. I imagine there’s a lot of places in the world named City Of Angels. I wrote about a futuristic one too: ‘They got one in 2525, where it’s just like a beehive.’ I mean that kind of Los Angeles you might see in a film like Blade Runner.”
— Frank Black in VOX, Issue 30, March 1993
In 1993, after the Pixies broke up for the first time, lead singer Black Francis renamed himself Frank Black and embarked on a solo career. Los Angeles was the first single to be released off of Black’s first solo album, Frank Black. According to Black, the song was meant to take place in a futuristic version of Los Angeles, much like the one seen in Blade Runner. The first time I ever heard the song, I misheard nearly every lyric and I thought it was about a man who Black met, a good man who worked as an insurance agent. (For some reason, my mind always heard “sailing and shoring” as “selling insurance.”)
The video makes it clear that Los Angeles is meant to take place in some sort of future, with Black riding a hovercraft through the desert and looking like an extra from a Mad Max movie. I’m not sure who directed this video. Some sources hint that the video was directed by Black himself but I haven’t been able to find any definite confirmation.
After releasing two solo albums, Black went on to front Frank Black and The Catholics before reuniting with the Pixies and eventually changing his name back to Black Francis.
Black Francis’s real name? Charles Thompson IV.