In the 1980s, Reid Paley led the Pittsburgh-based band The Five; the group later moved to Boston. He's now on a short tour with Black Francis, of The Pixies, with whom he's collaborated in the past as Paley and Francis. A longer version of this interview appears on FFW>>, our music blog.
Did you meet Black Francis way back when you were in Boston?
In the Boston music scene, [The Five] did pretty well. We were weekend headliners. And at one point somebody put this band I'd never heard of on a bill. And I walked in and there he was, and that was how we met. That was The Pixies. And I watched them and said, "Hey, this is a really fucking good band!"
It worked out for them.
Yeah, and it's great — it's a rare thing when something good and something smart gets recognized.
A lot of critics refer to you as underappreciated. Why do you think that is?
I think my life would be a hell of a lot easier if I just put on a cowboy hat and decided I was a country-western guy, or dressed "x" way and became "x." If you go to any town, there are a bunch of hardcore kids with shaved heads who dance in a circle, and if you're a psychedelic band, you go to any town and there's a certain amount of vaguely effeminate guys with paisley shirts and pointy shoes and bowl haircuts and semi-attractive girls in short dresses — you know what I mean? There's always a crowd for a genre band; I'm not a genre guy.