Grand Duchy is the name of the brand new project featuring Black Francis and his wife Violet Clark (together they have five children). Between watching their brood and trying to live a semi-normal life at home and out on tour together, the duo put their heads together to compose songs while Francis was recording tracks for his last EP Svn Fngrs. Black Francis had the following to add regarding the Grand Duchy namesake: "We fantasized about the future, about success, as new bands do, and decided during a drive to the studio that we would take any proceeds and make a down payment on a house in Luxembourg (for some strange reason, I can't remember now - perhaps my longstanding obsession with micro states). I guess that's where the name "Grand Duchy" came from. Maybe that's where we will come from one day. Crossroads of Europe. Near to here and there, but far from Oregon. Cold, grey Oregon. I guess Luxembourg isn't exactly St. Tropez, either. But we could rule our Garage Rock Synth Chick Non-Stop Erotik Poussez-Poussez Dominion from a place like that. Just a little place on the river, in the ravine, in the trees, in the stars. Our pied-de-terre. A place to stop on our way to your European nite klub."
Only recently has Francis finished work for a silent film called Der Golem which debuted at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco earlier this year (the soundtrack of which should be available soon), and as a duo, Grand Duchy had their official coming out party with their first song released on the CD tribute Just Like Heaven (A Tribute to The Cure) which was announced by American Laundromat Records this past month (to be released on January 26th) where they covered The Cure's "A Strange Day": "The oeuvre of The Cure is, to me, the musical equivalent of the Encyclopedia Britannica--an amazing reference tool for researching the myriad ways one can approach the task of constructing a flawless, unique, hooky, synth-based pop song, over and over and over. There's the hilariously vibrant, catchy tunes, and then the gorgeous ones that haunt. It's all just so good. Anyone who tells you that Robert Smith is not a complete genius is a stick-in-the-mud." (Violet Clark)
The duo's forthcoming album track Fort Wayne, one of the many songs recorded for the new album, was leaked to the Frank Black.net forum to gage their eager fans' response to the matter. A YouTube video with a fan covering the song in question ensued, and of course, the rest is history. Grand Duchy's album was engineered by Jason Carter and Thaddeus Moore and is to be named "Petits Fours" with the official release date listed as February 16th, 2009 in the UK, Feburary 17th in the US--the full album coming out worldwide on Cooking Vinyl Records (UK).
Petits Fours Tracklisting:
1. Come On Over To My House
3. Fort Wayne
4. Seeing Stars
5. Black Suit
6. The Long Song
7. Break The Angels
...and here together, singing with Violet: