This has been rumored to be about a drug deal, but in an interview with New Musical Express, Frank Black said the song was about hobos traveling by train and dying in a big earthquake in California. He started writing it when he was about 15 and was inspired by small earthquakes experienced growing up in California.
With much more pop appeal than most Pixes efforts, this became their most popular song, getting lots of airplay on college radio stations. The Pixies never seemed too concerned about popularity, however, and didn't bother promoting the song as a hit single.
The Pixies included this song on their first demo when they set out to get a record deal. Once they were signed, Frank Black had no intention of recording the song, and didn't until their third album, Doolittle. "People have been telling us to record it ever since so we finally did," he said.
This became a concert favorite for the Pixies after they reunited in 2004 (they broke up in 1993), but when it first came out, Frank Black had no intention of playing it. "The poppiest song on Doolittle, which we couldn't even play live if we tried, is 'Here Comes Your Man,'" he told The Catalogue in 1989. "We would never play that song live; we're too far removed from it. It's too wimpy-poppy."
Joey Santiago played a 12-string Rickenbacker to get the jangly guitar sound on this track.