David Byrne Reloaded
As a kid who grew up with her retina glued to the TV screen, my favorite TV channels were Cartoon Network, MTV (back when the British version ran in Romania), and VH1 Europe. The last one was a very useful source for finding out about not-so-mainstream artists, whose music was worth discovering.
Talking Heads were just that kind of band, forming a colorful blend of unexpected artistic forms of expression. At first, there was the fascination with the creative sound and innovative visual experience, but then, when I found out more about them, there was the curiosity why they disappeared so quickly… According to Wikipedia, the band was created by David Byrne and Chris Frantz; Tina Weymouth, Frantz’s then girlfriend, joined the duo in 1975, as they encouraged her to learn how to play bass, because they could not find a bass player. The band’s first name was “The Artistics ” (quite an accurate choice, considering the mark that they left on the music and video industry), a name which only lasted between 1974 and 1975. The three band members had all majored in design, thus coming from a creative background, which reflected in their eclectic approach to music: they combined punk, rock, funk, avant-garde, pop music, art rock and world music. Their second album was produced by the legendary Brian Eno, according to the same source, and the most famous song from that period is “Once in a Lifetime”. Post-Eno came “Burning Down the House”, “Road to Nowhere”. The band broke up in 1991, but most notably reunited in 2002, with the occasion of their induction into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame. However, the three’s artistic differences will not probably ever allow them to collaborate again, according to Byrne, at least not in the Talking Heads context.
While listening to Guerilla Radio , I was surprised to recognize David Byrne’s voice on this track:
… which is a collaboration between David Byrne, Fatboy Slim (who goes by the alias BPA – Brighton Port Authority) and British Rapper Dizzee Rascal, dating since 2008. David Byrne and Fatboy Slim are also working together on an opera entitled “Here Lies Love” about Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines, a project which might feature artists such as Tori Amos, Cyndi Lauper, Florence from Florence and the Machine, Roisin Murphy or Santigold (source: here).
Reading further about Byrne on Wikipedia, I found out that he was fascinated with music, and art in general, from a very early age: “before high school, David Byrne already knew how to play the guitar, accordion, and violin. He was rejected from his middle school’s choir because they claimed he was “off-key and too withdrawn”.” Bob Dylan is however the best example that one doesn’t need an opera voice in order to achieve musical greatness… All in all, David Byrne is a fascinating artistic figure who has definitely left a mark on music globally, is and will continue to do so…