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Cameron H.

Musical Mondays Week 98 Stop Making Sense

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David Byrne is great but he gets too much credit in my mind. A lot of the songs on Fear Of Music and Remain In Light and Naked (and maybe others) came out of jams the band had. The music was organically a creation of the four of them together. Byrne might have pushed them in a direction occasionally but you could put that on Brian Eno as well. If Talking Heads broke up after More Songs About Buildings And Food, I think it could have been called Byrne's band. I don't think you could do that after Fear Of Music though.

I think the True Stories soundtrack is easily Talking Heads worst album and I don't think it's a coincidence it's the one that is the most solo David Byrne.

Basically, I think David Byrne is the Lennon and McCartney of Talking Heads. You can't have The Beatles without all four of their contributions. Same with Talking Heads. 

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For a guy who was very controlling and, you know, a weirdo (I love him that way), David Byrne has had some amazing collaborations outside of Talking Heads.

 

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7 hours ago, Cam Bert said:

There are some directors that I really like like Wes Anderson and David Lynch that share I lot in common with David Byrne. There are lots of little odd choices in movement or wardrobe or set, that on the surface just read as weird or random. Yet everything, and I do believe everything, was painstakingly thought over by David Byrne. Some might have greater meaning and some may be just things that tickled him, but everything is deliberate. I think that's what separates him and those directors from a lot of other people that try to ape that style or a Tom Jane who decides he just needs to smoke a pipe.

The movie Byrne directed, True Stories, definitely shares a lot of sensibility with Lynch and Anderson.

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1 hour ago, Quasar Sniffer said:

For a guy who was very controlling and, you know, a weirdo (I love him that way), David Byrne has had some amazing collaborations outside of Talking Heads.

 

I really love My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts with Brian Eno and David Byrne. Even after knowing all the Talking Heads albums and several Brian Eno albums, it was an album that felt really, really offputtingly weird the first time I heard it.

St. Vincent is also really great without David Byrne if you haven't listen to her. 

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5 hours ago, theworstbuddhist said:

Yeah, if you ever heard Tom Tom Club or Casual Gods, it becomes apparent pretty quickly who was the driving genius behind Talking Heads. Not that the other musicians were bad by any means, but.

I love Casual Gods

HUGE St. Vincent fan too. (You can see me in the crowd shot on her MassEducation album liner notes (the piano version of Masseduction).) She's a modern Bowie imo.

I went to the St. Vincent/Byrne tour and it was really fun. Maybe not spontaneous enough for my liking, it was highly choreographed and robotic. But when they broke into a couple of Talking Heads songs at the end, it was a revelation. Esp for those of us who never saw TH live. I went to a Byrne solo gig once ages ago too and I don't think he played any!

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59 minutes ago, AlmostAGhost said:

I love Casual Gods

HUGE St. Vincent fan too. (You can see me in the crowd shot on her MassEducation album liner notes (the piano version of Masseduction).) She's a modern Bowie imo.

I went to the St. Vincent/Byrne tour and it was really fun. Maybe not spontaneous enough for my liking, it was highly choreographed and robotic. But when they broke into a couple of Talking Heads songs at the end, it was a revelation. Esp for those of us who never saw TH live. I went to a Byrne solo gig once ages ago too and I don't think he played any!

I saw St. Vincent on the masseduction tour and thought it was kind of a lame show. It felt very stiff. She was on stage by herself the entire show with everything except her guitar and vocals prerecorded. She barely moved other than every few songs she went to a new pose and just stayed there. There was a screen showing some cool visuals but ehhh. I might as well have just listened to the album or watched a video.

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1 minute ago, grudlian. said:

I saw St. Vincent on the masseduction tour and thought it was kind of a lame show. It felt very stiff. She was on stage by herself the entire show with everything except her guitar and vocals prerecorded. She barely moved other than every few songs she went to a new pose and just stayed there. There was a screen showing some cool visuals but ehhh. I might as well have just listened to the album or watched a video.

Yea, I saw one of those. She went through three phases of the Masseduction tour.

First was by herself on guitar and a taped backing, playing the album straight through; it was pointless and I don't know why she went that way. But then later in the same year, she went back around with a band and played it like a real dynamic rock show. That was much more satisfying, of course. Thrilling stuff, even. That first part was just a short phase is my only real defense of it. As best I can tell, she was just using it to introduce people to her new album and less of a performance? Fans don't need that.  

(After that, she did the short run doing the album as a piano/lounge act; surprisingly effective and awesome.)

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Anyway, I obviously haven't seen everything, but thus far I think this is the best concert film ever made.

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1 hour ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Yea, I saw one of those. She went through three phases of the Masseduction tour.

First was by herself on guitar and a taped backing, playing the album straight through; it was pointless and I don't know why she went that way. But then later in the same year, she went back around with a band and played it like a real dynamic rock show. That was much more satisfying, of course. Thrilling stuff, even. That first part was just a short phase is my only real defense of it. As best I can tell, she was just using it to introduce people to her new album and less of a performance? Fans don't need that.  

(After that, she did the short run doing the album as a piano/lounge act; surprisingly effective and awesome.)

Yeah. This is the leg of the tour I saw. She did a few songs from other albums before and after the straight run through of Masseduction. It might have been cool had I not already owned the album and listened to it many times. Tickets were relatively cheap as I recall but still kind of like why?

This is the kind of show an artist should do leading up to an album release. Go to a few cities. Limit the phones so people can't record it. Then let people sell it through social media. Tickets went on sale before the album came out. So, everyone there is already a fan. Don't you think most of us would have at least listened to part of it?

I'm kind of harping on about it but it wasn't a bad show. It just left me feeling disappointed since I was expecting something more interesting from St. Vincent. I saw Janelle Monet a few months later I think and her tickets were more expensive, but everyone got a free download of the album. Seems like a better option to me if you're just trying to get the word out.

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1 hour ago, grudlian. said:

Yeah. This is the leg of the tour I saw. She did a few songs from other albums before and after the straight run through of Masseduction. It might have been cool had I not already owned the album and listened to it many times. Tickets were relatively cheap as I recall but still kind of like why?

This is the kind of show an artist should do leading up to an album release. Go to a few cities. Limit the phones so people can't record it. Then let people sell it through social media. Tickets went on sale before the album came out. So, everyone there is already a fan. Don't you think most of us would have at least listened to part of it?

I'm kind of harping on about it but it wasn't a bad show. It just left me feeling disappointed since I was expecting something more interesting from St. Vincent. I saw Janelle Monet a few months later I think and her tickets were more expensive, but everyone got a free download of the album. Seems like a better option to me if you're just trying to get the word out.

Yea. I saw each phase, and that first left me baffled too. I think when I went, it was before the album was released, so maybe slightly more interesting than your show, but still kind of strange. She's better when she lets loose though (part of what I didn't like about the Byrne tour she did).

The first time I saw her about 10 years ago, was in a small packed tent and she like crowd-surfed and tore the whole place up. It was unbelievable and totally punk. She's outgrown that now, but I'm a fan now forever. I also think she's the best guitarist going today.

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I have watched this in parts several times this week, and realized several things.

1) I was wrong in commenting on the audience.  I see and hear enough to know they are there but I do love the focus on the band.

2) Intermission happens after "Life During Wartime" (During wartime we all jog together!)  I finally noticed that pretty much everyone changes outfits, not just Tina Weymouth.  Not sure why that wasn't obvious to me before to me.

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3) It's after the intermission that the movie loses the energy for me.  In the first part it was raw energy, a band having fun. Once the video screens started flashing random words, then they turn out the lights and put a lamp on the stage, I started to tune out.  The backup singer/dancers disappeared for a bit.  For me they were a large part of the fun, interacting with the band.

 

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Here's a Rolling Stone article with Chris Frantz from 2014.

rs-162630-142765984.jpg?resize=1800,1200

 

Quote

When did the idea that the band would be introduced individually come about?
That was all decided on before the tour began. It’s a little bit of a revision of what really happened in real life. I think what David would like to convey is that it began with David Byrne and then he invited Tina to join the band and then he invited Chris and then he invited Jerry and then he invited Steve Scales and so on, but it wasn’t like that. What really happened was Tina, David and I moved to New York with the idea that we might start a band. I convinced David that it was a good idea. I asked Tina to join the band. I asked Jerry Harrison to join the band. So it’s a little bit of a revision, but it works really well as a narrative for the movie.

 

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One last quote from that article. Shade was thrown.

Quote

Did it ever surprise you when David came over to the drum riser during “Life During Wartime?”
I’m just amazed he didn’t ever fall. He was moving around a lot, you know. He’s quite a remarkable performer or at least he was then.

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27 minutes ago, Cinco DeNio said:

One last quote from that article. Shade was thrown.

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So I've been thinking more about this film, especially in light of the "Talking Heads To My Talking Heads" podcast. In the podcast, Scott and Scott do talk about how a lot of the songs on Fear Of Music were written in a jam session with the band and Brian Eno, and here, we've discussed about whether or not David Byrne was the driving force in the band or whether those jam sessions were where the magic came about. My take on it is, especially in light of the different versions of events created by distance and memory, is that... maybe it's both? 

U2 have written a lot of their songs, even entire albums, in similar jam sessions, but retained the "all songs written by U2" practice in all credit and publishing, which has undoubtedly helped them stay together as a band for over four decades. Talking Heads jam sessions were, I'm sure, incredibly collaborative, but I don't know what would have happened if David Byrne wasn't there. From his perspective, it probably does seem like he was the main songwriter contributor, while everyone else felt like it was equal contribution from the band members... which is why that U2 strategy is such a good idea in the long term. And honestly, I do think he was the unquestionable musical genius of the band, and that might have made him difficult to deal with personally, especially because he seems like he was on the autism spectrum at a time when that wasn't understood nearly as well as it is now. 

So even if everyone was present for the songwriting and jam sessions, it was David Byrne who enabled those amazing songs to come out. Sometimes when you are throwing in all these different ingredients together, you need an emulsifier to make things come together in a final way, to be cohesive. It seems like he was that ingredient, and without him, it Just wouldn't have worked. Obviously, it would be different if any ingredient was left out, and it would have been nice if he was more generous in giving songwriting credit (or not done straight up dick move things like telling a reporter the band had broken up before he'd actually told the band), but I think Talking Heads owe their magic to David Byrne.

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23 minutes ago, tomspanks said:

giphy.gif

 

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MECHASHIVA! MECHASHIVA!

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17 hours ago, Quasar Sniffer said:

So I've been thinking more about this film, especially in light of the "Talking Heads To My Talking Heads" podcast. In the podcast, Scott and Scott do talk about how a lot of the songs on Fear Of Music were written in a jam session with the band and Brian Eno, and here, we've discussed about whether or not David Byrne was the driving force in the band or whether those jam sessions were where the magic came about. My take on it is, especially in light of the different versions of events created by distance and memory, is that... maybe it's both? 

U2 have written a lot of their songs, even entire albums, in similar jam sessions, but retained the "all songs written by U2" practice in all credit and publishing, which has undoubtedly helped them stay together as a band for over four decades. Talking Heads jam sessions were, I'm sure, incredibly collaborative, but I don't know what would have happened if David Byrne wasn't there. From his perspective, it probably does seem like he was the main songwriter contributor, while everyone else felt like it was equal contribution from the band members... which is why that U2 strategy is such a good idea in the long term. And honestly, I do think he was the unquestionable musical genius of the band, and that might have made him difficult to deal with personally, especially because he seems like he was on the autism spectrum at a time when that wasn't understood nearly as well as it is now. 

So even if everyone was present for the songwriting and jam sessions, it was David Byrne who enabled those amazing songs to come out. Sometimes when you are throwing in all these different ingredients together, you need an emulsifier to make things come together in a final way, to be cohesive. It seems like he was that ingredient, and without him, it Just wouldn't have worked. Obviously, it would be different if any ingredient was left out, and it would have been nice if he was more generous in giving songwriting credit (or not done straight up dick move things like telling a reporter the band had broken up before he'd actually told the band), but I think Talking Heads owe their magic to David Byrne.

tl;dr Without David Byrne you get the Tom Tom Club.

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