David Byrne

  • Date Nov 19, 1984
  • Total Length 41:24
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Liner Notes

David Byrne is nothing else if not eclectic. With a career spanning music, film, dance, photography, graphic art, and just about anything else you can think of, he seems to make a living by keeping everyone on their toes. And this seems to be exactly what happens to Lisa Robinson, who doesn't always seem to know what to make of Byrne in this 1984 interview.

Recorded in support of the Stop Making Sense film and album, Byrne came prepared with a list of questions for Robinson to ask him. They spend a lot of time talking about the making of the movie, and since Byrne was in charge of, or at least involved in, almost every aspect of the film, this is a must-listen for Talking Heads fans. The two also spend a good deal of time covering Byrne's upcoming movie, 1986's True Stories, which was in its infancy when this conversation was recorded.

The line between performance art and reality may often be blurred when it comes to David Byrne, and this interview is drawn fuzzily indeed. However, with his lack of pretentiousness, it is an enjoyable listen either way you spin it.

00:00 - Giving questions instead of answers
01:04 - Problems on tour with lighting
02:23 - Not performing in the movie
02:43 - Trying to get the singers to be jerkier
03:34 - Different song orders on album and in the movie
04:05 - When music and videos don't mix
06:03 - A list of the last few records he purchased
06:32 - Surviving the 1970's New York punk scene
08:37 - Not having to deal with sudden success
09:40 - Not playing in Madison Square Garden
10:27 - Origin of the film title
11:04 - Creating a framework for spontaneity
12:04 - Not fitting on stage / fibbing promoters / temper tantrums
13:34 - The show evolving into a movie
14:27 - How the film was edited
15:04 - Designing the show / choosing outfits
16:13 - Maintaining control without being tyrannical
17:35 - The Big Suit
20:07 - Working in L.A. / directing
20:40 - What True Stories is about / making a movie
22:08 - Starring in a film vs. starring in music
23:28 - Putting the band's career in perspective through a live album
24:12 - Cause of the original awkward stage demeanor / still feeling terrified
25:56 - Projecting more confidence
26:54 - Origin of the odd movements on stage
28:03 - The history of the Talking Heads
28:29 - Writing songs for the next album (soundtrack) / different genres
29:59 - Writing songs from different points of view
32:16 - Expectations for Stop Making Sense
32:58 - Difference between the two Talking Heads live albums
33:31 - Working again with the just the four band members
33:53 - What's coming up next
35:16 - The possibility of never performing live again
37:20 - The Talking Heads being a big band / being assimilated into culture
38:30 - Adjusting with growth
39:32 - Being nervous about not wanting to settle down
40:35 - The source of craziness / not actually nuts