"Craft is what enables you to be successful
when you're not inspired." - Brian Eno
Rolling Stone OCTOBER 16, 1980 - by James Henke
TALKING HEADS ADD SOME FUNK
When David Byrne ran offstage after Talking Heads' appearance at the Heatwave Festival near Toronto, he was ecstatic; the group's first performance as an enlarged, funk-oriented band was an overwhelming success - from the point of view of both the audience and the musicians. Though that appearance - and a subsequent Talking Heads concert in New York's Central Park - was originally intended as a sort of limited special event, the group is now trying to put together a major tour in support of its new album, Remain In Light, which is due from Sire Records on October 8th.
"As far as I'm concerned, this is the only way I'd want to do it," Byrne said of the band's revamped sound and lineup (the original four musicians plus several guest artists). "It represents a complete about-face. I've really marveled that a group can do that."
According to Byrne, the "about-face" is a result of the interest that he and producer Brian Eno share in African music and rhythms. "We wanted to develop an understanding of the African musical concept of interlocking, interdependent parts and rhythms that combine to make a coherent whole," Byrne explained. "It's completely different from playing rock songs; it's not just a band executing a tune."
The album was completed in New York, where Byrne and Eno added some instruments and worked on the musical and vocal arrangements. The LP also features guest appearances by guitarist Adrian Belew, who appeared with the band in New York and Toronto; Nona Hendryx, who sang backup vocals in Central Park; and Jon Hassell, who lends a trumpet part.
The band is scheduled to play the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles in mid-October, and a tour of the U.S. and abroad, which will include approximately twenty-five dates, is currently being worked out. The lineup of musicians for those shows has not yet been determined, though it's expected that some of the additional players who performed in Toronto and New York - including Belew, keyboardist Bernie Worrell (from Parliament-Funkadelic), bassist Busta Jones, percussionist Steven Scales and vocalist Dollette MacDonald - will be appearing. They will join current members Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth and Jerry Harrison.
Meanwhile, the release of My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts, a collaboration between Byrne and Eno, has been delayed. The record, which musically is very similar to Remain In Light, uses some vocal tracks lifted from outside sources. One of the songs originally recorded for the LP featured a sermon by the late evangelist Kathrine Kuhlman, and her estate is now refusing to grant permission for its use. "They say our use of it went against her ministry," Byrne said. "And they think her wrath would come down from heaven."