David Byrne On Potential Talking Heads Reunion & Setlist For Upcoming Tour
Photo by Jody Rogac
Written by Scott Bernstein
Outside of perhaps Led Zeppelin coming together, a Talking Heads reunion might be the biggest possible live music draw right now. It’s not hard to imagine festival organizers throwing ridiculous sums of money at David Byrne, Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth and Jerry Harrison to play a 90-minute set at their event. Plus, unlike Zeppelin, all of the original members are alive (though if we get into the extended lineup Bernie Worrell and Busta Jones have passed). However, David Byrne just isn’t into it right now, though he will revisit TH material on his upcoming tour.
Byrne, who will embark on his first solo tour since 2009, next month and will be a fixture on the 2018 festival scene, recently spoke with Brian Hiatt of Rolling Stone for a feature. With the vocalist stepping into the spotlight in a big way in 2018, expect many interviewers to ask David about a potential Talking Heads reunion. Hiatt didn’t disappoint.
Hiatt asked David Byrne about the reasoning against a Talking Heads reunion under the guise of a quote the vocalist once gave about a reunion overshadowing his solo career. Here’s how David Byrne responded:
There’s a lot to that. I see what happens with other people when they do their reunions – and then it turns into a second reunion and a third reunion. With someone like the Pixies, it’s different – they’re getting the audience now that they deserved ages ago. But with a lot of them, it just seems like you don’t have anything new to say, and you go, “OK, this is just some kind of nostalgia exercise.” And I’m not interested in that.
While David Byrne is avoiding the “nostalgia exercise” many music fans are yearning for, he will revisit Talking Heads material as part of his tour. Byrne told Hiatt attendees of his performances should expect a “career-spanning setlist” that will feature “updated versions of his Eighties work.” Yet, the interpretations won’t be straight-forward:
“We have six drummers and percussionists,” says Byrne, 65, who envisions a stage full of musicians in constant, choreographed motion, expanding a concept he and St. Vincent used for the horn section on their joint 2012 tour. “The human beings become the set.”
David Byrne has been hard at work with longtime collaborator Brian Eno on an album entitled American Utopia. Look for the LP to hit stores in March and to make up some of David Byrne 2018 setlists. The tour begins on March 3 at the Count Basie in Red Bank, New Jersey.
Watch Talking Heads’ last performance, 15 years ago, at the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony on March 18, 2002 at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City: