Talking Heads Fans... I Need Your Help!

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Talking Heads Fans... I Need Your Help!

Postby AdamUK on December 4th, 2008, 6:07 pm

Hi, I'm a journalism student from the UK (Salford University).

I'm currently in the process of writing a feature article regarding the impact and influence of the 'Stop Making Sense' live album.

I would be keen for anyone to share their memories, experiences and thoughts about this album, particularly if you watched the band during one of these live shows, which can be used within the article!

You can either post any comments below, or if you wish to contact me personally to share your experiences etc, please email me on FairAd@aol.com. The sooner, the better.

Many thanks.

Adam

PS. Apologies if I've posted this in the wrong thread. I'm not entirely sure where the best place for this post would be!
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Re: Talking Heads Fans... I Need Your Help!

Postby francey on December 5th, 2008, 10:47 am

You only want the memories of the fans...? We've got a drummer hanging around here as well ;-)
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Re: Talking Heads Fans... I Need Your Help!

Postby Mr.DRC on December 5th, 2008, 11:00 am

francey wrote
We've got a drummer hanging around here as well


If you mean lurking around in greenery with his Other Half pretending to help Santa :xmas:

Mistletunes Ahoy!

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Re: Talking Heads Fans... I Need Your Help!

Postby Chandler on December 5th, 2008, 3:24 pm

Can’t imagine that anything I say on this subject can help with a college level paper.

I attended the Saturday, October 15, 1983 Talking Heads performance at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium (Tennessee, USA). Tickets cost $9.50 each and the venue, capacity at an estimated 10,000, was packed, by all indications “sold out.” I was 28-years-old, settled, married, educated, well-read and cultured (knowing the history of the band, CBGB’s, Sire Records, the history of rock and roll and rhythm and blues, etc.), with a comparatively sizeable album collection numbering some 2,000 titles. A younger college friend of mine accompanied my wife and me. It was my wedding gift to him (our political, philosophical and religious differences aside, we attended the David Byrne concert together in Asheville this past September 21st).

There was no opening act before Talking Heads. The performance itself was more or less like that documented in Stop Making Sense, the film… with one exception… the crowd. The Nashville audience was almost entirely Caucasian, yet I, sitting in the first tier above the floor, had never seen so many people in the groove with the funk. Every head in the venue was bopping in sync to the infectious rhythms. As much as any band in “my experience,” being a rock and roller from the Chuck Berry and the Beatles lineage with British prog a personal favorite, this period of Talking Heads forced me to accept dancing as a viable function of rock music (at the time I harbored a healthy disdain of disco music, the only function of which was to dance). This period of Talking Heads music was sophisticated enough to inspire thought and feet.

A lot of this performance was memorable, no doubt subsequently helped by the film, but I distinctly remember Byrne starting with an acoustic guitar and boombox, how unorthodox, playing “Psycho Killer,” then an amp being wheeled onstage with Tina, and the two musicians playing “Heaven,” the only song I wanted to hear that evening, surprised at its inclusion. “This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody)” was another favorite.

Stateside, the documentary received if not greater praise then greater news coverage than the album, perhaps because at the time there were fewer concert documentaries than live albums.

I purchased the album… an American promo in a white jacket (no artwork)… upon release, satisfied with the contents (although when the expanded CD edition was issued with “Heaven” I was more enthused). Ditto the documentary. While Speaking In Tongues had peaked at #15 on Billboard, Stop Making Sense only peaked at #41 (a full ten positions lower than The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads two years earlier). With rare exceptions, live albums generally sold less well than studio albums.

Yes… as Francey suggests… if you can engage Chris Frantz in conversation about specifics of the recording, of the mixes, of the song choices and the limitation of the original record length, actual sales numbers and awards from different countries… that will be your wealth of information. (See that we are online simultaneously.)

Best of luck with your paper and, by extension, with your studies…

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Re: Talking Heads Fans... I Need Your Help!

Postby Mr.DRC on December 5th, 2008, 4:44 pm

Thanx for that,Chandler. I feel as though I was in the room as it were.

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Re: Talking Heads Fans... I Need Your Help!

Postby elencherry on December 6th, 2008, 2:31 am

AdamUK wrote:Hi, I'm a journalism student from the UK (Salford University).

I'm currently in the process of writing a feature article regarding the impact and influence of the 'Stop Making Sense' live album.

I would be keen for anyone to share their memories, experiences and thoughts about this album, particularly if you watched the band during one of these live shows, which can be used within the article!

You can either post any comments below, or if you wish to contact me personally to share your experiences etc, please email me on FairAd@aol.com. The sooner, the better.

Many thanks.

Adam

PS. Apologies if I've posted this in the wrong thread. I'm not entirely sure where the best place for this post would be!


Hi Adam - I can't believe that the gentleman from Nashville remembered how much he paid for his ticket! I too saw a show during that tour in Philadelphia (1983) at the Mann Music Center (outdoor venue). I was a senior in high school, and drunk of course, but I remember the Psycho Killer beginning, watching (utterly mesmerized) D. Byrne stumble around the stage in that suit. Then when Tina Weymouth came out and they played "Heaven," I'm embarrassed to say my throat tightened, and I fought back tears (it was that beautiful). As they brought the band out - one by one, song by song, I distinctly remember thinking..."I've never seen anything like this..." You know, the choice to "feature" the band members individually that way was such an impressive display of artistic appreciation and generosity toward the rest of those incredibly talented band members - they each had their "moment," and that approach lent itself to this...beautiful artistic tease, the Heads really made love to us that night.
So, anyway, I'm happy to report that when (25 years later) I saw D. Byrne once again on this current tour in Philadelphia (Tower Theatre this time - where David Bowie recorded "David Live at the Tower"), I found myself wishing I'd brought a large "rally sign" (like the kind I waved at Obama political events over the past year) that simply stated "THANK YOU DAVID!". I so wished I could find a way (outside of clapping) to express the pure gratitude I felt toward him for his relentless and inspiring pursuit of creativity. Having lost so many other old favorites The Clash, The Ramones, etc, it's such a fantastic privilege to see David Byrne continue to go at it, and keep the performances so fascinating and fun. (Yes He Can! :lol: )
Good luck with the piece your working on - not sure if I helped you, but it's been really fun remembering it all...
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Re: Talking Heads Fans... I Need Your Help!

Postby francey on December 6th, 2008, 1:54 pm

the impact and influence of the 'Stop Making Sense' live album.


Kermit doing a parody of Stop making Sense in the Muppet show is an example of the impact of SMS - a frog in a big suit doing "Once in a Lifetime", that's quite something.

In the mid 90s, Beck did a tour promoting his 2nd (?) album which was all staged like Stop Making Sense. There must be some video footage around.
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Re: Talking Heads Fans... I Need Your Help!

Postby muleskinner on December 7th, 2008, 12:29 am

Chandler said:

The Nashville audience was almost entirely Caucasian, yet I, sitting in the first tier above the floor, had never seen so many people in the groove with the funk


Oh, Chandler, my son. You must not have been to a Grateful Dead show. You've never seen so many white people in the groove with the funk.
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Re: Talking Heads Fans... I Need Your Help!

Postby tedkul on December 9th, 2008, 2:14 am

I was 13 years old in Toronto in 1983, and familiar with Once in a Lifetime and Burning Down the House, and maybe a couple of other songs. I didn't have any TH records, but because I thought OIAL was pretty great, and liked BDTH just fine, and knew that Talking Heads were part of the "NEW WAVE" that I knew was supposed to be cool I guess I considered myself a "fan" even if I hadn't yet budgeted any of my meager allowance to any TH records.

There is an amusement park just outside of Toronto called "Canada's Wonderland" and they used to have many concerts there. Typically, if you purchased an "ALL-DAY PASS" the additional fee for the concert was fairly nominal. My cousin and myself happened to be at Canada's Wonderland the day TH were playing and I called my mother trying to convince her that I should be permitted to stay late for the concert. One of my biggest regrets in life is not taking that moment to begin the rebellion of my teenage years. I foolishly obeyed and returned home on time.

By September of 1984, I was aware that the Talking Heads concert film would be premiering at the "Festival of Festivals" (Now called the Toronto International FIlm Festival). Still not really being a Talking Heads fan, I decided against splurging on the "GALA" screening at the University Cinema. Another huge regret...

The following December the film opened in "regular release" which meant it had a scheduled two-week run at one of the local art/repertory theatres, The Bloor Cinema (I later had my secular humanist wedding at this theatre). I remember that I was very excited because a local second-rate Roger Ebert had panned the film. This guy was like the anti-critic for me, if he hated it, I loved it. Anyway, he said that Stop Making Sense was "Cacophony in every way; Caca and phony". I knew it would be good.

So I went to an afternoon screening and thought it was pretty good, I remember being riveted by Psycho Killer, being intrigued by the one-at-a-time band member entry, the eerie lighting on What a Day that Was and Swamp, and of course the "big suit." But I wasn't blown away.

But I picked up the soundtrack cassette because it was a "Limited Edition" and looked like a cool package. And I started to get very into the music. And the film was playing every Saturday night at 9:30, so I went with a friend to see it again, and I started to realize how great the film was, beyond the obvious gimmicks mentioned above. The band was so interactive, and the film's style so pure, that you could lose yourself in to the music, as you would at an actual concert. I began to see the film at least once a week, and actually took my first date there.

A year or so later, when the film was released on videotape, I purchased a betamax copy of the film even

A year or so later, when the film was released on videotape, I purchased a betamax copy of the film even though I only had a VHS, because a friend of mine had a "Beta Hi-Fi" machine and (being so dissatisfied with the soundtrack album) promptly converted the entire soundtrack in high-fidelity stereo to high-quality cassette. I freely distributed copies to my friends. Over a decade later, I'd still bump into old friends who'd told me that it was one of their favourite albums. When the "Special New Edition" was released in 1999, I became I strong advocate and told anyone who'd listen to purchase it.

I became a huge Talking Heads fan, but to this day I think they're greatest achievement was the Stop Making Sense film. I think it's one of the best films of all time, and easily the best concert film of all time (and I'll take on any Scorcese fan who wants to argue). That touring band was really the culmination of a 7-year musical arc, not to mention the evolution of the band's "presentation/image." A remarkable achievement that NO ONE has bettered.

I've seen Casual Gods live, David Byrne, Tom Tom Club (w/Jerry Harrison), the Heads, Bernie Worrell and the Woo Warriors. The only performers in Stop Making Sense I've never seen live are Lynn Mabry and Ednah Holt. And I would have gone to the Shelia E. tour to see Lynn Mabry had I known about it.

That band, simply COOKED! And not just in the "sweetened" film soundtrack. Listen to the "Saratoga Springs" bootleg. That band had an incredible chemistry.

In the mid-nineties, I wrote my undergraduate honor's thesis in film studies on Stop Making Sense and Swimming to Cambodia. My thesis was that Demme's directorial approach to these subjects was not merely formal, but stemmed directly from the content of the performances.

But also in the early nineties, I kind of felt like Talking Heads influence had disappeared, the whole grunge, britpop, and rave-techno things didn't really seem to have much to do with Talking Heads. It was only in the late nineties, with the rise of Radiohead, that I started to see the blooming of the seeds they'd planted. Of course the "indie-rock" thing over the last few years seems to have rectified that situation, as I hear Talking Heads all over bands like Magnetic Fields, TVOTR, Clap Your Hands, LCD Soundsystem, etc.

Of course, I was overjoyed in 1999 when SMS came out on DVD. I was very happy to see the original theatrical film again as well. I was a little disappointed, however, that the DVD was "letterboxed" however. The widescreen effect was the result of "masking" (the film's not anamorphic) and the original video release actually had more information than the theatrical widescreen version. I've kept my laserdisc.

Last thought--Maybe you want to move this to the Talking Heads forum, rather than David Byrne. Stop Making Sense was much more than just David Byrne.
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Re: Talking Heads Fans... I Need Your Help!

Postby Mr.DRC on December 9th, 2008, 2:29 pm

francey wrote
a frog in a big suit doing "Once in a Lifetime", that's quite something.

Well, Carla Bruni was big-suitably impressed... ;)


The impact and influence of SMS? Re-release in the arty cinemas and see who doesn't go.
Actually we could start a movement a la Rocky Horror-attend in your chosen Talking Head-threads.

Who can't picture Frank in a blonde wig and shimmy-dress ? :shock:
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Re: Talking Heads Fans... I Need Your Help!

Postby elbakan on December 9th, 2008, 5:23 pm

On the commentary tract, I think Tina mentioned that an Italian Director--I can't
think of his name--remarked that "that's the reaction I've always wanted a movie audience to have--they
get up and dance".

When I first saw SMS at a midnight showing in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts--Lot's of people were running around the theater during "Life During Wartime"--They played it at midnight for years there.
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