2001- Head to Head Talk Print
Written by Vit Wagner   

From: Toronto Start, march 30, 2001

David Byrne making the rounds as part of Canadian Music Week 

There's a perfectly good reason why David Byrne is always portrayed as the obstacle to a potential Talking Heads reunion tour.

``It's because it's true. I am,'' he said yesterday. ``We get these offers to do big tours for lots of money, but . . .''

Byrne shrugs, his voice trailing off indifferently at the thought of banding together for another go at ``Psycho Killer'' and ``Burning Down The House.''

It's been a decade since the seminal post-punk outfit officially called it quits, much to the displeasure of Byrne's former bandmates Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz and Jerry Harrison. Words were exchanged and it's clear that the wounds haven't entirely healed.

``For years, some of the others would say the most horrible things about me, to my face or in letters or to the press or whatever,'' said Byrne, who turns 49 next month. ``And then they'd say, `Okay, let's work together. Let's make some beautiful music.' ''

His tone is one of resignation rather than anger. In any case, it's far from obvious that the singer would leap at the opportunity to resurrect Talking Heads, even in the absence of lingering acrimony.

Byrne, making the rounds as part of Canadian Music Week, has plenty of irons in the fire, as it is.

Look Into The Eyeball, his first solo album since 1997's Feelings, is due out May 8. On the same day, he will launch a North American tour in Toronto, location to be determined.

Byrne is also beating the bushes for his own label, LuakaBop. Seconds after meeting him at the Metropolitan Hotel, he hands over a CD by Shuggie Otis, a guitar prodigy from the early '70s who he has recently rediscovered.

``We're treating it as if it's a contemporary record, in a way,'' he said of the label's decision to re-issue the 1971 release, Inspiration Information, as part of its ``World Psychedelic Classics'' series.

``It doesn't sound like it was made many years ago. It sounds like it was made yesterday. But his records are totally out of print. You can't find them, unless you're a vinyl hound. So I thought, `Let's put it out.' ''

At the same time, Byrne remains active as a visual artist. For an upcoming exhibition in Valencia, he is creating a series of books, containing photography and text, about the ``new sins.''

``They're things we'd normally think of as virtues: things like hope and beauty and ambition,'' he explained, vaguely. ``I'm still refining it, but I'm trying to create something that treads a line between believability and the ravings of a madman.

``I've always been interested in the music and the visual at the same time,'' he continued. ``I remember when I was in high school, I'd put on records after school and start drawing, getting into this really interior kind of head and filling up the paper.''

Byrne takes a similarly eclectic approach to pop. Look Into The Eyeball, like much of his work, offers a blend of styles, from soul and funk to worldbeat styles, a tack that reflects his own wide-ranging tastes as a music listener.

It's ironic, he says, that his 11-year-old daughter is developing an obsession for the ``one genre of music Dad doesn't like - show tunes. Some of the pop stuff she likes, TLC or Destiny's Child or whatever, I can say, `That's a pretty cool song.' But she keeps watching the video of The Music Man over and over again.''