Talking Heads – The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads


Artist: Talking Heads
Title: The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads
Released: 1982
Label: Sire
Format: Vinyl
Musicians: David Byrne – vocals, guitar, Chris Frantz – drums, vocals, Tina Weymouth – bass, vocals, Jerry Harrison – guitar, keyboards, vocals, Busta Jones – bass, Adrian Belew – vocals, guitar, Dolette McDonald – vocals, Bernie Worrell – clavinet, Steve Scales – percussion, Nona Hendrix – vocals, Jose Rossy – percussion
Producer: Talking Heads
Mastering Engineer: Greg Calbi, Clive Brinkwood, Jeff Shaw
Engineer: David Hewett, Kooster McAllister, Rod O’Brien, Katshuiko Sato, Brian Eno

Talking Heads are kind of a mysterious band to most folks, they have always been slightly mysterious to me for one. A lot of folks call them “The Talking Heads”, but it is really just “Talking Heads”. Not much matter though, because the two names will lead to the same thing.
From the Talking Heads website: David Byrne, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth all attended the Rhode Island School of design in the mid-seventies. Byrne, Scottish by birth, but brought up in Canada and then Baltimore, had begun his musical career at school with a band who suffered under the name of Revelation.

Byrne’s next venture was altogether more serious: with accordion player Marc Kehoe, he former Bizadi, who played gigs in art schools and restaurants in both Baltimore and San Francisco. Byrne met drummer Chris Frantz at Rhode Island, and together they put together a band called the Artistics. The band concentrated on cover versions, but Byrne also contributed a handful of originals -among them ‘Psycho Killer’, ‘I’m Not In Love’ and ‘Warning Sign’, all of which were later adopted by Talking Heads.
Among the group’s keenest fans was Tina Weymouth, who would eventually marry Chris Frantz. After the Artistics broke up in mid-1974, Byrne, Frantz and Weymouth considered putting a band together themselves. Weymouth put her musical education to good use by learning the bass, and the three ex-students moved to New York’s Lower East Side, where they followed the route of countless other art graduates by living in a loft apartment and considering where their art would lead them.
The trio began serious rehearsals in the early months of 1975, still mixing Byrne’s originals with bubblegum and Sixties punk cover versions. By May that year, they had found a name – Talking Heads – which was individual without carrying too many preconceptions about the kind of music they would be playing.
The following month, they made their live debut, supporting the Ramones at CBGB’s.

(Wikipedia) Talking Heads was an American rock band formed in 1975 in New York City and active until 1991. Talking Heads integrated elements of punk, art rock, funk, and dance music with avant-garde sensibilities to become a pioneering post-punk and new wave group. Fronted by the anxious stage persona of frontman Byrne, the group produced several commercial hits and a number of multimedia projects throughout its career, and often collaborated with other artists, such as musician Brian Eno and director Jonathan Demme.

It took until December 1991 for an official announcement to be made that Talking Heads had broken up. Their final release was “Sax and Violins”, an original song that had appeared earlier that year on the soundtrack to Wim Wenders’ Until the End of the World.
Despite David Byrne’s lack of interest in another album, Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz, and Jerry Harrison reunited for a one-off album called No Talking, Just Head under the name The Heads in 1996. The album featured a number of vocalists including Debbie Harry of Blondie, Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde, Andy Partridge of XTC, Gordon Gano of Violent Femmes, Michael Hutchence of INXS, Ed Kowalczyk of Live, Shaun Ryder of Happy Mondays, Richard Hell, and Maria McKee. The album was accompanied by a tour which featured Johnette Napolitano as the vocalist. Byrne took legal action against the rest of the band to prevent them using the name “Talking Heads”, something he saw as “a pretty obvious attempt to cash in on the Talking Heads name.” They opted to record and tour as “The Heads”. Likewise, Byrne continues his solo career.
Meanwhile, Harrison became a record producer of some note – his résumé includes the Violent Femmes’ The Blind Leading the Naked, the Fine Young Cannibals’ The Raw and the Cooked, General Public’s Rub It Better, Crash Test Dummies’ God Shuffled His Feet, Live’s Mental Jewelry, Throwing Copper and The Distance To Here, No Doubt’s song “New” from Return of Saturn, and in 2010, work by The Black and White Years and Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads is a double live album by Talking Heads, originally released in 1982. The first album featured the original quartet in recordings from 1977 and 1979, and the second album the expanded ten-piece lineup that toured in 1980 and 1981. The album contains live versions of songs that appear on Talking Heads: 77, More Songs About Buildings and Food, Fear of Music, and Remain in Light. The cassette edition of the album included “Cities” as a bonus track not included on the vinyl edition – this track has been included on the subsequent CD release.
The title of the album is a reference both to the group’s preference for having no expressed definite article within the band name (as opposed to “The Talking Heads”) and to David Byrne’s minimalist introductions to songs. The album opens with one such introduction: “The name of this song is New Feeling. That’s what it’s about.”

Side one was recorded for WCOZ broadcast, Norther Studios, Maynard MA 11/17/1977
Side two was recorded at The Capitol Theater, Passaic NJ 01/17/1979
Side three and side four were recorded at Emerald City, Cherry Hill NJ 11/08/1980, Central Park, New York, 08/27/1980 and Sun Plaza Concert Hall, Tokyo, Japan 02/27/1981
One note of curiosity on this album is that  the song listing for the second record on the original issue (1982) is out-of-order. This was corrected for the CD version, but who cares, it doesn’t matter because the vinyl version is better.

Lyrically, it almost seems like random thoughts, contemplations or self introspection. David Byrne is not known for his voice, singing style or skill, the band is tight though and were at there best live in my opinion. To me, the best live show was Stop Making Sense. In comparison to this LP I think the songs: Houses In Motion, Life During War Time , Cross-eyed & Painless and Take Me To The River were better on Stop Making Sense, but that’s only my opinion.

My favorites on this LP:
Don’t Worry About The Government – I don’t really know why I like this song though, perhaps it’s the cute lyrics?
Pulled Up – Not sure why I like this one either. Note the weird bass line.
Artists Only – This one is just too strange to me not to love. I also like how it has lots of changes in it. It starts out sounding strange, similar to the song Drugs. Then it goes into this sixties groove spy thing. From there it goes into a more avant-garde sound, then back to the strangeness in the beginning with funny voice effects. Once more it changes again to the sixties spy soundtrack sound, than back to avant-garde, then guitar noise, etc. closes it out. Throughout the vocals are weird and kind of silly in the lyrics.

Sound: 5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars

Here’s some footage from the recording of this LP:

Want something even earlier from this group?

Don’t Worry About The Government (excuse the SQ):

Artists Only (this is pretty much the only live footage of this song):