The Phoenix Network:
 
 
About  |  Advertise
Adult  |  Blogs  |  In Pictures
 

Same as he ever was

David Byrne on working with Brian Eno, the new music industry, and his time in Providence
By MICHAEL ATCHISON  |  November 26, 2008

Byrne_DannyClinch.jpg

"Vital Overtones: Five essential Byrne-Eno collaborations," by Michael Atchison
Thirty-four years after forming the legendary band Talking Heads with fellow Rhode Island School of Design students Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz, David Byrne returns to the area to perform "The Songs of David Byrne and Brian Eno." Inspired by the duo's 2008 release Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, the concert also features music from four previous landmark collaborations, including three Talking Heads albums produced by Eno between 1978 and 1980, and 1981's My Life In the Bush of Ghosts, an aural collage of found sounds, stacked rhythms, and samples that blurred the line between popular and experimental music.

In 1986, Time magazine put Byrne on the cover and dubbed him "Rock's Renaissance Man." The tag still sticks. In addition to the tour and the collaboration with Eno, Byrne released his score for the second season of the HBO series Big Love, and his whimsically-designed bike racks (shaped like dogs, dollar signs, and high-heeled pumps) have sprung up all over New York City. The Phoenix recently talked with Byrne by phone.

YOU COLLABORATED ON FOUR ALBUMS WITH BRIAN ENO BETWEEN 1978 AND 1981, BUT THEN YOU DIDN'T WORK TOGETHER FOR MORE THAN 25 YEARS. DID YOU FIND IT HARD TO GET BACK INTO SYNC WITH ONE ANOTHER?
It was very easy. I think that the time and the distance between us — the fact that we worked transatlantic — I think all of that helped, too. We both have lots of projects going simultaneously, so the fact that we could still keep our other projects while working on this, and keep our own schedules, made it really easy for us. Whether we were still in sync? We kind of put our toes in the water slowly at first. When we were working on the Bush of Ghosts re-release [in 2005], we had a lot more social contact, coordinating the website and that sort of thing. We found that that went pretty smoothly. So that was a good start.

YOU MENTIONED WORKING TRANSATLANTICALLY. FOR THE MOST PART HE WAS IN THE UK WORKING UP TRACKS THAT HE WOULD SEND TO YOU, AND YOU WOULD DO YOUR OWN THING ON TOP OF THEM IN NEW YORK.
Yes, although, to be honest, he didn't work on the tracks that much. These were mostly tracks that he already had, and he just wasn't happy with how he had tried to finish them, or he hadn't even tried to finish them.

SO HE SORT OF ACCIDENTALLY WALKED INTO A BYRNE AND ENO ALBUM.
Yeah, I remember one time we were there, he started playing me some of the stuff that he had, and somehow the conversation came around to, "If you want me to try to help you and write words and melodies on top . . . ." By the time we did the Bush of Ghosts thing, we hanging out more, we worked together a little bit more, we found out that we do still get along, we enjoy one another's company, and we see eye-to-eye on most of the kinds of the aesthetic stuff on records and packaging. It wasn't that much of a big step to say, "You have some tracks that you don't know how to finish. I might be the guy to help you finish those."

1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |   next >
Related: Severed Heads, Dancing with himself, The new TV season, More more >
  Topics: Music Features , Entertainment, Music, Pop and Rock Music,  More more >
| More


[ 08/02 ]   Brown/Trinity Playwrights Rep presents See Bat Fly, by Kathryn Walat  @ Leeds Theatre at Brown University
[ 08/02 ]   "Graphic Design: Now in Production,"  @ RISD Museum
ARTICLES BY MICHAEL ATCHISON
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   BECK ON BECK  |  July 16, 2014
    "Every song has its own kind of life, its own gestation, its own way of working itself out."
  •   STAYING POSITIVE  |  April 09, 2014
    "When we started this band, we wanted to build something that was very inclusive."
  •   XL  |  August 15, 2012
    American Gothic was a subterranean shithole bar known for its existentially tortured clientele and extreme indifference to the minimum drinking age.
  •   'PEOPLE WANTED SOMETHING HONEST'  |  July 28, 2010
    In a world that's changing at the speed of light, the Gaslight Anthem reaches into the past to forge classic elements into a timeless rock and roll sound.
  •   FLANAGAN’S EMPIRE  |  February 05, 2010
    Once a staple of the pages of The NewPaper (original incarnation of The Providence Phoenix ), Warwick-born Bill Flanagan went on to become a prominent rock journalist whose credits include U2: At the End of the World , the definitive portrait of one of the world's biggest bands.

 See all articles by: MICHAEL ATCHISON



  |  Sign In  |  Register
 
thePhoenix.com:
Phoenix Media/Communications Group:
TODAY'S FEATURED ADVERTISERS
Copyright © 2014 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group