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Somebody Hit David Byrne With The Obvious Stick.

You'd think he'd have known this by now...

By Bruce A Johnson | September 07, 2010


Here's the old-guy rant:

Way back in 1977 I went to a concert at Salem State College in Massachusetts (I was a sophomore at Boston University at the time) to see a pretty hot regional group called the Pousette-Dart Band. They were great, but it was the opening act that really caught my attention. Three guys and a female bass player hauled all their own gear out on to the tennis court that was the stage of the day and proceeded to mystify - and electrify - the very small crowd. The lead singer looked like he was having a seizure most of the time, but the music was really good, if weird.

You guessed it, I saw the Talking Heads just before "Talking Heads: 77" came out. And I've been a big fan ever since, including the Tom Tom Club and all of David Byrne's various solo excursions. Lately he's been working with Web-merchandising his stuff, including a really interesting album of songs he recorded with Brian Eno. So today I get an email from The Man Himself (actually some robot sending emails to his list) offering the first chapter of a new product, a kind of E-book called The Bicycle Diaries. "Wow," I thought, "this combines two of my favorite things - bicycles and David Byrne!" So I read more of the copy. When I got to the middle, though, a couple of sentences brought me to a screeching halt. To wit:

"I was thinking about the kind of radio show that NPR stations do from time to time, with background music, street sounds and other ambiences that help put the listener in the picture. So, I did one chapter ("New York") as a test, with me reading, and though it took a lot longer to assemble than I expected..."

Bam. Jeez, Dave, ya THINK? Wow, creative work takes TIME. Anyone that has worked in the business for more than a few years realizes that you don't get great creative instantly, but to hear that old trope come from David Byrne really stings.

This won't stop me from recommending his stuff, though - you can listen to the first installment here. But really. If anyone should know better than this, it's the man who gave us Psycho Killer.

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Andy: | September, 07, 2010

“Bam.  Jeez, Dave, ya THINK?”

Bam. Jeez Bruce do YOU think?  Seriously man, it’s kind of obvious that DB knows of what he speaks when it comes to creativity.  According to your quote he said “... it took a lot longer to assemble than I expected…”.  How long are you assuming he “expected”?

Or is this all just so you can tell us all about how you saw Talking Heads back in the late 70’s?

Terence Curren: | September, 08, 2010

Two words… True Stories. He knows how hard it is.

Dylan Pank: | September, 08, 2010

Some context would help mmake your point, I mean, that’s not even a full sentence.

I agree with Andy, it’s a pretty lame dig at what was obviously just a passing comment.

Dylan Pank: | September, 08, 2010

On the other hand, thanks for the link to the Byrne piece, it’s brilliant, so if it got us that, that’s enough.

Terence Curren: | September, 08, 2010

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