Talking Heads’ Chris Frantz Recalls Band’s Tense Final Meeting

(MANDATORY CREDIT Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music/Getty Images) Talking Heads group portrait for Music Life magazine in a hotel room, April 1982, Tokyo, Japan. David Byrne, Tina Weymouth, Alex Weir, Jerry Harrison, Chris Frantz, Bernie Worrell, Dollette MacDonald, Steven Scales, Lani Weymouth, Laura Weymouth. (Photo by Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music/Getty Images)

Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz breaks down the turbulence of the band’s final days in his newly issued memoir, Remain in Love — including a particularly awkward group meeting in 1991 where singer David Byrne allegedly yelled, “You should be calling me an asshole.”

Byrne’s quote seemingly implies an internal struggle: that the frontman had long wanted to break up the band but his bandmates aimed to continue. But Frantz says that he and the other members, bassist Tina Weymouth and guitarist Jerry Harrison, maintained their composure during the encounter.

“We had heard this before, so we thought, ‘If we keep our cool, this will blow over and we’ll get to do another Talking Heads record,'” the drummer told The Guardian.

Instead, everyone moved on to other projects: Byrne with his solo career, Harrison as an in-demand rock producer (including Live and No Doubt), Frantz and Weymouth with Tom Tom Club. The non-Byrne members eventually linked up for a 1996 record under the name the Heads, prompting a lawsuit from the singer that he eventually dropped.

The core quartet did reunite in 1989 during a Tom Tom Club show to play “Psycho Killer.” They also played three songs at Talking Heads’ 2002 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.

In other, Talking Heads-related news, Byrne’s online magazine Reasons to be Cheerful recently issued a new reported series “about changes that long seemed out of reach, but now, amid the coronavirus outbreak, are happening fast — and how we can make them stick.” Topics include universal basic income and restructuring urban spaces.

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