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Talking Heads Reuniting For ‘Stop Making Sense’ Screening In Toronto

Sept. 11 event also features Spike Lee-moderated Q&A
Talking Heads
Talking Heads (photo: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images)

It’s not the full-scale reunion tour for which fans have been pining since the early 1990s, but Talking Heads members David Byrne, Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz, and Jerry Harrison will assemble publicly next month in Toronto for the first time since their 2002 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. The occasion is the upcoming 40th anniversary of the group’s iconic concert film Stop Making Sense, a newly restored version of which will screen in IMAX at Cineplex’s Scotiabank IMAX Theatre as part of the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 11.

Afterwards, Byrne, Weymouth, Frantz, and Harrison will sit for a Q&A moderated by filmmaker Spike Lee, with whom Byrne recently worked on the film version of his Broadway show American Utopia. Both the screening and Q&A will be shown live in theaters across the world, with the refreshed Stop Making Sense premiering on its own on Sept. 22 in tandem with distributor A24.

The Jonathan Demme-directed movie is among the most celebrated concert films of all time, and captures Talking Heads at the peak of their live powers during December 1983 performances at Los Angeles’ Pantages Theater. It was added to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry in 2021 in recognition of its cultural and historical significance.

Relations between Talking Heads have been frosty since they broke up in 1991, with Byrne in particular having long distanced himself from that era of his career via a variety of music and theater projects. Although they promoted Stop Making Sense‘s 15th anniversary together in 1999, the same year Byrne and Harrison made a surprise appearance in New York at a show by Weymouth and Frantz’s band Tom Tom Club, the four musicians have not appeared in one place since performing “Life During Wartime,” “Psycho Killer,” and “Burning Down the House” at the Rock Hall ceremony more than 20 years ago.

“The rest of the band would love to do something but our singer doesn’t see it that way,” Frantz told SPIN about a potential reunion in 2009, when Stop Making Sense turned 25 and was released on Blu-ray for the first time. “He prefers to play ‘Burning Down the House’ with a Talking Heads cover band while wearing a tutu and then tell us that to go out would make us a parody of ourselves.”

He added that Talking Heads “never had any big fights” which would preclude the band getting back together. Instead, “there’s just one guy who doesn’t want to do it,” Frantz explained. “So, life goes on and we have a nice Blu-ray DVD to watch.”

Of late, Harrison has teamed with longtime Talking Heads touring guitarist Adrian Belew for a tour centered around the band’s 1980 album Remain in Light. Byrne is busy with the Broadway production of his musical Here Lies Love, written in tandem with Fatboy Slim.