Thursday, April 29, 2004

Onion Interview: David Byrne

As I wrote in "Greatest American Rock and Roll Band?," about the Talking Heads:

"You either 'got' and loved the T. Heads in the '80s, or you didn't, in which case you were probably a disco loving jerk -- but lets not start with the name calling so soon, ok?"
So you can guess I like the T-Heads. Thats prolly why I enjoyed this interview with David Byrne in of all places, The Onion.

Here's a quick clip:

"In a funny way, music—certainly now—just seems more emotional to me. That's what people say about music, that it has a more direct link to the conscience, the emotional centers, or the brain or heart or whatever. Certainly more than the word, which is something you have to read and then translate, and then it has to affect you somehow. With music, you often don't have to translate it. It just affects you, and you don't know why. It seems almost backwards to me that my music seems the more emotional outlet, and the art stuff seems more about ideas. Whereas maybe years ago, it may have been more of the opposite: My music was more idea-based."

"David Byrne is best known for his stint with one of the weirdest and greatest rock bands of all time, but he's kept busy since Talking Heads broke up in 1991. As a musician, he's maintained a steady and eclectic solo career, funneling his worldly interests into soundtracks and pop albums that strain his strange sensibility through increasingly stately songs. On his new solo album, Grown Backwards, Byrne croons through opera arias, string-swept ballads, and wily torch songs—like the sly pro-America ode "Empire"—that undermine their own status as anthems.

Byrne has carved out a big presence in the art world, too. His book The New Sins, a quasi-Bible published in 2001 by Dave Eggers' McSweeney's imprint, was first conceived for an art show in Valencia, Spain, where Byrne distributed the books in hotel nightstands. Readings for the book led to a series of art projects made with Microsoft PowerPoint, the ubiquitous software used for all manner of corporate presentations. A number of Byrne's PowerPoint works were recently collected for Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information, a handsome book packaged with an accompanying DVD. Byrne's merchandise pile also grew last year with Once In A Lifetime, a four-disc retrospective of Talking Heads' career. "

Good stuff . . .

Posted at 07:17 AM in Music | Permalink

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