Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz reveals tensions with David Byrne in new memoir

Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz reveals tensions with David Byrne in new memoir

Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz reveals tensions with David Byrne in new memoir

Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz reveals tensions with David Byrne in new memoir

Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz reveals tensions with David Byrne in new memoir 1

Drummer Chris Frantz has criticised the former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne in his new memoir, calling his bandmate “cold and dyspeptic”.

Talking Heads was formed in 1975 by Byrne, Frantz, bassist Tina Weymouth and keyboard and guitar player Jerry Harrison. With their restless punk sound, they became one of the most critically acclaimed bands of the 1980s, releasing eight albums before they eventually split in 1991.

In his new book, Frantz, who married Weymouth in 1977, accuses Byrne of taking too much of the credit for the band’s songwriting over the years.


The drummer claims he wrote the lyrics to their 1978 track “Warning Sign”, which was initially credited to Byrne alone. “It appears that he had forgotten that I wrote those words…” writes Frantz.

Frantz alleges that Byrne often failed to recognise the contributions of his bandmates, claiming he “couldn’t acknowledge where he stopped and other people began” and that “the more successful Talking Heads became, the more cold and dyspeptic David became”.

“The story that there was one songwriter in Talking Heads is a myth,” he writes, adding: “You could say that Tina and I were the team who made David Byrne famous. We were very good at shining the spotlight on him.”

He also tells a story about a time he took Byrne to dinner with his parents and the frontman was “painfully gauche”, writing: “At one point, he lined up a row of peas on his knife and let them roll into his mouth. Then he did it again.”

Frantz states that, in 1991, Byrne “sneaked out of Talking Heads”. At the time of the band’s spit, the drummer had said: “We were shocked to find out about [Byrne’s departure] via the Los Angeles Times. As far as we’re concerned, the band never really broke up. David just decided to leave.”

The memoir is complimentary of Byrne at times, too, with Frantz writing that he was a “superb rhythm guitarist”. “He was also very willing to make an unexpected move, both musically and physically,” says Frantz. “He got into music to get out of himself.”

The Independent has contact Byrne’s representatives for comment.

Remain in Love: Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club, Tina by Chris Frantz is published by White Rabbit.


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