From Talking Heads to Tom Tom Club…Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth on their love, music & upcoming UK conversation tour

THE year 1977 means a lot to Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads.

It gave us the band’s revolutionary debut album, Talking Heads: 77, with its spine-chilling single Psycho Killer.

Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, pictured in their Tom Tom Club guise, will be coming to the UK for a conversation tour

Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth, David Byrne and Jerry Harrison together as Talking Heads

Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth, David Byrne and Jerry Harrison together as Talking HeadsCredit: Redferns

Weymouth, 72, and Frantz, 71, the beating heart of Talking Heads, are still married . . .  and still in love

Weymouth, 72, and Frantz, 71, the beating heart of Talking Heads, are still married . . .  and still in love

Aside from singer David Byrne’s best Norman Bates impression, that signature song caught the ear for Weymouth’s pulsating bassline and Frantz’s insistent drumming.

In the summer of 1977, the romantically involved pair behind the New York new wave scene’s most innovative rhythm section also tied the knot.

At this point, it’s worth noting that pop history is littered with more tales of bed hopping than of enduring commitment.

But Weymouth, 72, and Frantz, 71, the beating heart of Talking Heads, are still married . . .  and still in love.

Weyes Blood on her 'calming nostalgic music to soothe the chaos'
I’ve never copied anyone... I just wanted to be me, says Joan Armatrading

They were primary players in offshoot band Tom Tom Club, scoring hits with dancefloor-primed tracks Wordy Rappinghood and Genius Of Love.

“It’s all in the groove,” Weymouth tells me.

“Everything else can be like butterflies on top but the groove is what drives the car.”

While acknowledging the influence of Afro-American rhythms, her husband adds: “Tina and I never cared about getting very fancy.

“We wanted what we played to be clean, concise and moving along, allowing space for other people to do things. Therefore, the groove was of utmost importance to us.” 

Now, on the back of Frantz’s captivating memoir, named Remain In Love after the Talking Heads album Remain In Light and dedicated to Weymouth, the pair will be visiting the UK in May for an intimate “in conversation” tour.

The book drew rave reviews on its publication in 2020 and provided essential lockdown reading for another NY luminary, Blondie’s Debbie Harry.

“This is great storytelling. I’m gobsmacked,” she enthused.

“Chris’s brain is one of the most potent examples of living the dream.

“I devoured this book and all the memories, and all the love Chris has for Tina.”

When Frantz and Weymouth spoke to me via Zoom from their home in Connecticut, they shared fascinating insights into their life in music.

They talked fondly of their early years together, sharing a dingy apartment in the Big Apple and hanging out with bands like The Ramones and Blondie at legendary club CBGB. 

And they tell of their difficult relationship with David Byrne and why, because of that, there will never be a reunion.

But first, Frantz recounts the first time he set eyes on Weymouth, in September 1971. He was studying at Rhode Island School Of Design when this vision of loveliness appeared.

“I was sitting in this grassy park which everyone called the RISD beach,” he recalls. 

“All of a sudden, this very beautiful girl came riding by on what we call an ‘English bicycle’, an old, yellow, three-speed one.

“She was wearing very short shorts and a blue-and-white-striped French sailor shirt. 

“She was extremely pretty and her blonde shag haircut was blowing in the breeze. I said to myself, ‘Wow, I’d really like to meet her!’”

The next day, Frantz and Weymouth did meet each other at a figure painting class . . .  and the rest, as they say, is history.

As for the girl on a bicycle, she says today: “Well, I had a boyfriend and he had a girlfriend but that didn’t impede him from asking me if I had some spare dog food.

“I got the impression that he was a boulevardier. He knew everyone and everything while I was much more of a shy and retiring person.

“I thought he was interesting and sharp. We became very good friends and, little by little, things evolved. Six years later, we got married.”

Although their studies revolved around the visual arts, Frantz harboured dreams of forming a rock band, as you do.

And Weymouth decided to learn the bass to help his endeavours. It turned out, of course, that she was an effortlessly cool natural.

She says: “I couldn’t let the dream perish so I wanted to help in any way I could, despite feeling at the time that it was really a guy thing, very masculine and cocksure.

“I knew that I could become the brunt of objectification but I did love a girl rock band called Fanny. They were Filipina-American sisters, very good players and really smart.”

Joining up with Chris musically wasn’t so surprising, as she explains: “I’d always loved music. I’d toured before with a group of English handbell ringers when I was 12 or 13 and I’d played a little folk guitar.”

Another recruit to the band, initially The Artistics and eventually Talking Heads, was fellow student David Byrne, who “played rhythm guitar like one of James Brown’s musicians”.

Frantz can still hear in his head the socially awkward Byrne’s first forays into singing. “It was very disjointed and a bit challenged,” he says. “But he had something unique.

“It was an artistry that you can’t learn which came from the inside.”

Weymouth remembers her two contrasting bandmates. “People thought Chris was cool but it was hard to get them to take David seriously,” she says.

Among their first major compositions was Psycho Killer, inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 horror flick Psycho.

It bottled up the neurotic energy that defined the early Talking Heads sound and Byrne’s opening lines set the scene . . . 

“I can’t seem to face up to the facts. I’m tense and nervous and I can’t relax.”

Lines in French such as “Je me lance vers la gloire, OK” (Headlong I go towards glory, OK) come with a fascinating back story.

Byrne, she relates, already had part of the Psycho Killer chorus and wanted the song’s bridge to be in a foreign language to “symbolise a person with a split mind”.

Weymouth says: “As it happens, my mother is French. So, in January, 1974, Chris and I were in our painting studio when David came in with a notebook and a pencil.

“I started thinking of the great Alfred Hitchcock,” she continues. “Then also of Napoleon, brilliant genius but crazy, and Louis XIV, who admitted, ‘My search for glory has led to the ruin of France’.

“So I started writing things down in French. I think Chris wrote a verse or two and eventually the song came together.”

After Frantz and Weymouth graduated and Byrne dropped out of college, the three reconvened in New York.

It was 1974 into ’75 “in the midst of the coldest winter on record” when they found themselves in an old industrial building on The Bowery, just three blocks from the club where they would forge their reputation.

“We didn’t have a toilet, only cold water from the tap, which we had to boil,” says Weymouth. But it was a very motivating period and we worked terribly hard.”

If contemporaries like The Ramones wore leather and denim and Blondie adopted a trashy punk aesthetic, the band renamed Talking Heads stayed true to their college geek image.

Frantz says: “We knew David Bowie was glam and The New York Dolls had a sort of drag thing going. 

“Other bands, at least in America, dressed up like cowboys but we thought, ‘That’s not really us’. We weren’t feeling the snakeskin boots or the velvet trousers.

“I always like to say that our clothes looked like our mums gave them to us for Christmas.”

Despite their clean-cut appearance, Talking Heads did make friends among the burgeoning new wave scene’s more outlandishly attired protagonists.

Frantz says: “We were on friendly terms with Debbie Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie, Lenny Kaye of Patti Smith Group and The Ramones, particularly Dee Dee.” 

Weymouth chips in: “Dee Dee was brilliant! He was highly underrated and wrote 99.9 per cent of Ramones material, music and lyrics. We also got to know Joey over time. He was so, so shy but sweet and a great singer.

“It took a long time for Johnny to come around. He was damaged in some way so it took him a long time to realise we were on his side.”

Tina on bass...

Tina on bass…Credit: Getty

... and Chris on drums made up the beating heart of 80s band Talking Heads

… and Chris on drums made up the beating heart of 80s band Talking HeadsCredit: Redferns

Tina says David Byrne, right, was 'always very jealous' of their Tom Tom Club success

Tina says David Byrne, right, was ‘always very jealous’ of their Tom Tom Club successCredit: Getty

Weymouth remembers “fantastic” band Television, with whom they shared many double bills, and notes the dazzling guitar interplay of Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd.

She also “adored” Blank Generation singer Richard Hell, who she credits with pioneering the punk look adopted by the Sex Pistols.

“His hair was all spiked up and he wore these very light, almost muslin, white shirts that would stick to him with perspiration. He was beautiful and it was incredibly erotic!” 

While playing at CBGB, they also came across their heroes from New York underbelly’s most influential band – The Velvet Underground.

Frantz says: “Lou Reed would come down because he was always curious and John Cale was very present, too.

 “The Velvet Underground were so important to us but then so was Al Green, although he never came to CBGB.” (Soul-obsessed Talking Heads covered Green’s Take Me To The River.)

In early 1977, the missing piece of the core Talking Heads line-up was completed by gifted keyboardist and guitarist Jerry Harrison, who had played with Jonathan Richman’s Modern Lovers, best known for their proto-punk hit Roadrunner. 

“Jerry had gone off to study architecture at Harvard,” says Weymouth. “But in January of ’77, he finally threw his hand in with the rest of us. He was such a consummate musician and played the keyboards like nobody’s business.”

This brings us to the fractious relationship between Byrne and his bandmates, which is explored in Frantz’s book.

It explains his and Weymouth’s “sadness” that a reunion is less likely than hell freezing over.

“David just didn’t understand teamwork,” says Frantz.

“I don’t want to diminish what he did but he had a tendency to not rate the contributions of others.”

Weymouth has this perspective: “What I came to realise is that everything was transactional for him.

“You gave him something, he took it and then left.

“We weren’t people to him.

“He formed attachments which were not based on love or friendship but on need.”

She says Byrne was “always very jealous” of their Tom Tom Club success.

“He said, ‘It’s merely popular because it’s so commercial’. Well, what did he think Talking Heads was?” 

More than three decades after the band split, Frantz and Weymouth have put things in perspective.

They say: “We’re not as sad about it now as we were 20 years ago. We had, what you call in England, ‘a good innings’.”

So, I venture, what do they consider to be Talking Heads’ finest achievements?

Weymouth: “Chris and I always felt that Fear Of Music was our best rock album.

“Remain In Light developed out of us playing like children with toys. We liked that process and we used it again on Speaking In Tongues.

Beloved Benidorm star looks unrecognisable 11 years on - and is dating co-star
I spent £100 taking kids to ‘dreamland’ children’s event – it was a rip-off

“But, yeah, we loved every single thing we did with Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club — like your children or your pets.

“They’re just so adorable.” 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

Bocoran Slot Gacor

Slot Gacor



Demo Slot


akun demo slot pragmatic

Slot Gacor Gampang Menang

Slot Jackpot Terbesar

Slot Gacor Gampang Menang

slot rtp tertinggi hari ini

slot rtp tertinggi hari ini

slot gacor

slot bonus

slot deposit pulsa tanpa potongan

slot bonus

slot gacor

rtp slot

slot gacor


slot deposit ovo

slot gacor

pragmatic play

slot online yang sering kasih jackpot

RTP Slot

situs judi slot terbaik dan terpercaya no.1

slot bonus 200 di depan