Talking Heads Drummer Chris Frantz Slams David Byrne in Memoir

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A new memoir titled Remain in Love, and subtitled “Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club, Tina,” will be published on July 21 by St. Martin’s Press. The subtitle refers to the two bands in which Frantz was a founding member, along with his wife, bassist Tina Weymouth. In a new interview to promote the book, its author has made some pointed remarks about Talking Heads’ frontman David Byrne.  (The book was originally scheduled to be released on May 12, but was pushed back.)

Frantz is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member and hosts his own radio show called “Chris Frantz the Talking Head” on WPKN.

In a July 16 interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Frantz was asked about the perception that the Heads had one leader.

“Mostly, what I wanted to convey was that Talking Heads was a shared experience,” he says. “People think there was one genius in Talking Heads. But, no, there was an entire team of geniuses, and not just the members of the band but our management, our producers, our agents. We were very fortunate to be surrounded by very high quality people.”

The New York Post reports, based on an advance copy of the book that Byrne took sole songwriting credit for the 1979 Heads’ classic, “Life During Wartime,” even though, Frantz writes, it “began as a jam between Tina and me . . . David couldn’t acknowledge where he stopped and other people began.”

“I will always be very proud of the work we did with David,” Frantz tells “Tina, Jerry [Harrison] and me and David… we did a great thing together. And our legacy is that so many young bands have been influenced by us and look up to us and respect us and, really, what more can you ask for? We’ve had a good life and it’s thanks to the work that we did together as Talking Heads, so I’m grateful for my involvement in the band.”

According to the advance promotional material, “Remain in Love is studded with memorable names from the era: Grace Jones, Andy Warhol, Stephen Sprouse, Lou Reed, John Cale, Richard Hell, Twyla Tharp, Brian Eno, Debbie Harry and many more. Beautifully written with immersive vivid detail, the book moves from the rooms where the songs were made―including Providence, RI, and the Chrystie Street loft Frantz, Weymouth, and Byrne shared―to the meals eaten and the clothes worn, right to the dynamics of a long and complicated working relationship with a mercurial frontman.”

The Post-Gazette asked Frantz if he had seen Byrne’s recent sold-out production, American Utopia, on Broadway.

“Had I been invited, had someone said ‘Hey Chris and Tina, why don’t you come down and see this show?’ I would have been happy to go, but without an invitation, it would have been weird, especially to walk into a Broadway theater. New York people still recognize us.”

Related: Our Album Rewind review of Talking Heads’ Fear of Music

Talking Heads

The announcement provides the following details on Frantz’s life story: “One of the most iconic bands of the ’70s and ’80s, Talking Heads distinguished themselves from the ultra-cool Rolling Stones, the chaotic Sex Pistols, and glam rockers like David Bowie. They burst onto the scene when Frantz’s girlfriend Tina Weymouth taught herself to play bass and joined him and lead singer David Byrne, playing at CBGBs and touring Europe with the Ramones. Their hits from ‘Psycho Killer’ to ‘Burning Down the House” to ‘Wild, Wild Life’ captured the post-baby boom generation’s intense, affectless style. Their Jonathan Demme-directed concert film Stop Making Sense remains a classic. Frantz’s and Weymouth’s creativity surged with Tom Tom Club, bringing an Afro-Caribbean beat to their fresh hits like ‘Genius of Love.’”

An Instagram account for Talking Heads was created in December 2019, leading to speculation that the band might be reuniting. Those rumors were immediately squashed.

Why now for the memoir? Frantz tells, “I finally thought I should go ahead and do this. I was holding off for a long time because I thought I don’t want to lose the chance of having this wonderful reunion and playing for fans, but he’s (Byrne) made it very clear that it’s not going to happen.”

Best Classic Bands Staff

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