David Byrne: Still No Talking Heads Reunion

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Talking Heads, with David Byrne at far right

It’s a new year, and that means new speculations, many of which regard rock band reunions. Every year seems to find at least a few of our long-defunct classic rock favorites putting aside their dirty laundry and managing to share a stage together, be it just for one night at a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony or for the length of a full global tour.

One band that fans have long hoped to see return to life is Talking Heads, the quirky, funky New Yorkers who first came to our attention in New York City as part of the CBGB punk scene and then evolved into one of the most creative—and ultimately successful—bands of its era.

Since Talking Heads’ 1991 split, David Byrne, the group’s chief songwriter, vocalist and guitarist, has long said no thanks to a reunion. He’s been involved in numerous projects over the years, both in music and in other artistic disciplines, and although the Heads’ fans would undoubtedly rush to any venue to hear “Burning Down the House” or “Psycho Killer” performed by all four original members—the others are bassist Tina Weymouth, keyboardist Jerry Harrison and drummer Chris Frantz, all of whom have expressed interest in reuniting at various times—Byrne has been steadfast in his refusal to fire up the band again.

Related: The most recent Talking Heads reunion rumors came last spring

He’s been so adamant that few journalists even bother to ask him anymore. But in a new interview with The Creative Independent, Byrne made it clear that nothing has changed as far as he is concerned. “A Talking Heads reunion might be incredibly successful for a specific generation, or maybe for many generations. It would make me a lot of money and get a lot of attention,” he said. Then came the but…

“It would also probably be quite a number of steps backwards as far as being perceived as someone who does a lot of different things. For that reason, I feel like I have to sacrifice something, whether it’s money or name recognition or whatever, in order to be able to do a little bit more of what I’d want to do. In other words, you can’t have it all.”

When those rumors surfaced in March 2016, Best Classic Bands asked Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz for a comment, and he cryptically if encouragingly said, “It should be true.” Of course Frantz is the member of the band who has been the most positive about reuniting. As he said in 2012 following the release of the band’s Chronology DVD, “I’m not holding my breath but I still have my hopes that maybe someday David will call and say, ‘You know, I should give Chris and Tina [Weymouth] and Jerry [Harrison] a call and do something with them.’ And why not, you know? We make a pretty good team.”

So there you have it, Talking Heads fans. Scratch one band from the list of potential 2017 reunions.

Now, where did those Davies brothers leave off on the Kinks reuniting?

Watch the last Heads reunion, for their 2002 Rock Hall induction

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Best Classic Bands Staff

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