More Songs About Typing and Vacuuming

Excerpts from an interview with Talking Heads' Tina Weymouth in Creem, October 1979, by Barbara Charone

...One major instigator in the Talking Heads fight against commercialism is chief songwriter, singer and guitarist David Byrne. Responsible for the majority of Heads classics like "Big Country" and "Psycho Killer," Byrne possesses an unorthodox sense of rhythm which, despite the novelty, remains extremely attractive.

"Eno is the only person who understands David's guitar playing," Tina said. "David's sense of rhythm is insane but fantastic. A song will start off a mess but become like a baby kahula bear. It's difficult to turn a really stupid idea into something brilliant. David turns a sketch into a painting. He's great at convincing us that a crazy idea will end up brilliantly."

Talking Heads is the only band Eno will produce and they take great pride in this. They're equally thrilled that Bowie counts them among his very select favorites. Yet despite the acclaim, success and foreign glamour, the Talking Heads remain refreshingly pure in their approach to music. Who else would call an album Fear Of Music except perhaps David Bowie?

"When we were making this album I remembered this stupid discussion we had about titles for the last album," Tina smirked. "At that time I said, 'What are we gonna call an album that's just about buildings and food?' And Chris said, 'You call it more songs about buildings and food.' Jerry suggested Fear Of Music. Everyone laughed hilariously and forgot about it. Although it was a ludicrous title, it seemed to fit this album.

"We were under a lot of stress and pressure so Fear Of Music seemed perfect," Tina continued, amused at the irony. "It goes along with fear of everything. It's funny too, because the music business is so hype-oriented. To call an album fear is completely superficial. It's absurd because record companies go to their conventions proclaiming they've sold more records than anybody, despite the recession! I like the title because everyone has a fear of the record industry. It's just like what Thomas Jefferson said about the revolution: You just change power from one pair of hands to another."

One pair of hands that have tremendously aided Talking Heads in their never-ending search for the territory which lies beyond the clone zone are those belonging to Brian Eno. He has been instrumental in helping the band shape their slightly complicated sound and paint their many colored musical abstract designs.

"What makes Eno a great leader is that he's willing to share everything he knows. Eno thinks our albums are hoovering music, which was suggested by David's manner of moving around in the studio," Tina said, imitating quirky gestures. "David moves around the studio as if he were a janitor cleaning up and vacuuming while whistling an idiotic tune. His second description of our music is 'music to do your housework by.'

"Even though we had confidence in ourselves, Eno knows how to make people do things they would think impossible. He's very disciplined.

"On the last album he turned us from complete novices to naturals in the studio. He had all the black bohemian receptionists and typing people in the studio 'cause he had a crush on one. David said we should call the album Tina And The Typing Pool!"