Chris Frantz looks back at Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club & more in new memoir
Chris Frantz, drummer for Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club, has just released a memoir titled Remain in Love: Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club, Tina, that's out today via St. Martin's Press. As the title suggests, it's told through the lens of his relationship with Tina Weymouth, from their days at RISD, the '70s NYC punk scene, their first show at CBGB, their rocky relationship with frontman David Byrne, Talking Heads' rise and fall, The Tom Tom Club, touring with the Ramones, and more.
Stereogum has an excerpt from the book about how Frantz, Weymouth and David Byrne were invited by Lou Reed to to come back to his place after one of Talking Heads' early shows. "We were amused that his apartment was located on the Upper East Side near Bloomingdale’s," he recalls, and here's more:
Tina, David, and I sat on Lou’s very ordinary 1960s modern couch and he sat on the floor. He was alternately sweet and acerbic. The first thing he said to us was, “It’s, like, cool you have a chick in the band. Wonder where you got that idea?” He then proceeded to critique our set that night and also those of other bands he’d seen recently, namely the Patti Smith Group and Television. He liked what we were doing, but fixated on a song called “Tentative Decisions” over all the others. He loved the words but felt the tempo was much too fast and that if it were played more slowly it would convey a deeper feeling. I’m sure he was right about that, and in future performances and recordings we did slow it down a little, although probably not as much as he would have liked, because at this point our audiences responded best to uptempo numbers, not slow ones.
Lou got up and walked to the kitchen and fetched a quart of Häagen-Dazs ice cream from the refrigerator. He brought it back and sat down again, cross-legged on the bare hardwood floor, when he said out loud to himself, “I’m gonna need a spoon for this.” Tina volunteered to get him one, and when she opened the kitchen drawer realized that there was only one bent and blackened spoon in the place. With a slight grimace, she brought it over to Lou, who proceeded to eat the entire quart of ice cream right in front of us with that funky spoon. He didn’t offer us any ice cream or anything else. It must have been four o’clock in the morning. Lou seemed like he was just waking up.
Meanwhile, one of the back-of-the-book quotes is from Bill Murray: "From the first time I saw Talking Heads live (CBGB, 1976), I've had a huge thing for Tina Weymouth. And since then I've been biding my time, waiting for the right moment to make my move. But after reading Remain in Love by Chris Frantz, it's become pretty clear to me that she's already in a relationship (see pages xi, 3, 33-34, etc.), and what's more, it looks to be serious (pages 41, 43-48, and especially 147). But you know something? That's OK. I'm happy for Tina, and for Chris, a great drummer who has written a great book."
Chris also reads the audiobook version of Remain in Love.
On Thursday (7/23) at 7 PM ET there is a virtual book launch via Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures (Chris is a Pittsburgh native) where he'll talk about the memoir with WESA’s Bill O’Driscoll. You'll need to preorder Remain in Love for this one too (and your copy will be autographed).
David Byrne's American Utopia performance film, directed by Spike Lee, will premiere on HBO September 10.