Chris Frantz on Talking Heads: ‘David Byrne had a continual need to aggrandise himself’

Best new music books: Remain in Love by Chris Frantz, America the by Jude Warne and My Confessional by former X-Factor hope Janet Devlin

The Talking Heads: Jerry Harrison, David Byrne, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth. Photograph:  Benno Friedman/LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images

The Talking Heads: Jerry Harrison, David Byrne, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth. Photograph: Benno Friedman/LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images

The name of the band is Talking Heads, the NYC outfit inspired from the mid-1970s onwards by punk and funk, yet which embraced such individuality they didn’t sound like anyone else. Remain in Love: Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club, Tina by Chris Frantz (White Rabbit, £20), is an insider’s account of the band’s formation and music, the author’s long-standing relationship with the group’s former bassist, Tina Weymouth, their dual position in another successful group, Tom Tom Club, and, hilariously, co-producing a Happy Mondays album (Yes Please!) in Barbados.

It’s more than just about these, however, but also Frantz’s opportunity to calmly comment on the nature of David Byrne’s perceived leadership of the band. One of the best asides is when he notes Byrne’s “seemingly continual need to aggrandise himself at the expense of his collaborators, as if their contributions were not as important as his”. With these observations (they veer between straightforward, sardonic and bemusing) it’s clear that Frantz is less interested in settling scores than setting the record straight, and because of this Remain in Love comes across as perceptive and not precious or pernickety.

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