Speaking Heads are, clearly, one of the storied bands in rock historical past. However alongside the best way, their story has solely actually been advised in interviews. No member of the band has gone in-depth, exploring their rise and historical past and eventual dissolution. That modifications at the moment with Stay In Love, the brand new memoir from former Heads drummer Chris Frantz.

Frantz’s ebook tells the story from his perspective: his upbringing, his artwork faculty days and assembly each Tina Weymouth and David Byrne, the three of them decamping to New York to a dingy loft a number of blocks from the hallowed CBGB. By Stay In Love, Frantz traces the earliest sparks of their music, to their downtown Manhattan origins, to their creative and inventive breakthroughs, to the eventual and considerably abrupt collapse of the band and what got here after. Within the meantime, a complete host of iconic characters seem — there are lunches with Andy Warhol, there are run-ins with everybody from Patti Smith to Debbie Harry to a random drunk Mick Jagger. It’s portrait of a legendary passage in rock and New York historical past, advised by somebody from one of many bands that made that period legendary to start with.

Whereas Frantz doesn’t essentially veer into the goriest or most scandalous instructions of different rock memoirs, there’s a good bit of brutal honesty alongside the best way. A number of very well-known folks present up, and never all of them are portrayed in essentially the most flattering gentle. That’s perhaps more true for David Byrne than anybody. All through, Frantz paints a pissed off, confused picture of the Speaking Heads frontman, repeatedly describing cases of Byrne stealing different folks’s concepts, dismissing his collaborators, or typically being unable to be an honest buddy. It may be a bit dispiriting to learn, even in the event you would possibly’ve had a way of all of it anyway due to the truth that Speaking Heads are one of many solely remaining nice bands which have refused to reunite.

But as its title suggests, Stay In Love isn’t all that enthusiastic about dwelling on grudges and betrayals. Slightly, the throughline that runs by means of the ebook is the connection between Frantz and Weymouth. From their preliminary assembly in artwork faculty, to Speaking Heads, to marriage and kids, to their very own triumphs in Tom Tom Membership, to nonetheless being collectively all these a long time later, the ebook traces their connection and establishes it on the core of all these twists and turns within the music trade in any other case. Stay In Love nonetheless skews nearer to a rock memoir than a private memoir, detailing every album’s recording and completely different scenes greater than the intricacies of Frantz and Weymouth’s personal lives. However the beating coronary heart all alongside the best way is that picture of Frantz and Weymouth, collectively by means of all of it.

At present, to have a good time the discharge of Stay In Love, we’re publishing an unique excerpt from the ebook. It arrives earlier of their story, throughout the band’s formative time in ’70s New York, and it incorporates a significantly notable character in Lou Reed. The erstwhile Velvet Underground frontman would seem once more in Frantz’s life, however that is the story of the primary time a younger, perhaps naive Speaking Heads got here throughout certainly one of their idols — and the considerably weird and head-scratching expertise they’d as soon as they did.


Within the early days of CBGB, Lou Reed was virtually an everyday. I had seen him at a few Patti Smith reveals and a few Tv reveals. It was a thrill to see him there. He later advised us, “I nonetheless discover issues,” and he did. To his credit score, he was one of many first and few stars to come back to CBGB to take a look at the brand new bands. The primary time I noticed him there I jumped over a number of tables and chairs to ask him for his autograph. The final time I’d requested any person for an autograph was President Eisenhower after I was only a child and my father took me to the dedication of Eisenhower Corridor at Valley Forge Army Academy. Lou, who was carrying aviator shades within the darkened membership at 2:00 a.m., signed the piece of paper after which turned on his heels and left.

So we have been virtually in awe when he appeared backstage at CBGB after certainly one of our early reveals. This was proper after his Coney Island Child album had been launched in December 1975 and I used to be taking part in that document loads in our loft on Chrystie Road. Lou invited us again to his place and gave us the handle. We have been amused that his residence was positioned on the Higher East Aspect close to Bloomingdale’s. We had not anticipated that. So we rapidly packed up our gear, took it again to our loft, after which headed uptown. I believe this was one of many few occasions we splurged on a taxi to get to his place as quickly as potential.

His constructing had a doorman and potted crops within the foyer. The doorman advised us that Lou was anticipating us, so up within the elevator we went. We knocked on his door and have been met for the primary time by Rachel Humphreys, who was Lou’s transgender girlfriend. Rachel mentioned nothing however waved us in. Apart from a sofa there was no furnishings. Lou mentioned, “That is Rachel. Have a seat.” Rachel seemed like type of a badass and was the primary transgender individual I knew. You may see that she was very protecting of Lou, however I assume she determined that we have been okay as a result of she went into the bed room and closed the door.

Tina, David, and I sat on Lou’s very odd 1960s trendy sofa and he sat on the ground. He was alternately candy and acerbic. The very first thing he mentioned to us was, “It’s, like, cool you have got a chick within the band. Surprise the place you bought that concept?” He then proceeded to critique our set that evening and in addition these of different bands he’d seen not too long ago, particularly the Patti Smith Group and Tv. He appreciated what we have been doing, however fixated on a tune known as “Tentative Choices” over all of the others. He cherished the phrases however felt the tempo was a lot too quick and that if it have been performed extra slowly it will convey a deeper feeling. I’m positive he was proper about that, and in future performances and recordings we did gradual it down a bit of, though most likely not as a lot as he would have appreciated, as a result of at this level our audiences responded finest to uptempo numbers, not gradual ones.

Lou obtained up and walked to the kitchen and fetched a quart of Häagen-Dazs ice cream from the fridge. He introduced it again and sat down once more, cross-legged on the naked hardwood flooring, when he mentioned out loud to himself, “I’m gonna want a spoon for this.” Tina volunteered to get him one, and when she opened the kitchen drawer realized that there was just one bent and blackened spoon within the place. With a slight grimace, she introduced it over to Lou, who proceeded to eat your entire quart of ice cream proper in entrance of us with that funky spoon. He didn’t provide us any ice cream or anything. It will need to have been 4 o’clock within the morning. Lou appeared like he was simply waking up.

CREDIT: Picture Courtesy Of Chris Frantz

In between bites, he advised David that he ought to by no means go onstage in a short-sleeved shirt as a result of his arms have been too furry. He ought to all the time put on long-sleeved shirts.

Lou Reed then advised us {that a} band was like a fist. It could possibly be very highly effective, however that the document firms would all the time attempt to manipulate and therapeutic massage one finger away from the others and break it off in order that they’d solely should take care of one particular person and never the entire band. I believed it was fascinating that he could be telling us this in gentle of his personal historical past with the Velvet Underground, however we didn’t actually know the entire story, so we stored quiet about it.

Lou talked and talked and we listened, typically in awe and typically in disbelief. In some unspecified time in the future Lou obtained up and went to his bookcase, which had just one ebook in it, The Physicians’ Desk Reference. He started to inform us what his favourite medicine had been and which of them he was having fun with these days, type of like once you look by means of the L.L. Bean catalog besides with capsules, capsules, capsules. He confirmed us the images of his numerous favorites, the uppers and the downers, and warned us concerning the hazards of every one.

Then, after instructing us a factor or two about Dilaudid, Lou steered all of us get one thing to eat. We took the elevator downstairs and, because the solar was rising, walked throughout the road to the diner now known as Eat Right here Now on Lexington Avenue. Tina and David and I had the early riser’s particular of bacon and eggs and hash browns, whereas Lou, our hero, ordered an enormous stack of pancakes with maple syrup. Lou was a thin man, however what a candy tooth he had!

After breakfast, we needed to get some sleep. As we mentioned our goodbyes, Lou insisted that we meet once more. He wished to debate producing our first album and he wished to introduce us to his supervisor. This was heady stuff for a band that had solely performed a number of reveals and have been new to New York Metropolis. After all, we advised him sure, we’d be completely happy to see him once more.

Lou’s supervisor, Jonny Podell, known as us to come back see him at his BMF Expertise Company workplace. Tina and David and I trekked as much as Jonny’s workplace in midtown close to the place we had our day jobs. He was a famend agent for Crosby, Stills, & Nash and Alice Cooper. His cute-looking secretary advised us to go proper in. Jonny was on the telephone speaking a mile a minute and motioned for us to take a seat. We sat throughout the desk from him. The room was very darkish. When the decision was completed he took a bit of vial of cocaine out of his shirt pocket and snorted two hits up every nostril after which, as an afterthought, provided us a toot. We politely declined. Jonny went on and on about how nice his shopper Lou Reed was and the way a lot Lou cherished Speaking Heads and so they wished to make a deal. He offered us with a contract and advised us to look it over. We mentioned that we might.

At first we thought, Wow, Lou Reed is providing to work with us. Implausible! Then we realized we wanted a lawyer to look over the contract. There was one lawyer named Peter Parcher who had been within the information loads these days. Peter had represented Keith Richards when Keith was busted with a amount of heroin in Canada. Peter managed to get Keith off with out jail time so he sounded good to us. I checked with my father, who mentioned Parcher was effectively revered, so I gave him a name. The subsequent day Tina, David, and I have been uptown sitting in Peter Parcher’s workplace. He launched his companion, Alan Shulman, and mentioned that Alan could be the proper man to look over the proposed deal for us.

I handed the contract to Alan, who acknowledged a giant drawback instantly. He mentioned, “This can be a commonplace manufacturing deal. I might by no means permit certainly one of my shoppers to signal this. Lou Reed and Jonny Podell would pay for the making of the document, however then they’d personal it. They might then promote the document to the very best bidder, it doesn’t matter what you need. In the event you had successful they’d revenue and you’ll get zilch.” I requested if there was any approach to negotiate the provide and he mentioned, “Look, Lou Reed’s status now’s when he will get up within the morning, he doesn’t know whether or not to take the bus or the aircraft. If his coronary heart was in the proper place, he by no means would have provided you this shitty deal within the first place. This sort of deal is the explanation that so many R&B artists might have had hit data however nonetheless don’t have a pot to piss in. I might stroll away and anticipate an actual document take care of an actual document firm.”

So we did stroll away, feeling a bit of unhappy however relieved we hadn’t made a giant mistake. We continued to go to Lou and nonetheless revered him and his work, however we might by no means once more consider doing enterprise with him.

CREDIT: Picture Courtesy Of Chris Frantz

Stay In Love is out at the moment. You should buy it right here.

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