Wednesday, September 24, 2014
I Stop Making Sense Thirty Years After Everyone Else
Believe it or not, I just saw Stop Making Sense for the first time. Obviously, I was never a hardcore fan of Talking Heads, but I liked what I heard on the radio and their videos back when. But I discovered the These Things Matter podcast a couple of weeks ago and listened to their Talking Heads episode wherein they convinced me to watch the movie. They were right about it. This film is pretty incredible.
Some observations: I never realized how danceable Talking Heads music was. I know that sounds stupid, but I have to hear a whole bunch of something in a pile in order to pick up on these things. For instance, I never realized how country the Eagles were until I heard one of their "best of" tapes. I know that sounds even more stupid.
If you didn't know Talking Heads' songs were so danceable by listening, you could just watch them on stage and pick that up. I've never seen a band with so much energy, and I used to go to a lot of heavy metal concerts in a former life. Old, fat me watched this movie and said to The Boy, "If I was up there on stage, after the fifth song I'd have to say, 'I'm gonna go sit down over there. You guys finish the show without me.'" On top of the normal energy was the entertainment value of David Byrne's funky moves, which weren't spontaneous, but definitely courageous and inventive.
During a Byrne break, we got that one Tom Tom Club song, which was good fun. And speaking of the Toms, Tina Weymouth knows how to lay down a groove, y'all. She's not a flashy bass player, but she finds the pocket and swings there. It's unusual in a live show to hear the bass cranked up like it is in Stop Making Sense, but again, there's the dancey thing. If you're not a riff band, your danciness comes from the rhythm section and this band knows it. I can't really speak to Chris Frantz' drumming because I'm a former bass player and bassing is what I listen to. I know all you bass players out there are saying, "If you were a good bass player, you'd be listening to the drums!" To that I answer, I never said I was a good bass player. Ha! Tied you up with your own logic!
If you're my age and you're into Talking Heads, you've already seen this movie. But maybe you're not my age, and you thought the band was kind of okay, but never really checked them out. Go get this film watch it with some friends. Make a party of it. It's a hell of a good time. I rented the DVD, but I imagine I'll have to buy a copy now.