Speaker Box: Feel the Byrne
Once in a lifetime: Utopia in OKC
The first time I saw the Talking Heads was on “Saturday Night Live.” This was around 1978, after the band had released its second record. I liked them immediately because they looked like sheet metal mechanics who worked with my dad at Tinker Air Force Base, and the drummer reminded me of my Uncle Bob.
This was “blue collar, regular people” rock, and I could relate.
But, of course, things got weird a few years later, when the Heads had a huge breakout hit with the Stop Making Sense movie and LP. Tall, thinfrontman David Byrne commanded the stage in a gigantic suit – long before Sean Spicer – and the Talking Heads went off the rails from normal-looking, relatable people to “art rockers.” The Talking Heads also helped create a new genre called “world music,” mostly due to Byrne’s solo work and the efforts of Tom Tom Club, a side project of Heads Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz.
The Heads, like all great bands, broke up in the late 1980s, and they were fittingly inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. Byrne, however, remained a weird pop culture enigma. His solo career was all-encompassing, and explored percussion and performance art. He commands TED talks on positivity in the Trump Era and “reasons to be cheerful.” He designs bicycle racks, and even wrote a book about urban cycling.
His new record, “American Utopia,” is part of a multimedia project that includes his new tour, which is coming to the 405. The Criterion at 500 E Sheridan is hosting Byrne’s exclusive tour stop on April 25. To my knowledge, this is his first visit to OKC since the Talking Heads played the Zoo Amphitheater sometime in the 1980s. The tour will feature updated versions of Talking Heads material, and includes six percussionists and drummers. The band is constantly in motion, as the “human beings become the set,” as Bryne told Rolling Stone. This rare stop in our fair burg promises to be a “Once in a Lifetime” event. Tickets can be found at livenation.com.
► CD Bargain Looney Bins
I was at a fancy bookstore recently leafing through brand-new vinyl records. Yes, I just said that. I was appalled at the prices – why would anyone pay $21 for AC/DC’s “Back in Black”? You can find a warped, scratched version at any garage sale for $5. You want to play a record like this loud, anyway, so what does it matter if it skips or pops?
A couple of weeks later, I was killing time on the Interwebs, and I discovered that a lot of labels with legacy artists actually package their back catalog CDs for next to nothing. Atlantic offers the entire Foreigner catalog (seven albums) for less than $30. If you have a small pocket of change at your disposal, there’s a weird world of record hoarding that can be found online.
Journey, Loverboy and a whole slew of arena rock acts can be had on the cheap. You can buy Foghat’s entire catalog of 13 LPs for $50! You can get five of Eddie Money’s best LPs for $20, through CBS “Original Album Classics” bundles. This is better than a record club, or shopping at a smoky, dirty flea market!
► Boom Clap Charli
Who’s going to be the breakout star of 2018? I’m calling it. She’s a young singer/songwriter from England named Charli XCX. You probably sort of know her already. Her wonderful song “Boom Clap” was featured in the movie The Fault in Our Stars. Her songs are featured in commercials for Special K cereal and Toyota cars. She’s spending part of her 2018 opening for Taylor Swift on Swift’s “Reputation” American tour.
While she’s currently messing around with mixtapes, when she finally comes around to releasing the follow-up to 2014’s “Sucker” this year, she will be a bona fide star. Keep an eye on her.