Somebody Hit David Byrne With The Obvious Stick.

You’d think he’d have known this by now…


Here’s the old-guy rant:

Way back in 1977 I went to a concert at Salem State College in Massachusetts (I was a sophomore at Boston University at the time) to see a pretty hot regional group called the Pousette-Dart Band. They were great, but it was the opening act that really caught my attention. Three guys and a female bass player hauled all their own gear out on to the tennis court that was the stage of the day and proceeded to mystify – and electrify – the very small crowd. The lead singer looked like he was having a seizure most of the time, but the music was really good, if weird.

You guessed it, I saw the Talking Heads just before “Talking Heads: 77” came out. And I’ve been a big fan ever since, including the Tom Tom Club and all of David Byrne’s various solo excursions. Lately he’s been working with Web-merchandising his stuff, including a really interesting album of songs he recorded with Brian Eno. So today I get an email from The Man Himself (actually some robot sending emails to his list) offering the first chapter of a new product, a kind of E-book called The Bicycle Diaries. “Wow,” I thought, “this combines two of my favorite things – bicycles and David Byrne!” So I read more of the copy. When I got to the middle, though, a couple of sentences brought me to a screeching halt. To wit:

“I was thinking about the kind of radio show that NPR stations do from time to time, with background music, street sounds and other ambiences that help put the listener in the picture. So, I did one chapter (“New York”) as a test, with me reading, and though it took a lot longer to assemble than I expected…”

Bam. Jeez, Dave, ya THINK? Wow, creative work takes TIME. Anyone that has worked in the business for more than a few years realizes that you don’t get great creative instantly, but to hear that old trope come from David Byrne really stings.

This won’t stop me from recommending his stuff, though – you can listen to the first installment here. But really. If anyone should know better than this, it’s the man who gave us Psycho Killer.

Qu’est-ce que c’est?

Bruce A Johnson

Bruce A Johnson

A 1981 graduate of the Boston University College of Communication, Bruce A. Johnson got his first job in broadcast television at WFTV, an ABC affiliate in Orlando, FL. While there, he rose through the ranks from teleprompter operator to videographer, editor, producer and director of many different types of programming. It was in the early 1980’s that he bought his first computer – a Timex/Sinclair 1000 – a device he hated so much, he promptly exchanged it for an Atari 400. But the bug had bitten hard. In 1987, Johnson joined Wisconsin Public Television in Madison as a videographer/editor, and still works there to the present day. His responsibilities have grown, however, and now include research and presentations on the issues surrounding the digital television transition, new consumer technology and the use of public television spectrum in homeland security. He freelances through his company Painted Post MultiMedia, and has written extensively for magazines including DV and Studio Monthly.