Great article in the New York Times this weekend, tracing the evolution of the Talking Head from an “archetypal nerve-racked data-age persona” to the “mellow,” show-going, approachable multi-media artist he is today. In support of the saintly tag the NYT gave him, they say:

Perhaps more surprising is that while Mr. Byrne has been busy being a curator, sculpturing, drawing, mounting theatrical pieces about deposed foreign leaders and buying shoes, he has also become, without fanfare or Talking Heads reunion tours, perhaps the single greatest influence on the current generation of indie rockers. Four of the most hotly anticipated CDs of 2007 ? by the Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, !!! and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah ? are coming from bands that, each in its individual way, show a clear stylistic debt to Mr. Byrne and his old group.

And in support of the old David, they point to this skittish interview with Letterman in ’81. But now the man commands respect for his “can-do attitude,” his voracious appetite for new music, and his artistic embrace of blogging and technology. Said Win Butler:

“He?s just kind of pursued what he finds interesting and hasn?t been specifically chasing after an audience, and I have a lot of respect for that … I don?t think of him as a pop star, really. He?s like a scientist, or a professor.”

And as we know, the man makes plenty of appearances at NYC rock shows. He told NYT:

“Sure, I go out a lot, he said. “I?m in New York, and I?m a music fan. But sometimes I go out to these shows and I go ?Where are my peers?,? you know? Where are the musicians from my generation, or the generation after mine? Don?t they go out to hear music? Do they just stay home? Are they doing drugs? What?s going on??

He laughed and shook his head. ?Or maybe they?re just not interested anymore. They?re watching ?Desperate Housewives.? ?

His intellectual peers? Maybe they really are scientists and professors. The Times mentioned David spottings at Cat Power, Gnarls Barkley, and Otto, so let’s make it a game. Give us your favorite Byrne sighting. (Yes, narrow it down to one, stalkers.)

Comments (23)
  1. Caroline  |   Posted on Jan 15th, 2007 0

    Spotted him at the launch party for Chris Anderson’s “The Long Tail” back in July. Yes, he had a bike helmet attached to his bag.

  2. I spotted him at Jenny Lewis at Town Hall.

  3. Paulo  |   Posted on Jan 15th, 2007 0

    I didnt spot him, but I think is great when people go out and have fun -no matter what age they have. That’s the point.

  4. jsh  |   Posted on Jan 15th, 2007 0

    HEy i know its off topic but could i get an oink invite.


  5. nick  |   Posted on Jan 15th, 2007 0

    whenever i see him i always think it’s Jim Jarmusch at first glance, get stoked, then realize its David Byrne and become even more stoked.

    i was walking down Clinton street once, saw him and some friends eating dinner in that weird window-display table at the restaraunt with floor to ceiling glass. cant remember the name of it.

  6. jed2  |   Posted on Jan 15th, 2007 0

    Pixies at that huge place near Penn Station, up in one of the side balconies, was that 04′? After the show, a bunch of people, including me, started quietly shouting- “hey David”, and he kind of smiled shyly and waved, like the Queen or something. It was cute.

    I love that man. I don’t know where the fuck his peers are, either.

  7. I see this guy ALL the time. So much so that we have begun to do the nod of acknowledgement when we see eachother. My favorite though was 3 years ago at Yo La Tengo’s 8 Nights of Hanukkah at Maxwell’s. He stood next to me the whole performance and then at the end of the performance he just hopped up on stage and played a set with the band.

  8. Yeah, totally at the Pixies show at Hammerstein in ’04! I think the random-est though was seeing him in line for Pink at Webster Hall on 3rd Ave. I don’t know if he was just talking to people or actually standing in line, but I almost dropped my Chinese takeout and was subsquently smiling for the rest of the night.

  9. wendy  |   Posted on Jan 15th, 2007 0

    I saw him at a Benjy Ferree/Adem show at Joe’s pub last November. He’s very approachable and personable. Thought I must admit, I met him years ago at a show in Detroit and when I shook his hand, it went limp in my hand like a cold, dead fish, which was kind of unnerving.

  10. Finchmeister  |   Posted on Jan 15th, 2007 +1

    Doesn’t David Byrne show up drunk to every Clap Your Hands show?

  11. nol  |   Posted on Jan 15th, 2007 0

    first spotted him at a soundlab show (remember that?) in the mid nineties…. just sitting at the bar, surrounded by two beautiful women … i was way to high and intimidated to say hello. he seemed like he was digging the music + scene.

    then a few years ago i finally got a chance to work with him on a project — and like everyone says, he was totally nice, approachable, very decent man. told me stories about the break-up of TH, and clearly still felt a little upset by the way everything went down.

  12. I met him at a Lucinda Williams show in San Diego. Bill Murray was complimenting my (ex)boyfriend’s hat, Byrne was playing the next day so he came to check out the show and venue and walked up on our chat at the merch table. He asked me if Lucinda’s CD “Car Wheels..” was any good. Random.

  13. Loren  |   Posted on Jan 15th, 2007 0

    if Byrne is indie rock’s patron saint, what does that make Bowie–Jesus? God?

    Haven’t spotted Byrne at any shows myself, but Bowie was in attendance at TV on the Radio this spring at Bowery Ballroom, and played the encore with Arcade Fire at summerstage in ’05. He’s my concert pixie….

  14. saw him at the Beck/Jamie Lidell show at Irving Plaza. and yes, he had his bicycle helmut in tow. after the show, while every lame ass brooklyn and LES poseur was on their cell phone and smoking outside, david was just looking a little out of place….. so he fit his helmut over his head, hopped on his bike, and rode away into the night. no doubt to curate something.

    people can learn a thing or two from that dude. he’s a genius.

  15. Richie  |   Posted on Jan 15th, 2007 0

    “No doubt to curate something”.. :-) Brilliant! Yeah, David Byrne is awesome, pop music could do with some more intellectual Renaissance-men types these days.

  16. I once saw DB walking out of a Thai restaurant in Studio City. He got into an old yellow Citroen car and dashed off into the afternoon.

    Where are his peers? What peers? He was the best of his time. Remain in Light … pure genius.

  17. AnalogBass  |   Posted on Jan 15th, 2007 0

    A few years ago my wife and I were at Mogwai at Warsaw and David Byrne stepped on my wife’s foot. She didn’t mind it one bit.

  18. jeebis  |   Posted on Jan 16th, 2007 0

    all right — nobody said it but i will. DB’s visual artwork is pretty “eh”. the only reason that anyone cares about it is because he’s a legendary musician. speaking of that, has anyone out there listened to any of his records since Rei Momo (1989)? i’m not trying to knock the guy, but as an artist, he peaked around 1983…

  19. Ryan  |   Posted on Jan 16th, 2007 0

    Peaked? The first song on his last album (“Glass, Concrete & Stone” from Grown Backwards) is one of the best songs he’s ever written.

    His last two albums have been rich and cliche-free and so so enjoyable. I’d say he’s very much still an important musical figure with something to say in a way no one else is saying it.

    It’s so easy (and tempting) to write someone off these days claiming they’ve “peaked” or become “irrelevant” but so often I feel that it says more about the person saying it than the artist they’re trying to bury with their words.

  20. Snck  |   Posted on Jan 18th, 2007 0

    I once saw him throwing piss on Mars Volta! Nah I’m only kidding. David is cool. To cool for school… but not to cool to curate…

  21. “all right — nobody said it but i will. DB’s visual artwork is pretty “eh”. the only reason that anyone cares about it is because he’s a legendary musician”

    They’re saying it … read our review of Arboretum at The Open Critic [ ]… not that the reviewer is saying he’s peaked … just that the only reason anyone payed attention to the book is because Byrne is Byrne …

    I’m guessing the sentiment goes a little deeper than what you’ll find admitted to on fan sites.

    Regards, PW

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