Talking Heads Members Discuss How They Started Out As a Cover Band at the Rhode Island School of Design

While appearing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to promote the 4K release of the Jonathan Demme film Stop Making Sense, the members of Talking Heads, namely David Byrne, Jerry Harrison, Chris Frantz, and Tina Weymouth, collectively recalled how they started off as a cover band at Rhode Island School of Design. Frantz talks about how the band was formed and what songs they covered during those days.

I had this idea we should form a band to entertain our friends and I met David and he was into that idea. And some other friends joined in and we were a cover band. The sole purpose was to entertain our friends, you know. …we did a whole eclectic mix. We did Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. We did the early Who, like “I Can’t Explain.” we did the Velvet Underground. We did Paul Revere and the Raiders.

Weymouth tells the story of how she ended up becoming their bass player.

Well, they really needed a bass player and nobody would join them. .. I just thought oh, god. These guys. They are so amazing and they are so creative. And we had a chemistry. It was very special. And so I braved it, even though it wasn’t the right thing to do probably. But I thought, I’ll just get them going, you know.

They also talked about playing CBGB in the early days and getting to know the other bands who shared their bill, such as The Ramones.

I went to see The Ramones. It was unbelievable…. This was in the early days when they would stop in the middle of a song and argue with each other. …To us, they were like performance art, act. I was unbelievable to us. And then came Patty Smith, and then came Television, and Mink DeVille, just all kinds of great bands.

Here are the other two segments from that interview.