Talking Heads Reveal Favourite 'Stop Making Sense' Songs and the Origins of That Big Suit at TIFF Reunion

A once-in-a-lifetime affair

BY Sydney BrasilPublished Sep 12, 2023

The unimaginable happened in Toronto yesterday (September 11) when Talking Heads reunited at the world premiere of A24's Stop Making Sense restoration. The famously feudy bunch squashed their beef for a Q&A moderated by Spike Lee — an affair so awkwardly funny it was wholesome.

Lee implied that there was a lot of love visible throughout the concert film, to which the band seemed to agree. It was at least somewhat believable that the hatchet has been buried, especially as the four of them spoke about their favourite tracks from the movie.

Drummer Chris Frantz was the first to give a concrete answer, but not without tooting his own horn a little. "Tom Tom Club is cool. I wish I kept my mouth shut a little bit more," he said of "Genius of Love," to which the crowd erupted in laughter. 

He continued with his real answer: "I'm gonna say, 'Once in a Lifetime,' because it's like going to church, and it's very moving to me. And it's got a power that many other bands and songs never achieve."

Bandleader David Byrne agreed with Frantz, saying he thinks "Once in a Lifetime" is "amazing" because of the way it was filmed. "It's almost one shot," he said. "Not the whole thing, but almost. One shot meant Jonathan [Demme, director]'s decision in place. So why cut away until we have to?"

Guitarist Jerry Harrison delivered with the fan favourites, citing "Life During Wartime." "It's like where the movie sort of takes off," he explained. "Like, if you haven't been dancing, you've got to get up and start dancing." He then said he's tied between that track and "Girlfriend Is Better." "It has this kind of, I don't know, unusual modern music to it. Every time I hear it, I'm like, 'God, I love that song.'"

Bassist Tina Weymouth was the only member to not list a specific song, claiming it would be like picking between her children. "I'm not going to go there. I love that show. It was magical. I mean, everything about it was so special. And love, that you're talking about [between] us and the audience, the teamwork, our crew, the film crew. It was all amazing."

Lee then took the opportunity to ask Byrne where the idea for his infamous big suit came from, and apparently, it was more than just about making his head look bigger:

It was in between tours. And I was thinking, "What are we going to do next? What am I gonna do next? Maybe I should rethink what we wear on stage." And I was having dinner in Japan after we finished the tour, and this Japanese designer there said, "Well, David, in the theatre, everything is bigger than real life." He's referring to like, gestures, and you sing louder, and all that. And I'm thinking, "Oh, my suit should be bigger too."

So far, the only full video of the reunion Q&A online was recorded in a movie theatre. It's still a must-watch for any Talking Heads fan — check it out below.

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