The Talking Heads are one of my all-time favorite bands and everything from ‘77 through Remain in Light are, in my opinion, essential listening. Even the last three albums hold enough good stuff to make them recommended listening. Covering the Heads is a tricky proposition as the albums, particularly the ones produced with Brian Eno, have a quirky quality that defies simple interpretation. Add to this the band’s reputation as a live act. While this was most famously captured in Stop Making Sense, I’d argue that their earlier double live album, The Name Of This Band Is the Talking Heads, captured the more loose and energetic qualities of the band in a live setting much better (no doubt helped by the phenomenal guitar work of Adrian Belew on the second LP). So, covering the Talking Heads would seem to me to be a daunting task but Buxton is going to take a shot Friday night at the Continental Club as part of 29-95’s False Idols series. We set out to get the scoop from a cagey Jason Willis who didn’t want to spoil the surprise but our efforts at trying to make him crack were not without pay-off. Read on.
I heard tell that you guys were originally going to give Springsteen’s Nebraska the full band treatment. Is that true if so, why the change?
Jason – I think we eventually came to an agreement that even though Springsteen is well known, Nebraska is not the album that the majority of people know him for. We just didn’t think it would translate well to a crowd coming to see a band play Springsteen. So we scrapped that idea. We also considered Wings.
Why did you guys pick Talking Heads? It’s not a band I would think would be a big influence on y’all.
Jason – Talking Heads just happens to be a band that we frequently listen to and enjoy while on tour. We didn’t want to cover a band that has a similar sound to what we already play and with the heavy electronic/new wave/funk elements of Talking Heads; it just seemed like a good direction to go. We also wanted something that would be a challenge for us. The core of a lot of their songs are simple and even repetitive at times but when you really listen to some of the small details that are present around that core, you realize there’s a lot going on. Honestly, the songs that we thought would be the easiest have proven to be the most difficult.
OK well tell us about the show – any details you want to share?
Jason – We’ve got a few surprises in store. We’re looking forward to it.
Well, what era Talking Heads will you be channeling? The early stripped down era, the more weirdsie Eno era, or the latter day more poppy heads?
Jason – I think it’s a good mix of all.
Can you tell us a few of the songs in the set list?
Jason – Well, I don’t wanna talk about songs because we kinda wanna keep the set list a surprise.
Hmmm. Weeeeellll….What’s your favorite Talking Heads album and song why?
Jason – I don’t really have a favorite.
Will you be incorporating any of the band member’s side projects into the set or will it be simply straight Heads?
Jason – We may.
Man, you can’t even give us one little detail about what you have planned?
Jason – Haha. Sorry.
Even for Omar? Couldn’t you at least give us a hint as to what to expect?
Jason – Think G.G. Allin meets Cirque du Soleil.
Yeahyusss!!! Got that folks? When you find yourself surrounded by acrobats and covered in blood and feces, just remember you read it here first!
Friday, August 24 – False Idols, featuring Buxton (as Talking Heads), JC & CO (ex-Voxtrot), LIMB, & Little Joe Washington @ The Continental Club (8pm Free 21+)