Talking Heads were one of the most important and influential acts to emerge from the 1970s, yet the bandmembers’ relations since their split around a decade later have not been the most harmonious.
The group has reunited just once — when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002 — and frontman/main songwriter David Byrne has been on the receiving end of a long string of critical comments from former bandmates Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, who say that he deprived them of due credit and other opportunities and was generally unpleasant to work with. The two, a married couple, have enjoyed solo success as the Tom Tom Club and reformed the group without Byrne in the 1990s, releasing an album under the name the Heads after the singer took legal action to prevent them from using the band’s full name. In his autobiography released last year, “Remain in Love,” Frantz took aim at Byrne multiple times; Byrne has generally avoided comment on the situation, although he performs a large number of the hits he wrote with the group during his concerts and his recent award-winning Broadway show, “American Utopia.”
Thus, Wednesday’s announcement that the group will take the stage together again at the Toronto Film Festival does come as a surprise, even though they will not be performing but instead will participate in a Q&A about the re-release of their galvanizing 1984 concert film, “Stop Making Sense.” It is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest concert films ever made.
The Q&A, taking place Sept. 11, will be hosted by filmmaker Spike Lee, who directed the concert film of Byrne’s Broadway performance of “American Utopia.”
A24 recently acquired the rights to “Stop Making Sense,” which was directed by the late Jonathan Demme, and is releasing a 4K restoration of the film. That restoration will debut at TIFF, and subsequently will be livestreamed into IMAX theaters around the world.
The complete concert is also being released for the first time by Rhino, Warner Music’s catalog division, on Aug. 18.
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