This Must Be the Place

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Harper Collins, Jun 2, 2009 - Music - 416 pages
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A fascinating glimpse behind the big suits
and deadpan looks to the heart and soul of a band
that made it big by playing it cool

With their minimalist beats, sophisticated lyrics, and stoic mien, the Talking Heads were indisputably one of the most influential and intriguing bands of their time. Rising from the ashes of punk and the smoldering embers of the disco inferno, they effectively straddled the boundaries between critical and commercial success as few other groups did, with music you could deconstruct and dance to at the same time.

Culture critic David Bowman tells the fascinating story of how this brain trust of talented musicians turned pop music on its head. From the band’s inception at the Rhode Island School of Design to their first big gig opening for the Ramones at CBGB, from their prominence in the worlds of art and fashion to the clash of egos and ideals that left them angry, jealous, and ready to call it quits, Bowman closely chronicles the rise and fall of a stunningly original and gloriously dysfunctional rock 'n' roll band that stayed together longer than anyone thought possible, and left a legacy that influences artists to this day.


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Page 30 - While it's not true that Camp taste is homosexual taste, there is no doubt a peculiar affinity and overlap. Not all liberals are Jews, but Jews have shown a peculiar affinity for liberal and reformist causes. So, not all homosexuals have Camp taste. But homosexuals, by and large, constitute the vanguard— and the most articulate audience— of Camp.
Page 254 - ... postmodern condition' as a form of nostalgia for a time when reality triumphed over artifice. For John Fiske, on the other hand, MTV is orgasm . . . No ideology, no social control can organise an orgasm. Only freedom can. All orgasms are democratic: all ideology is autocratic. This is the politics of pleasure.
Page 204 - My feel was always an Eastern feel, a spiritual thing. Take 'Standing In The Shadows Of Love'. The bass line has an Arabic feel. I've been around a whole lot of people from the East, from China and Japan. Then I studied the African, Cuban, and Indian scales. I brought all that with me to Motown.
Page 30 - Jews pinned their hopes for integrating into modern society on promoting the moral sense. Homosexuals have pinned their integration into society on promoting the aesthetic sense. Camp is a solvent of morality. It neutralizes moral indignation, sponsors playfulness.
Page 284 - ... Byrne became a musician. I mean, it all of a sudden required you to go back to those traditions, but all of this new knowledge required a total crossover. Like all of a sudden I watch movies, I watch TV, I know about Michelangelo, I'm into dance. All of a sudden I go back to a tradition, which is like making art objects or like making record albums. Surrender is about the pressure of being an artist. It is as if the artist really becomes essentially the worm in the bottom of the bottle of culture....
Page 6 - Heart and tongue. These two meats, they are the right meat, they are the important meat, and they are the bad meat. — Alhaji Ibrahim Abdulai Song of the Andoumboulou: 11 Bottom lip against my teeth like a rock but unsteady, stutters, "Fa..." as in fox, as in Fon, as in fate. Raffia skirt, straw hat, raw youth, shimmering leaflight. Shook me, made me shed my skin. Coarse "cloth" like Legba wore, rough skirt.

About the author (2009)

David Bowman is the biographer Talking Heads deserves. The Reader's Guide to Contemporary Authors says, "There's no writer quite like Bowman...He writes brazenly, without shame--the way a toddler runs in circles through the sprinkler, gleefully naked and free." He was shortlisted as one of Granta's "Best Novelists Under 40" and is the author of the novels Let the Dog Drive and Bunny Modern. As a journalist, Bowman has interviewed musicians as diverse as Lou Reed for the New York Times Magazine and Kris Kristofferson for Salon. Bowman lives in Manhattan. He has a wife. They have a dog.

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