There was an interesting article about David Byrne in today’s (January, 30th) Wall Street Journal. Yes, I get much of my information about the current music scene, or at least a portion of it, from the WSJ. Perhaps it says something about me, I’ll admit to being almost 50, but I will argue that I’ve never been mislead by this particular source.
At any rate, Byrne, the former front man for The Talking Heads, has recently released two albums, “The Knee Plays”, a collection of interludes that he wrote for the opera “CIVIL warS“, and “Live in Austin”, a concert CD from his 2001 tour. Although Jerry Bilek and other close readers of this blog know that I’ve been a big fan of that band since 1977, my senior year in high school, this post is not about Byrne’s impressive history of creativity.
Rather, I want to talk about his 1983 trip to New Orleans. He commented, “It was inspiring to hear great music that people were dancing to…”, including jazz classics, New Orleans funk, and vintage TV scores. He lamented that “jazz had been removed from the dance hall” and become “concert hall music”. He concluded, “It’s as if you were being scolded and told not to dance, and I thought that’s betraying part of what music is all about.” I thought it was a great perspective on jazz music, funky dancing, and barriers to expression.
Speaking of Jerry Bilek, and other crazy commuters, like Brian Kenknight of Fine Groove, he also talked about being a bike rider in New York City. Apparently, it’s become much easier since he started back in the ’70s. He doesn’t want to preach about the moral or political correctness of riding a bike, however. Byrne says, “I’d rather advocate something on the basis that it’s fun and feels good.” I appreciate that statement too.