Thirty years ago the world first grooved to one of the most legendary dance tracks of ’em all, “Genius of Love”. The band behind the genius, founding Talking Heads members Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, have been performing and recording as Tom Tom Club for the past three decades, bringing the funk wherever they may go. However, for the last 10 years, things have been relatively quiet in the Clubhouse…That’s about to change big time.
Tom Tom Club are celebrating their 30th anniversary in style. They are kicking the festivities off this Tuesday with their first major television appearance since the ’80s on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, followed the next night by their return to Irving Plaza, the venue that, as Talking Heads, they were first to christen in the name of rock ‘n’ roll. What’s more, there are signs of life in their newly remodeled studio, a recently released live and remix compilation, and talks of a spring and summer festival tour. CoS reporter Cap Blackard had a chance to chat with legendary beatsmith Chris Frantz as he dusted off his rhythm section for the big return…
It’s been 10 years since the last studio album…What’s the last decade been like for you?
Do you guys have anything special planned for the Irving Plaza show?
Are you dusting off any tracks that you haven’t played in a while?
What’s the scope of your new tour going to be?
It’s really exciting to hear that there’s some new music on the way… What else is in the works?
Tina once said that you formed Tom Tom Club just to put food on the table. What was life like back in 1981?
The influence of “Genius of Love” is always talked about and all the samples that have been derived from it. What’s your favorite?
“Genius of Love” always gets the spotlight, but do you have a personal favorite Tom Tom Club track?
Tom Tom Club’s second album, Close to the Bone, didn’t get a reissue or CD release until recently with the Deluxe Edition of your first album. What took so long?
I’d like to talk a bit about The Heads. How did the project get rolling?
In Ian Gilchrist’s essay included in the Deluxe Edition of Tom Tom Club, he mentioned that there was an entire second Heads album that was recorded but never released…
Unlike the first Heads album, the second album had one vocalist, Jimmy Helms of Londonbeat. What kind of role did he take on as a vocalist?
Recently, Peter Gabriel recorded the Talking Heads track “Listening Wind” as part of his Scratch My Back / And I’ll Scratch Yours project. When he announced that the original artists were going to perform covers of his tracks, David Byrne was the only Talking Heads member who participated. Did he contact the rest of the band?
This year you started doing a radio program, Chris Frantz The Talking Head, on WPKN in Bridgeport. What got you started doing a radio show?
You and Tina are an iconic couple in the music world. What’s it like having both a life partner and a bandmate?
When did funk first find its way into your life?
When you’re in the zone, playing live or in the studio, what sort of things go on in your head?
What are some essential albums you’d recommend to a young person to learn about funk?
Tom Tom Club will be performing on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Tuesday night, followed by their landmark return to Irving Plaza this Wednesday.