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David Byrne admits regrets over breakup of Talking Heads

'I was more of a little tyrant'

By Joe Goggins

Byrne dug out his iconic big suit to promote A24's restoration of 'Stop Making Sense'. (Photo: YouTube)

David Byrne has admitted that he regrets the way he handled the breakup of Talking Heads, days after it was confirmed that the members will reunite for a Q&A.

The group’s former frontman is currently doing the press rounds for his Broadway musical, Here Lies Love, and in an interview with PEOPLE, admitted some fault for the acrimonious dissolution of the art rock icons in 1991. “As a younger person, I was not as pleasant to be around. When I was working on some Talking Heads shows, I was more of a little tyrant,” he said. “And then I learned to relax, and I also learned that collaborating with people, both sides get more if there’s a good relationship instead of me telling everybody what to do.”

“I think [the breakup] wasn’t handled well,” he continued. “It was kind of ugly.” The announcement of the band’s end came in December 1991 and caught drummer Chris Frantz by surprise; he only learned of it by reading about it in the Los Angeles Times. “As far as we’re concerned, the band never really broke up,” he latter said. “David just decided to leave.”

The group reunited in 2002 to perform at their inauguration ceremony to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, performing a four-song set fraught with palpable tension. There had been little sign of a thaw in relations since, especially after Frantz failed to paint Byrne in a flattering light in his 2020 memoir, Remain in Love. Accordingly, fans were surprised to hear earlier this week that all four members will sit down with director Spike Lee, who captured Byrne’s American Utopia residency on Broadway in his concert film of the same name in 2020, to discuss the legacy of Stop Making Sense.

The legendary concert film, which was directed by the late Jonathan Demme, captured the Heads at their incendiary best in December 1983. It is now being re-released by A24 in a 4K restoration, with one-off IMAX screenings around the world planned for September 11. Byrne, Frantz, bassist Tina Weymouth and guitarist Jerry Harrison will discuss the show with Lee on the same date at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.

Now, Byrne’s voicing of his regrets has fans daring to dream of what once felt impossible: a true Heads reunion. “I have regrets on how that was handled. I don’t think I did it in the best way, but I think it was kind of inevitable that would happen anyway,” he told PEOPLE. “We have a cordial relationship now. We’re sort of in touch, but we don’t hang out together.”