Talking Heads Reunite for First Time in 21 Years for Screening of ‘Stop Making Sense’

The original four members of Talking Heads, David Byrne, Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz and Jerry Harrison, will reunite for the first time since 2002 for a live Q&A honoring the 40th anniversary of their concert film Stop Making Sense. The event will mark the first time all the band members have appeared together since their 2002 induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

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Moderated by director Spike Lee, the Q&A will take place at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on Monday (September 11), following a screening of the film, and be broadcast live in select IMAX theaters worldwide.

“To me, ‘Stop Making Sense’ has remained relevant because the staging and lighting techniques could have been created in a much earlier time period,” said Harrison of the film in a statement. “The absence of interviews, combined with the elegant and timeless lighting, created a film that can be watched over and over.”

To commemorate the rerelease of their 1984 concert film, the band is also releasing a reissue of the film soundtrack on August 18. The soundtrack features two previously unreleased live songs from the concert, originally filmed in 1983, including the recently released live version of “Cities,” which marks Talking Heads’ first new single in more than 30 years.

“We had done a live album before this [‘The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads,’ 1982], but coupled with the film, and with the improved mixes and sound quality, this record reached a whole new audience,” said David Byrne in a statement. “As often happens, the songs got an added energy when we performed them live and were inspired by having an audience. In many ways, these versions are more exciting than the studio recordings, so maybe that’s why a lot of folks discovered us via this record.”

Along with the expanded edition of the film soundtrack—mixed by Harrison and E.T. Thorngren, who also worked on the original release—the newly remastered 4K version of Stop Making Sense will also return to theaters on September 22.

Directed by Jonathan Demme, Stop Making Sense was a groundbreaking concert film at the time, and was inspired by a Talking Heads concert the filmmaker saw during the band’s 1983 tour for Speaking in Tongues. After approaching the band with the idea for the film, Demme filmed three shows at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood, California in December of 1983.

The concert film features a set of 18 songs from the band’s first six albums—from their 1977 debut Talking Heads: 77 through Speaking in Tongues—and opens with Byrne performing “Psycho Killer,” solo with a drum machine. Byrne is then joined by a new band member after each song, until the entire four members are on stage performing.

The band continues to expand beyond its core throughout the film with guitarist Alex Weir, keyboardist Bernie Worrell, percussionist Steve Scales, and backing singers Ednah Holt and Lynn Mabry.

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Stop Making Sense also features performances of the band’s top 10 single at the time, “Burning Down The House,” along with the now-iconic performance of Byrne performing “Girlfriend Is Better” while wearing his oversized suit inspired by traditional Japanese theater costumes. 

Nearly a decade after the release of the original film, Talking Heads broke up in 1991, following the release of their eighth and final album together, Naked, in 1988. Though they briefly reunited around their Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction, all four members have stated that a Talking Heads reunion is unlikely.

“It would be nice if it could happen because unlike many of our contemporaries,” said Frantz in 2020. “We’re all still alive.”

Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage

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