Talking Heads’ drummer and Tom Tom Club co-founder Chris Frantz, 62, danced to Lou Reed at his 21st, Fleetwood Mac at his wedding, and says nobody gets a party started like James Brown
Chris Frantz (drums) and his wife Tina Weymouth (bass) were the rhythmic backbone of Talking Heads and went on to form Tom Tom Club in 1981. The pair recently collaborated with Gorillaz and now are back on tour with Tom Tom Club, playing six UK dates in June, including an appearance at Glastonbury.
What is the first pop or rock track that you remember?
‘Hound Dog’ by Elvis Presley. I was singing it around our house and my mother said, “Hush, Chris. That Elvis Presley is so vulgar”.
What track do you associate with your first kiss?
I doubt that it was really my first kiss, but the first kiss I can remember was at a Junior High School party and the song on the record player was ‘Downtown’ by Petula Clark. I have always felt good when I hear that song.
With your 21st birthday?
On my 21st birthday, my favourite song was ‘Walk On The Wild Side’ by Lou Reed. I loved it and recognised all the characters in the song even though I had never met them in real life. A few years later I did meet Lou Reed and he did not disappoint.
With your wedding?
When Tina and I were married down in Kentucky 1977 we didn’t hire a band. We only had a record player at the reception and on that turntable was Fleetwod Mac’s Rumours. The track of the day was ‘You Make Loving Fun’. Tina and I are about to celebrate our 36th anniversary and we still have more than our share of fun.
With your 50th birthday?
On my 50th birthday the track of the day was ‘A Funky Good Time’ by James Brown. Nobody gets a party started like James Brown.
What track would you want at your funeral?
At my funeral folks can play whatever they want, but if I have to choose I would request ‘Genius Of Love’ by Tom Tom Club.
What is your ‘falling in love’ track?
My utmost falling in love track is ‘Let’s Get It On’ by Marvin Gaye. With that song you cannot lose.
Your ‘road’ track?
My fave road track is ‘I Get Around’ by The Beach Boys. I really identified with that song when I first started driving and I still get bugged driving up and down the same old strip.
What track evokes your parents?
My parents had a great collection of Calypso 78s. ‘Matilda’ by Harry Belafonte was a big hit, but my father used to sing along with the record by the Trinidadian calypsonian known as Lord Caresser and the song was ‘Love Alone (That Caused King Edward to Leave The Throne)’.
What track would you leave to your children?
I think that would be ‘This Must Be The Place’ by our little band Talking Heads. It’s a reassuring song and my boys really like the drum sound.
Like those? Try these
There’s no way it’ll match Lou Reed’s doo-do-doo classic, but fellow New Yorker Adam Green’s ‘Buddy Bradley’ is a similarly rough-around-the-edges, groove-driven character tale… For such a romantically combustible band, Fleetwood Mac wrote some pretty great love songs. Taking the Mac’s melodic baton and running with it currently are Haim, whose ‘Falling’ got everyone harking back to those Rumours days… The Beach Boys will forever sound great blasting from a car stereo, but skip forward to 2013 and the much-hyped Jagwar Ma are bringing that road-trip-friendly, psych-laced harmony back on ‘Come Save Me’… Any calypso memories will come racing back on hearing the new album from steel pan veteran Fimber Bravo. Try the tender ‘The Way We Live Today‘ for starters… Finally, cover versions rarely better the originals, but they can often highlight just how good a song is. With that in mind, Chris could take a listen to Strand of Oaks’ soothing take on ‘This Must Be The Place’ (although it lacks his drumming prowess).
As part of its European tour, Tom Tom Club is appearing in Britain at the ATP festival, curated by Deerhunter, at Camber Sands, Sussex, on 22 June; followed by the 100 Club, London (24), Thekla, Bristol (25), Brudenell Social Club, Leeds (27), Glastonbury Festival (28) and Eden Project, Cornwall (29)
Video: Talking Heads ‘Burning Down The House’, 1983
Video: Tom Tom Club ‘Wordy Rappinghood’