David Byrne: How architecture helped music evolve

I’ll build a house- of paper
Covered with words I can read

“Lighthouse” by David Byrne


David Byrne: How architecture helped music evolve

In my essays I like to create quirky analogies between the architecture and other totally unrelated fields. I have compared architecture to rock-n-roll, Middle East politics and even stock trading. Sometimes in such unexpected parallels an unexpected truth might be found…

It’s getting even more interesting and twisted once such a comparison comes from a person with completely different background. Especially if this person is a legendary musician, a flamboyant rock star David Byrne.

When I was a kid “Talking Heads” and their extravagant frontman were my rock idols. “Psycho Killer”, “Burning down the House”, “Like Humans Do”, “Once in a lifetime”… I don’t think you can forget this. Now as a grown-up professional I have enjoyed Mr. Byrne’s speech just as much as I enjoy his music. It’s funky, cool, smart, informative. Tremendous sense of humor. Solid educational background. Original ideas. And music, music in every word, music above everything… But, hey, what else would you expect. It’s David Byrne…



♦ ♦ ♦

P.S. Don’t watch TV. Ignore those stupid shows please. Spend next 16 minutes listening to David Byrne’s speech on TED. The guy is talking about music and architecture. And the guy knows what he’s talking about. And once you’re done listening and feel yourself smart, enjoy his music. Still cool and relevant. And so freakishly different. No doubt about that…



7 Responses to “David Byrne: How architecture helped music evolve”
  1. Spiros says:

    It must have been 1980 when I got my first Talking Heads vinyl. I was also at their Athens concert at July 1982. Still I find Byrne’s work (audio & visual) very innovative. I think the band’s name was taken from the TV speakers (talking heads on screen). Since I always had at home a TV set without an antenna, just only for video watching, I’m one of those who don’t actually recognize the real talking heads, a fact that sounds rather weird for the most of the people around.

    • Albert says:

      Lucky you. Live “Talking Heads” in ’82… Wow!
      I was at Pink Floyd’s concert in ’88 in Moscow… It has nothing to do with architecture… just wanted to counter-balance somehow 🙂 That show was one of the greatest impressions in my life…

      • Spiros says:

        I’ve seen old guys Steppenwolf back at 1980 (I was just 14), also Eric Burdon, joe Cocker, Eric Clapton, Clash, Nina Hagen, Stranglers, Residents until middle 80s. What a pity I missed Rory Gallagher at 1981…
        Pink Floyd’s concert in Athens I think it was at 1989 and it was really great as far as I know from people they’ve been there, because although that they’re between my favorites for nearly 35 years (also among my first vinyls together with Led Zeppelin and Jethrotull) that special time I wasn’t actually in the mood for them. But I was at an audio-laser show in New York’s Planetarium at 1993 for the 20th anniversary of Dark Side of the Moon which was nothing really special at all (just the show, because the album is a masterpiece).
        I’ve enjoyed very much small scale concerts like Anne Clark or Nits (I’ve seen the Dutch guys 3 times) or …yes believe it, John Mayall in Athens.
        Sorry for going too far but I understand that at Archi Alternative we can talk about music too, that’s why it is called “Alternative” 🙂

        • Albert says:

          You got it damn right, bro. I’m happy to talk here about anything as long as it’s cool and original. And your musical preferences are definitely super cool. (Man, I wish I could see Clash back in 80s… but hey… as a teen I’ve seen Metallica in ’88)

          And by the way “Archi” does not necessarily stand for architecture. Given your Greek background you know what Hellenistic άρχι really stands for… So there are many interpretations to ArchiAlternative ; and I would prefer the widest one…

          P.S. You probably have seen my weird essay about rock-music and architecture:
          “Architecture and Rock-n-Roll are dead.” Just in case…

    • i was at that concertoo Spiros , was it in the Panathanikos stadium ? I remember it was really fucking crazy atmosphere with a lot of fights and bottles gettnig thrown. Great gig though and Byne and the band were just ducking the bottles and playing on

  2. Lavern says:

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