“…David Byrne was not like other boys.
When he first heard Purple Haze, aged 14, the precocious future leader of Talking Heads informed his father that “the electric guitar has broken free from history”.
Two years later he was performing Chuck Berry and Eddie Cochran on the ukulele.
At 18 he travelled from Rhode Island to the Bath festival but “exhausted after hours of listening to music I fell asleep on the damp ground”.
Rudely awakened by the main attraction, Led Zeppelin, he returned to his slumbers only to be roused by the appalling discovery that Dr John -
- playing his New Orleans “funky voodoo jive in full carnival drag” – was being pelted with beer cans –
- “the most original act on the bill and he was completely unappreciated”.
Ever against the grain, the now 60-year-old Byrne explores a whole symphony of argument in this extraordinary book with the precise, technical enthusiasm you’d expect from the painfully bright art school-educated son – born in Scotland, raised in the States – of an electrical engineer 0
- occasionally mopping his fevered brow in the crestfallen manner of a 19th-century poet.
The title is perfectly chosen.
Music doesn’t just work because of its effect on the senses – every aspect of its sound and construction has an emotional impact -
- right up to the way it’s distributed – even marketed – and the machines on which it’s consumed.
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