This Must Be the Place: The Adventures of Talking Heads in the Twentieth Century
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This Must Be the Place: The Adventures of Talking Heads in the Twentieth Century

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  214 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Could there have been a more improbable band to rise from the ashes of punk and the smoldering embers of the disco inferno than Talking Heads? Made up of art school students, "military brats," and an Ivy League dropout, the Heads came of rock age in New York, 1976--the Summer of Sam--thrilling the arty downtown crowd that filled the hallowed dirty halls of the infamous CBG...more
Hardcover, 406 pages
Published April 3rd 2001 by HarperEntertainment (first published April 1st 2001)
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Ian Mathers
This was a maddening book to read and to try and evaluate; Bowman has clearly had some really in-depth, fascinating interviews with band members (Byrne and Weymouth in particular), and especially during the first parts of the band's career he does an amazing job of situating their music in what was actually going on in NYC at the time (and not just music). So why did I kind of hate this book?

Part of it isn't Bowman's fault; it's always depressing to have bands you love be humanized, and most of...more
Macallan
A lesson in how NOT to write a biography if you hope to have any of your readers actually finish the book: One morning in 1973, Tina had a bowl of cereal. Later that year, she started RISD (pronounced rizz-dee). Suuuuuuuuuuuck.
Mike Ingram
I guess I wouldn't necessarily recommend this to people who aren't already fans of Talking Heads. Sometimes the writing is a little cheesy, like when Bowman tries to oh-so-cutely incorporate lyrics from the band's songs into otherwise unassuming sentences. But I enjoyed it. Then again, some friends and I once had this plan wherein we'd buy a Scooby Doo-style van, paint a couple racing stripes on it, put on gas station attendant shirts and follow David Byrne around the country, whether he was act...more
Jason Coleman
I think the idea here is that, just as Talking Heads' concert film was no ordinary rock movie, this book will not be your typical rock biography. The author is a novelist, not a music journalist. This implies a labor-of-love undertaking, but somehow Bowman never quite communicates to us the source of his obsession with the music, and he does not come close to capturing the mystique the Heads generated in their remarkable 1977-1981 run. From the first pages he seeks to distance himself from other...more
Abe
Regardless of how true or false the facts are in this history of David Byrne (and less importantly, the band), it is an entertaining and quick read. Bowman is relatively straightforward with the reader in regards to this blurred fact/fiction, as any history book based on first- and secondhand oral sources will naturally impose one perspective over others. It is quickly realized that this man loves David Byrne, and so Byrne's version of this history seems preferred.

As for the overriding thesis th...more
Mary
I wanted to hate this. Pretentious art school drop-outs, the egos, the drugs...Shit, I could even blame the writing: contrived, like he was trying to create more of a story by the threads of other interviews, the babble and the theories... And while I have been really really wanting to hate this, Ive also been wanting to hear it, to really listen to and hear every album...Remain In Light, Speaking In Tongues, Stop Making Sense, More Stories About Buildings And Food, 77. And there was the turnaro...more
Jarrodtrainque
A fascinating glimpse behind the big suitsand deadpan looks to the heart and soul of a bandthat made it big by playing it cool/ With their minimalist beats, sophisticated lyrics, and stoic mien, the Talking Heads were indisputably one of the most influential and intriguing bands of their time. Rising from the ashes of punk and the smoldering embers of the disco inferno, they effectively straddled the boundaries between critical and commercial success as few other groups did, with music you could...more
Stephen
Jul 09, 2008 Stephen rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Chuck Klosterman fans, Rock fans, Talking Head fans, Historical Non-fiction fans, Entertainment Bios
Recommended to Stephen by: Myself
An interesting, if not slightly disappointing read. I really don't care for the way it's written, meaning that I think that the author thinks he's being real cute with the ocassional one-liner, which winds up being more distracting than anything.
There a lot of "Oh, I had no idea THAT happened..." moments in the book for casual Talking Heads fans (David Byrne broke The Police's video camera when the Talking Heads opened for them in '83?!), but chances are there's a lot of information in the book...more
Adam
This is the first band-ography that I've ever read. This type of book is a curious beast. So much he-said she-said, though maybe that's only so true considering the Weymouth-Byrne dynamic. It got a lot of songs stuck in my head. It made me feel as if I was allowed to have opinions of people I've never met, which makes me uncomfortable.
It made me think some things:
-performance art is a strange outlet that deserves more attention.
-David Byrne is a brilliant, interesting guy.
-Jonathan Richman ought...more
Rory
The writing was kind of choppy and occasionally smug...but that's par for the course in rock bios. It's all about the band, right? How much better to do you know the band members, how much closer to them do you feel? Well, I dunno. It made me want to watch "Stop Making Sense" for the 30th time. But I don't feel very close to Talking Heads. I'm not sure Talking Heads feel very close to Talking Heads, though. One thing that struck me was that this band didn't struggle much. I would have thought th...more
Cody
Talking Heads are my favorite band, otherwise I doubt I wold ever feel compelled to read a rock band biography. The endorsement from Jonathan Lethem helps, though.
***
In the end, about the same as any other band biography. The initial chapters, describing the strange formation and early years of the band, were interesting, but once the band began recording albums the narrative of their story grew a little stale. I suppose at that point I wanted to start listening rather than reading. And Bowman's...more
Elizabeth Lilly
Most of the rock memoirs I've read have focused on the drugs and problems that caused. But this book was basically all about the infighting. Yes there were drugs. (David had to snort a little to get into that big suit.) It didn't fall short on in-fighting induced drama, though. It's clear fairly early on how things are going to go with everyone. Like the band's music, the story seems complicated, yet cohesive. I love the band's music and it gave me a lot of insight into the band's music influenc...more
Sarah
It's still too soon to write a history of Talking Heads. The injuries are too recent and the egos still too raw to get any real new information. This forced the author to pad the book with a bunch of filler. (Five sentences on the haircut Twyla Tharp had on the day she first met David Byrne? Really? It was a wedge. See, I did it in one sentence.) And not well-written filler, either. You know the booklet that came with the Popular Favorites 2-CD collection? Just read that, because you're not goin...more
Andrea
While this book was a fun read, I don't know that I'd recommend it all that highly. It's got all the hallmarks of a quickie bio: random, unattributed quotes, pointless/cutesy disgressions, plenty of filler. Worse still, from page 1 it's clear that Bowman has a major axe to grind with Tina Weymouth. Why is never exactly explained, but the book is filled with weird, passive-aggressive jabs at her expense. It ruins what could have been, at best, a passably diverting, pleasantly gossipy music bio.
Sam
A pretty detailed account of the band. Man, seems like Tina Weymouth was either in love with Byrne or hated his guts. Or somewhere in-between. This book is well-written and completely detail-oriented without being OVERLY detailed. If you're a fan, you NEED this book. From their RISD days to their last album, "Naked," this book is great. I don't want to finish it, but I just got "Goodbye 20th Century: The Sonic Youth Story" for my birthday, so I'm off to bigger and better things.
Callie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tressa
Very thorough biography of Byrne and the other Talking Heads. I enjoyed reading what makes David tick. But this book made me really dislike Tina Weymouth, who seems to still have a 500 pound green-eyed monster hanging on her back. She seems very petty and small, even after all their success.

For such an odd guy, Byrne's music is quite sweet and a little pro-domestic.
Hannah
This is a pretty interesting look into the history of a very interesting band. It seems like the author is a little biased towards certain band members, but the amount of interviews and research that went into it really paid off because the book really paints a good picture of the New York scene in the early Eighties. Definitely worth a look.
Kendell Shaffer
Okay, I know I have to get past loving the Talking Heads, but this book is super fun to read cause it also talks a lot about what was happening in NYC in the late seventies and early eighties. Remember SAMO? Didn't know David Byrne had an affair with both Twyla Tharp and Toni Basil. I guess he liked dancers...
Will
Shockingly well written for being another book about a band. The fellow's got a tone going.

Also, it will introduce you to Don DeLillo, who may be a wonderful person. "I was born with all language in my mouth."
Patricia Geller
I loved this book - quiet humor, lovable characters, with Berlin after the wall came down as the background and another character in the story. So is Tom Cruise, 9/11, loss, history and hope.
Sam
It was informative, and an easy read, but not memorable. Hard to be objective when I'm a big fan of the subject, and I think the book also has an objectivity problem on the whole Tina/David conflict.
James
Presumptuous, sensationalist fanboy nonsense. This guy misses everything great about Talking Heads music and tries to fan the flames of soured friendships into a drama of soap opera proportions.
Jacob Dougherty
Sep 09, 2007 Jacob Dougherty rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Music fans
A good overview of the career of Talking Heads as a band, although it skews more in favor of Tina Weymouth, Jerry Harrison, and Chris Frantz and rails on David Byrne and Brian Eno as evil schemers.
Rick
Priceless insights into one of the most original bands ever. Hilly Kristal says their sound was like "knitting needles dipped in honey."
Shanna
Claims that Tina loves David without any real evidence.
About my favorite band, though, so amazing nonetheless.
Andrew
This biography, abandoned about halfway through, hasn't done much for me. Any positive thoughts?
Chris
The worst music book I've read.

Great band, though. Try David Gans' book instead.
Joemichael
Just finished this. Was not a fan of the band. Slowly became one while reading this.
Joe
One of my favorite bands. Some good behind-the-scenes stuff here. Nothing revelatory.
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