For the sophisticates among us, from NYMag, “Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth of the Talking Heads on Opening for the Ramones, CBGB, and Working With David Byrne“:
Chris: Our first show was opening for the Ramones at CBGB. We had been going to CBGB from pretty much the first night we moved to New York. One weekend Patti Smith performed, and she didn’t really have a band together. It was just Patti and Lenny Kaye on guitar, and it was really exciting. Totally a beatnik thing, which I loved. Lenny was just playing out of a little tiny amplifier, and Patti was doing versions of the songs from her first album, but they were kinda raw. And then I went back the following weekend, and the Ramones played. And the Ramones were also in their formative stages, and they would stop and argue with each other in the middle of a song! But when they were playing, it was so great. To my way of thinking, it was really advanced artistically, even though a lot of people said that they were moronic and that they couldn’t really play and all that. There was an artistry to what they were doing that was beyond typical rock-and-roll bands.
Tina: Dee Dee wrote most of the songs. But the one who always took authority was Johnny, because Johnny had gone to military school. It was kind of funny to us, because Chris and I also had parents in the military, so it was weird to us that Johnny was like that, because we weren’t! We were the opposite! Johnny was always very weird, but in our last 20 years of our career, we shared the same business manager, and he used to say, “Oh, Johnny’s such a great businessman!” He found out that he had won an award, a gold record, so he went to the office on his bike, and he just strapped the gold record to the back of his bicycle. So he was very frugal that way! Totally conservative. Republican.
Chris: I would say reactionary. But anyway, when it came time for us to make our debut, our audition at CBGB, I spoke to Hilly Kristal about it and he recognized me from being a regular patron there. I said, “We have a band and I think we’re ready to do a show here.” And he said, “Okay, but you have to audition.” And I said, “Okay, when should we audition?” And he said, “Well, I could put you on with the Ramones.” Hilly or Danny [Fields] said, “Is it okay if the Talking Heads open for you?” and Johnny said, “Oh yeah, they’re going to suck, so it’s no problem. They can open for us.” And then fast-forward two years, and we were asked to open for the Ramones on their first time to Europe, spring of ’77…