In conversation: Chad Smith with Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth - part two

Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth and Chad Smith, photographed at Barbetta, New York City, July 2013
Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth and Chad Smith, photographed at Barbetta, New York City, July 2013 (Image credit: Joe Bosso)

In Part One of Chad Smith's "invisible interview" with Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, the Red Hot Chili Peppers drumming legend broke bread at New York City's exquisite Barbetta restaurant with the Talking Heads/Tom Tom Club duo and discussed, among other things, art, touring, CBGBs, the Ramones, drumming and what it means to "eat like a pope."

In Conversation: Chad Smith with Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth concludes with Part Two, during which the three Rock And Roll Hall Of Famers talk about their inductions into the Cleveland-based institution, Rush fans, how Tina came to pick up the bass and her secret dream to play the bagpipes.

Prior to this dinner, Chad had never met Chris or Tina, but he admitted to being totally charmed by the husband-and-wife music makers. "I thought they were as friendly, funny, quirky, insightful, smart and open as I hoped they would be," he said at night's end. "All hail the royal rhythm section!"

Special thanks to Laura Glass and Suzanna Gardijan.

In Conversation: Chad Smith with Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth Part Two begins below:

Edited transcript:

Chris: How do you feel being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

Tina: Oh, that's a good question.

Chad: How do you feel about being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? I ask you first.

Chris: Okay. My answer is, I'm very happy to be in it.

Chad: Yeah.

Chris: I know there's a lot of politics involved, and you know, a lot of record company business involved, but -

Tina: You don't have to do it.

Chris: Yeah, we don't have to -

Tina: So why do you worry about that?

Chris: I don't worry about it. I'm just aware of it. I'm happy that we're in with Talking Heads.

Chad: Yeah.

Chris: I'm sure you're happy to be in with the Chili Peppers.

Chad: Yeah.

Tina: Well, you know why? We never screwed anybody. That's why.

Chad: Is that why?

Tina: You cannot - I know this - you cannot screw agents. You cannot do things -

Chris: I bring this up because -

Tina: This is serious. I mean, you cannot do things like be bad to your record label or things like that. You have to honor your contracts. You have to do all the things that make your team happy, because the whole point is, it's not about you. It's about your team.

Chad: Mmmm.

Tina: The people who put you there. The award is for them.

Chad: Hmmm.

Chris: That's right.

Tina: It's not about the artist. It's about the people who got you there.

Chad: Well, that's a good point. What I like about it is that they have the Grammys and the other awards for that year.

Tina: That's for how many records you sold.

Chad: That's all fine.

Tina: That's different.

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Chad: You know -

Tina: James Brown never won a Grammy.

Chad: Right, so that's fine. It's more being, you know, popular or whatever.

Tina: It's about sales.

Chad: There's some sales involved, too. But in the Hall of Fame, what is it like if you have, from 25 years from your first recording or something -

Tina: Yeah.

Chad: And you're eligible. But there's not a lot of people in the Hall of Fame, 700 and something. It's not - it's a somewhat exclusive group - and you have to have stuck around for a while, had some… you know, for your career, for longevity, and hopefully you've made an impact on the music business in a positive way, I would like to think. But I agree with you that the people that were more excited about it were our fans -

Chris: Yeah.

Chad: - and the people who worked with us, and we invited everybody.

Tina: The people who worked their asses off to get you from point A to point B.

Chad: Totally, and that's important. It's not just like, "Hey, I wrote this song in my garage." You record it two months later, and then it came out, and somehow got on the radio or whatever, and people liked it. It's like, there's a lot of things that go into -

Chris: Yeah.

Chad: - make being in a group or an artist or whatever, and it is a nice way to show appreciation for that, and the award is part of that, too. And to have any sort of longevity, you have to - I agree with you - you can't burn bridges left and right or anywhere. I mean, disagreements, people change record companies, they don't see eye to eye - things happen. But the people that I've met - and you guys have been doing this a lot more than me - you can't be an asshole.

Chris: No, you can't.

Tina: No, you can't… [The food arrives.] Oh, my God, this looks so good!... If you shaft people, it gets around.

Chad: I think so.

Tina: It gets around.

Chris: I kinda brought this up because your man Anthony -

Chad: He inducted you.

Chris: He inducted us.

Chad: He did.

Chris: He gave the speech, and I must say -

Chad: Did he do a good job?

Tina: Oh, yes.

Chris: He did a very good job -

Tina: He did.

Chris: I loved his induction speech.

Tina: Yeah, my sister from Oklahoma said, "He's the smartest man I've heard speak." [They laugh]

Chris: And Debbie Harry -

Tina: Yeah.

Chris: Debbie Harry said to me, "How did you manage to get Anthony to induct you?" [They laugh]

Chad: I know she knows him.

Tina: She knows him. They used to date.

Chris: She knows him.

Chad: They're friendly in some sort of way.

Tina: They used to date.

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Chad: Oh, right?

Tina: Yeah.

Chris: And she's kind of, she's still - well, this was a few years back that we were inducted, and at that time, she was still obviously very attracted to him.

Tina: Mmmm.

Chad: Okay.

Tina: She's always liked him.

Chad: I remember he came back, and he told me that Eddie Vedder inducted the Ramones and went on and on and on for quite a long, lengthy speech.

Chris: Yeah, really long.

Chad: Really long. And I remember he said -

Tina: No, Anthony was brilliant.

Chad: Anthony was like, "I'm going to stick to the plan."

Tina: He knocked it on the head.

Chad: Oh, that's great.

Tina: He did.

Chad: Well, we love your band.

Tina: I was much more, we actually wanted, you know, we love Lou Reed and we love Brian Eno, but we didn't want either of them to induct us, because we knew they would make it all about themselves. [Chad laughs] It's sort of like letting Henry Kissinger induct you.

Chad: Yes. "Let's talk about me now."

Tina: What we really wanted was, and we asked for, and David Byrne agreed, was to get Kraftwerk.

Chad: Cool.

Tina: 'Cause we thought Kraftwerk would be totally cool.

Chad: That's cool.

Tina: Because what they will do is say, "Here is your award. We induct you. There." And that would be it! And it would be so cool. But we know that they only allow people to do the induction - now we know this, we didn't know this then - who are going to get in. That's right.

Chris: Who are sort of like -

Tina: So we knew.

Chris: They're trying to look ahead to the future.

Tina: So they decided already.

Chad: Well, they didn't decide already because -

Tina: No, they have decided already.

Chad: Well, the first year we were eligible, we didn't win.

Tina: There was no way. Yeah, maybe, but -

Chad: I was all like, "Oh man, this is gonna be really exciting."

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Tina: But how many times did you have to, like… They voted on you, like, more than once. I mean, you got nominated twice! That… Do you know how many times -

Chad: I know.

Tina: I mean, other people have been nominated and left out. I know because they say, "It's not rock and roll." Are you kidding?

Chad: Donna Summer and Madonna.

Tina: Are you kidding? I know.

Chad: It's not really the rock and roll -

Tina: They don't know what rock and roll is anymore.

Chris: Well, you know, how do you define rock and roll?

Chad: If whatever's blues-based, then of course rap should be in there.

Chris: Yeah.

Chad: And you know, the blues is the beginnings of rock and roll, okay, so then kind of everything.

Chris: And, you know, Donna Summer, when you get right down to it, even in "Love To Love You, Baby" is referencing gospel music.

Chad: Yeah. There you go.

Chris: And that's where rock and roll comes from.

Tina: Exactly.

Chris: So…

Chad: I agree.

Tina: It's insanely -

Chad: It's a name, but it should be the music.

Tina: But, of course, they're still hemming and hawing on Kraftwerk. If you don't have a guitar in your band, you have a tough road to hoe to get into the United States of America Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. [Chad laughs] You have to have a gee-tar.

Chad: You better get one of them gee-tars.

Chris: Better go to the NAMM convention.

Chad: Yeah, go to the NAMM convention, go to the Gibson booth. [Chris laughs] One of the other thing, too, I wanted to talk - fuck it, I'm already in it, they can't kick me out. I can talk shit about it, I don't care. I'm not gonna talk shit. But, it's kind of a New York, the Jann Wenner, Seymour from Sire, who has this New York boy's club thing going on. You know? And that was a lot of it. And they sort of, I think -

Tina: They invented it.

Chad: It's shifting a little bit? Right.

Tina: It was their idea, so it's sort of their baby.

Chad: Exactly, so it's like, "We make it the way we want." And the New York… a band like Yes. I love Yes - groups that I loved while growing up. Deep Purple, I really loved.

Tina: They're in, right?

Chad: No.

Tina: No? They're not? I can't believe they're not in.

Chris: I don't think they've even been nominated.

Chad: They got nominated for last year.

Chris: Oh, they did?

Chad: Yeah. Kraftwerk I voted for last year.

Tina: Yeah, me too.

Chad: Exactly.

Tina: And Kraftwerk have been hugely influential.

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Chad: I'm surprised Kraftwerk didn't get in. Instead Randy Newman? Fine, but like - Donna Summer?

Tina: He's a good songwriter.

Chad: Heart?

Chris: Mhmm.

Chad: Heart over and Kraftwerk Deep Purple? I don't know. Heart's great, you know, a good band -

Tina: Well, how about KISS?

Chad: But Rush was the big guy.

Tina: But KISS, the poor man's Rolling Stones.

Chad: Who's the poor man's Rolling Stones?

Tina: KISS! No wait, not KISS - Aerosmith.

Chris: Are you on Facebook, Chad?

Chad: I am. Well, you know what, I don't run my -

Chris: Oh, you don't do it your own?

Chad: I don't know, I know. I know you're a big social networker.

Tina: Oh, but Chris is -

Chad: And you don't do any, Tina. What's up with that? 'Cause he does it all.

Tina: Now, look. If I did it, people would really be torn asunder. "Do I go to Tina's, or do I go to Chris'?' [Chad laughs] Come on, it's like having two restaurants.

Chad: Can't have the competition.

Tina: No, I have plenty to do. I have lots of work to do cut out for me without doing Facebook. Believe me. And I'm a dog fan, so it would be Assbook for me. [Chad laughs]

Chris: Where was I going with that?

Tina: You were going somewhere. You wanted to say something what it is about the Rock and Roll Hall of fame that makes it interesting - or not. What about the museum?

Chad: Have you been to the museum?

Chris: I have been to the museum, and to me it's one of I.M. Pei's least-interesting buildings.

Tina: Absolutely.

Chris: Everything is so dark inside.

Tina: Acoustically, it's dreadful. You wouldn't want to play there.

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Chris: But I'm happy they did it. I think it's a great thing because, to me, rock and roll is what changed my life and made my life a good life. So I'm happy to be a part of that whole thing. Oh - we were going to talk about Rush. [Laughs]

Tina: Oh, Rush!

Chris: I'm on Facebook, and after the induction, and I watched Rush's induction, and I thought, "Oh my God!" And I said something on Facebook like, "Rush… WTF?"

Chad: Oh, did you get beat up by the Rush fans?

Chris: Oh, I had like 1,700 comments within one hour. It was unbelievable.

Chad: Don't go up against thoseRush fans.

Chris: I was sitting in front of my laptop and watching it go "Ba-ding, ba-ding ba-ding ba-ding ba-ding ba-ding ba-ding ba-ding!" [Laughs]

Chad: "Ba-ding, ba-ding ba-ding ba-ding ba-ding ba-ding ba-ding ba-ding!" I went to the induction thing and -

Chris: Was it here in New York?

Chad: No, it was in LA. First time in LA. And I'm friendly with those guys. I know Alex and Neil, the drummer -

Tina: Rush? You know Rush?

Chad: Oh, yeah.

Tina: Oh, cool!

Chris: Alex was the one that really made me say -

Chad: With the "Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah. Blah-blah-blah!"

Chris: Yeah. That would've been cool if he did it for like 20 seconds.

Chad: [Laughs] Yeah, he went all the way, man.

Chris: He went for like 15 minutes.

Chad: So I walk in and sit down, and Jann gets up there and "Booo!" Here's, I'm telling you, 5,000 people in the Nokia Theater, and probably 3,500 of them are Rush fans. They got the long hair and the Rush T-shirts, and they're very passionate, and I think they really felt that this was an incredible injustice that Rush has not been inducted 20 years ago or whatever.

Chris: Yeah.

Chad: And they let them know -

Tina: Interesting.

Chad: Yeah, but they're really diehard. They're one of those groups that has -

Tina: It meant that much to them.

Chad: Oh, absolutely. It was such a big deal, and I think they felt really validated for being the dedicated fans they are.

Chris: As they should.

Chad: And now… and you're like, the whole universe of Facebook. [Chris laughs] There's some people that get it, and some people don't. Like a Grateful Dead fan, and some people are just like, "It's the greatest thing ever."

Tina: Don't you think it's about community?

Chad: About what?

Tina: At that level, it's about community.

Chad: Yeah.

Chris: Yes.

Chad: I think so, too. There's a connection, but it goes beyond.

Tina: It's not musically based.

Chris: Oh, I totally get the community thing.

Tina: If it was based on music, it wouldn't happen. It has to be based on community. These people like these people because they like these people.

Chad: When you guys… How did you guys play together? So you started playing the bass -

Tina: Because of him.

Chad: Uh-huh.

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Tina: No. He and I knew each other, and we were great friends. I would hang out with him. I had to leave my whole record album collection at home. I was the eldest in the second batch of kids in my family. And I had to leave it all at home because they all screamed, "Nooo! You're not gonna take it away!" So I ended up going to RISD with one record. It was Carole King's Tapestry.

Chad: [Bangs table, laughs.] Fantastic! It's a good one, a good one.

Tina: Very good one.

Chad: It's a good choice. It's a desert island special.

Tina: And I wore it out, and then I traded it with my next boyfriend for a Smokey Robinson and the Miracles Goin' To A Go-Go. He wanted the Carole King, I wanted the Smokey Robinson.

Chad: Good trade.

Tina: It was a really good trade, because I memorized the Carole King.

Chad: You got the Carole King down.

Tina: And I needed to know more about this other stuff, because it was really kind of new to me in a way.

Chad: Well, he exposed you to it, and you were like, "This is cool."

Tina: So I really wanted to know a lot more about it. Then, I met Chris, and he was, he got a little 12-inch black-and-white TV set, and we would watch Soul Train, which was a new show on TV on Saturday mornings. Before that, it was all American Bandstand, and Dick Clark was the best. But it wasn't like England, where you had everything. In England and in Sweden, when you look at the old DVDs that are coming out now, that show you the stacks of shows in Sweden and stuff, we never got that stuff. We never got to see that.

Chad: I loved Old Grey Whistle Test. It was awesome!

Tina: Old Grey Whistle Test? Amazing!

Chris: We did that.

Chad: Huh? Did you do that?

Tina: Did you do that?

Chad: That's Bob Marley in there, and -

Tina: No, that was really great. So going over to his place, I would -

Chad: You would watch Soul Train on Saturday morning.

Tina: On Saturday morning, watching Soul Train.

Chris: This is how I enticed her.

Chad: This how "into your lair!" "Come over and watch Soul Train on my 12-inch black- and-white TV." [Laughs]

Tina: Soul Train and omelets.

Chad: Soul Train and omelets.

Chris: I was working in a restaurant called David's.

Chad: Oh, so romantic!

Tina: He totally seduced me. And then he played his drums for me -

Chad: You smoothie man!

Tina: And this is what happened -

Chad: And then, he unleashed -

Tina: This friend of ours -

Chad: The rhythm, the beast.

Chris: Yes. [The men laugh]

Tina: And this goes back to Mary Lambert, who introduced us to you. Mary Lambert, who invented MTV. [Conversation with waiter, then] Mary Lambert, in 1981, we were touring California… no, it was 1980, and she said, "Tina, I am so bored with doing television advertising. They won't deal with anything that touches upon sex and death."

Chad: Sex and death?

Tina: Yes. So I said "Well, let me introduce you to our manager. He might be able to help you. And he was really good friends with John Bugh at Warner Brothers, who was the new guy. I mean, he was a great guy to do with videos, and so she said, "Well, let me make - "

Chad: This is pre-MTV.

Chris: Pre-MTV, yeah.

Tina: Yeah. She said, "Okay, can I use one of your tracks, Tom Tom Club?" This is 1981. "Can I use a track, As Above, So Below, to make a portfolio?" I guess MTV started in '81, right?

Chad: Something like that.

Tina: So Once In A Lifetime started then, so she was just getting in at the very beginning, in the first year. But there were other videos before that. So she made this great video using our track, As Above, So Below, with Denise…

Chris: Crosby.

Tina: Crosby.

Chris: The granddaughter of Bing.

Tina: Who is that kid? Anyways, there was a lot of sex.

Chris: One of the Breakfast Club guys.

Chad: A lot of sex?

Tina: Judge Nelson? Yeah, very good. So we had this great video that wasn't ever going to get aired for our track.

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Chad: It was for her to take it -

Chris: It was her demo.

Tina: And therefore, Seymour Stein hired her with, she said he sent her to go see Gary Kurfirst, our manager, who was helping her with this project, and Seymour sent her to Madonna, who was just getting started. She did… was Borderline first or Lucky Star first?

Chris: First one was Borderline.

Chad: She did all her videos?

Chris: She did nine.

Tina: Up to Like A Prayer.

Chris: I think nine.

Tina: From then on, it was, that was what MTV was going to look like. That set the bar - the standard was set by these Madonna videos, and it was so great. [To waiter] Thank you. And so…where were we going with this? We were going… That was the beginning of MTV, and Mary was our connection for introducing us to you, bringing us to Club Lingerie.

Chris: "You've gotta see these cute boys!" [Chad laughs]

Tina: "Oh, they're so cute!

Chris: "They might even get naked and wear just a tubesock. We're like, "What's a tubesock?" [Chad laughs]

Chad: Oh, that's what you call the athletic sock that you wear on your foot? [Chris laughs]

Tina: So that's the whole Mary connection.

Chad: But I didn't know that she was so instrumental in the whole -

Tina: Totally. And she did this great documentary on Dee Dee Ramone that I don't think it'll ever get released, because Dee Dee died in the midst of it. It was going to be so great because she really understood Dee Dee's creativity and where he was coming from. A lot of people didn't understand how amazing Dee Dee was. They just thought he was some sort of junkie. He wasn't. He took junk as a kind of form of medication to calm himself down, because he was roaring. He was on fire! You know that Johnny Cash song Ring Of Fire? That was Dee Dee. He was the ring of fire. So..

Chad: What, what, I hope it does -

Tina: Yeah, I hope it comes out someday.

Chad: Estates tend to screw shit up.

Tina: They really screw shit up. The latest -

Chris: They didn't have much of an estate, though. Unfortunately.

Tina: The estate of Johnny Ramone wouldn't let any Ramones songs get used.

Chad: [Laughs] You can't really have much of a CBGBs movie - well, I wouldn't say 'much of' but 'an important part of.'

Tina: The upside is it makes the Talking Heads look really good. Duh! Stupid!

Chad: Television, and Blondie was there…

Tina: Patti Smith.

Chad: Patti Smith was there.

Chris: "And The Ramones were there, but we don't have any of their music."

Chad: "I'm sorry. We can't." [Chris laughs]

Tina: "I'm sorry. We can't use any of their music."

Chad: "We have some Muzak recorded versions."

Tina: "We're the very clever estate of Johnny Ramone."

Chris: So out in Montauk, do you surf? Are you a guy who surfs? That is the mecca for -

Tina: Windsurf, kite surf…

Chad: Paddle boarding and…

Tina: Because you gotta go in the ocean - it's so beautiful.

Chad: It's really nice. And like you were saying before, it's a great place for kids.

Chris: It's epic for kids.

Tina: It's heaven for kids.

Chad: We got lucky. We got a nice big place, and they can run around.

Tina: I had a really amazing musical experience, not far from Montauk in Amagansett. I just had my fourth birthday, and we'd just come back from Hawaii, two years in Hawaii, and we were in transit. Our cousins had a beautiful estate in Long Island, and they said, "Go spend some time at our beach house in Amagansett." And they were so generous to our family, because my great grandfather, who was a poet laureate, they had inherited everything from him when he died. They were already extremely well-to-do. So they were always incredibly nice to us because the laws were that's how it went. And so his actual children received nothing, but they were so gracious, our American cousins by marriage, that they always took care, they were always very sweet to our family when we would come to visit. And they would say, "Go take advantage of our beach house in Amagansett." So we went there, and I remember asking my father how far is it, and he said, "Well, it's a hundred miles. We have to drive all the way to the edge, and it's really far, very skinny, and very far."

Chad: It's funny how you remember that part of it. A hundred miles? Jeez!" A hundred is a lot.

Chris: That a lot of miles.

Tina: And when we got there, we got there in the nighttime, so we all had to, you know, we had a camping dinner and went to bed. And when I woke up in the morning, first sunrise, I wanted to see the beach, but I couldn't see it because there was a real pea-soup fog. I mean, it was covering everything; we were in the clouds. And so I walked out on the sand and I could hear the surf, and so I walked towards the sound, and I heard this extraordinary sound that I just couldn't believe what it was, and I just kind of got glued right on the spot. And this woman came walking towards me through the surf, and she was knee-deep in the water. I could see the waves lapping around her knees, and she was squeezing this large blanket and making this amazing buzzing sound. She was playing bagpipes.

Chad: That is crazy! [Laughs] That's what you woke up to? Bagpipes and pea soup - and she was in the water?

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Tina: She was in the ocean, and she was coming towards me like a siren. And I was transfixed. I couldn't move. My feet were glued into the sand, and she came right up to me, and then she put the pipe part down to me and said. "Would you like to try?" And I was like a stone. I couldn't even - I just looked at her like a squirrel in the glare of headlights. "I don't even know what you are!" [Laughs]

Chad: Like an alien!

Tina: And I just remember nodding, and even as I nodded, I had this enormous sense of regret, of "You have blown it, girl! You have blown it forever. That was your one chance to blow into a bagpipe."

Chris: You got another chance.

Tina: I didn't even know what it was called. I didn't even know what the name was, but I knew it was the most fabulous thing.

Chris: Tina's last birthday, her most recent birthday, we celebrated it here in Manhattan, in town here. Had a big, nice dinner with some friends. We took the train home; we went to Grand Central Station, and there was a guy playing the bagpipes in front of Grand Central Station. And he saw Tina coming. When we were approaching -

Tina: He knew! He just knew!

Chad: What's with you and the bagpipes? What's up with that?

Chris: He basically reached out and said, "Here - play these bagpipes." And she did! [Laughs]

Chad: You were meant from a young age.

Tina: I know!

Chad: Bagpipe siren that came out of the water.

Tina: I kept begging my grandmother - "All I want to play… " I kept telling her, because I only knew the French version for the little pipes which are called biniou, which are not the big Scottish pipes. And I kept begging her, "I want to play the biniou, I want to play the biniou." And she said, "You know, I don't think the neighbors will appreciate it. [Chris laughs] We'll get you a nice flute."

Chad: A flute?

Tina: So that's what I was playing when I met Chris.

Chad: [Laughs] "Yeah, but we need some rock and roll going."

Tina: I had played guitar. I played guitar from the age of 14, again thanks to those wonderful cousins from Long Island. I had a cousin from Long Island who came with her guitar and played guitar for me when I was 14 in Iceland. And I said, "Oh, my God, this is great. I have to have one of those." We couldn't have a piano in my family, or in your family, because we were navy and army kids, and we moved, and we couldn't have a piano. So the guitar was it.

Chad: Okay, so you played guitar.

Tina: I played folk guitar.

Chad: So to go to the bass…

Tina: I played folk guitar. Chris said, "Oh, you should play bass guitar." And I said, "Chris, are you crazy? This is a rock and roll band you're starting. Chicks don't belong in rock and roll bands."

Chris: Yeah, but I had this vision.

Tina: He had a vision.

Chris: I had this vision for the future, and this vision was that you could have a good-looking girl in your band, and she wouldn't necessarily be the singer. She would be in a supportive role.

Tina: Isn't that smart? I couldn't sing.

Chad: [Laughs] If you could sing, things would've been different.

Tina: You know, we could've had Debbie Harry as our singer.

Chris: Yeah, that's a funny story, because before Tina joined the band, we were living together and everything -

Chad: Wait… Did you have a band at school? Were you playing in a band?

Chris: David Byrne and I had a band.

Tina: And we all moved out to New York.

Chris: We had a band called The Artistics.

Chad: Wait, what? The Artistics?

Tina: Otherwise known as The Autistics.

Chris: And we played at various school functions and, you know, private parties and things. But we were a prototypical punk band, I guess you could say.

Chad: Okay.

Chris: We did a lot of cover songs. But one of the songs that was an original that we did was Psycho Killer, which David came to - Tina and I were sharing a painting studio at the time. We were seniors, I guess. Our senior year -

Tina: It was January of '74.

Chris: David came to us and said, "I got this idea for a song, but I want the middle section of the song to be in a foreign language." And he knew that Tina spoke French, because her mother was French. And she wrote that middle section, the French section, and I also wrote a couple of verses.

Tina: And together we wrote verses. We wrote -

Chris: Anyways, it's the first song we ever wrote, the three of us together, and that's when we knew, oh boy, we could work together.

Tina: Yeah, no we really worked how -

Chris: So when we graduated and moved to New York, we decided - that was in 1974 - we decided, "Let's try to start a band in New York." But Tina was not with it yet. She was living with us and very supportive of us, David and I, but she was not convinced.

Tina: Yeah, I drove them to their gigs. What could be more supportive?

Chris: She was not convinced.

Chad: You were supportive, but not convinced.

Tina: I got parking tickets in order to drive them to their gigs.

Chad: Very supportive!

Tina: That's incredibly supportive. And I paid them. I paid for gas and everything.

Chris: But anyways, she surprised David and I one day.

Tina: Oh, I surprised you.

Chris: Shortly after her birthday.

Tina: On my birthday.

Chris: She came into our loft on Christie Street with a bass guitar. No amp yet, but she had the bass guitar.

Tina: He loves to embellish.

Chris: Anyways -

Chad: [Laughs] This is married couple stuff. I love it, I love it! Go, go!

Tina: I was, it's true that I didn't tell him. He'd been begging me for months, years.

Chad: For years - the vision!

Tina: For years he'd been asking me.

Chris: I knew that this could work. Because I knew that Tina was a very good dancer, I knew that she had a great sense of rhythm, and I knew that she shared the same kind of artistic sensibility that David and I were going for.

Chad: Yeah.

Chris: She got it. And so, had there been no Tina Weymouth in Talking Heads, we would be just another band.

Joe Bosso

Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar WorldGuitar PlayerMusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.