Their first four albums
Talking Heads: 1977
More Songs About Buildings and Food
Fear of Music
Remain in Light
are universally acclaimed, highly influential classics. As Wikipedia neatly puts it, “the group helped to pioneer new wave music by integrating elements of punk, art rock, funk, and world music with avant-garde sensibilities and an anxious, clean-cut image.”
Prototype versions of Psycho Killer had been performed on stage by a prototype version of Talking Heads as early as 1974. The finished song was included on the bands debut album Talking Heads: 1977. According to setlist.fm, Psycho Killer was the most frequently played song throughout the bands career. And by the time of the Mudd Club show in August ‘79, they had already performed it well over 100 times.
Talking Heads Fear of Music tour commenced in New Zealand and Australia, in June 1979. Prior to the tour, the band hadn’t played a show since December 1978. The tour continued on through Europe and Japan. The band then returned to the States, and the Mudd Club, on August 13, 1979 was the second show of the US tour. At the time of that show, the Fear of Music album had been out for about a week, having been released on August 3. Then followed quite a lengthy US and Canadian tour, and a return to the UK for more shows. The final show of the Fear of Music tour was in Paris, on December 11, after which the band wouldn’t play another concert until later in 1980, by which time Remain in Light had been released and the band, the sound and the audience was very much expanded.
The Mudd Club was a nightclub in the TriBeCa area of New York City, USA, that operated from 1978 to 1983 as a venue for underground music and counterculture events. It was located at 77 White Street, in downtown Manhattan and was opened by Steve Mass, art curator Diego Cortez and downtown punk scene figure Anya Phillips. Mass claimed to have started the nightclub on a budget of only $15,000.
Watching the excellent 1979 Talking Heads South Bank Show documentary, I was immediately struck by just how great the performances and the live footage was. The band are seen totally overexposed playing against a brightly lit white background. As the cameras follow the band’s performance, we glimpse the small venue’s interior. Finally towards the end of Psycho Killer, during the peak of the song, there are many enjoyable shots of the super cool NYC audience.
Like most music documentaries, we don’t get the complete songs, and much of the audio of the performances is obscured by interviews with the band. So I felt compelled to see if more could be made of the excellent material.
I figured out at which show the live footage was shot, and I went searching, hoping to find an audio of the show. My search was fruitful, and I was delighted to find an audience recording that could hardly be bettered – crystal clear sound, and only negligible tape hiss. So let’s be very thankful to Mr. Hans Devente (Madtaper) who recorded the show. Mr Devente was apparently a big fan of the band, and back in the day taped many Talking Heads shows.
I added a little EQ to the audio, mostly to increase the bass. And then, as per my usual self-imposed remit, it was a job of syncing the two sources accurately, and somehow making up for the missing bits of footage, so that we have, what hopefully appears to be anyway, the complete six and half minutes of this wonderful performance.
Hope you dig it!
More videos to follow, so please keep your electric eye on me babe!
I don’t own the rights, and I’m not making any money out of this etc. Just a fan making videos for other fans.
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