David Byrne: “I felt so socially inept, getting onstage was the only way I could express myself”

The former Talking Heads leader speaks in the new Uncut

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David Byrne discusses his work with Talking Heads, Brian Eno and St Vincent in the new issue of Uncut, dated August 2015 and out now.

The singer, songwriter and author, who is curating this summer’s Meltdown festival in London, also recalls his early experiences on a stage, playing in a group while still at school.

“I started performing in high school when I was 16 or so, in pop bands with friends, or at folk clubs,” Byrne says. “I took to it, but at that point I was more driven to do it: it was almost like I felt so socially inept that this was the only way I could express myself, by getting up on a stage and doing something, often somebody else’s song, but getting up onstage and asserting myself. And then retreating back into my shell the minute I’d step off stage.

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“It was a curious kind of schizophrenic relationship. But if you don’t feel comfortable communicating any other way, if there’s an avenue open to you, you’ll take it.

“Then over the years, that whole thing lessened. And now, it’s a pleasure to step on stage. There’s no desperation. So there was some kind of weird edginess that got lost in that process, but something else was gained.”

The new issue of Uncut is out tomorrow.

Photo: Danny North

The History Of Rock – a brand new monthly magazine from the makers of Uncut – goes on sale in the UK on July 9. Click here for more details.

 

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