The Band

David Byrne

I was born in Scotland in 1952. I moved with my parents to Hamilton, Ontario when I was 2 and then to Baltimore I think when I was 7. Went to public school there, was respectfully kicked out of choir and given lots of encouragement by the high school art teacher. Had violin lessons but the teacher was mean and I was terrible. Taught myself guitar and ukelele and played rock songs at local coffee houses and folk clubs.

Went to art schools- RISD and MICA and played on the street (violin, vocals and poses) in a duo called Bizadi. Moved back to Providence after travelling around and I believe Chris suggested we put a band together to play at school dances. We called ourselves the Artistics and eventually I and the others began to write original songs.

This was all for fun, our ambitions were not really to be pop stars, but rather to be fine artists, so eventually Chris, Tina and I reconnected in NY. While there I continued to make conceptual art and write some songs. Seeing bands playing original music at our local bar (CBGB) I believe Chris suggested we form a new band and audition once we had enough material. We got a gig opening for the Ramones.

People seemed to like what we were doing, though the audiences were small at first. Little by little our numbers grew. Brian Eno produced 3 of our records, adding weird sounds and encouraging our rhythmic explorations. With the advent of MTV we found that we could get exposure on that platform for songs that the radio wasn’t playing. The band expanded and went from being angsty with a beat to being an odd kind of celebratory funk band. It was a healing experience for me.