The name of this band is Talking Dreads. Talking Dreads? Talking Dreads!
Sounds familiar? Of course! And a dead giveaway as to what they’re throwing down! But what’s in store is so much more than a reggae-tribute of the Talking Heads’ top hits. Picture that famously funky frequency, picked up on the sunbathed beaches of Jamaica and put through a polyphonically Caribbean kaleidoscope!
You may think “this ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no foolin’ around” music, and you’re right: this is serious… as in seriously good! A non-stop, fun-loving musical journey that’s as good for the head as it is for the soul. So get ready to get up, get set and get down as Talking Dreads take you joyriding in their tour-de-force debut!
Talking Dreads: Island vibes
Talking Dreads began as a project born from the audacious notion that hardcore Heads-lovers wouldn’t mind a tinkering or two with their favorite Talking Heads tunes, and there is a lot of great music here that will make you stop, listen and smile a little bit more as you’re grooving along to the joyous rhythms and jubilant spirit of the island vibe.
Talking Dreads is the brainchild of Head Dread, Mystic Bowie, a Jamaican artist whose long and close relationship with Chris Franz and Tina Weymouth, founding members of Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club, began when he joined the latter group as a singer in 1996. He then recorded and performed with Tom Tom Club for nearly twenty years and continues to bear fruit from their unending collaborations.
This inaugural effort from Talking Dreads features an amazing lineup of stellar reggae stalwarts including Freddie McGregor [‘Rastaman Camp’, Bobby Babylon], ska-guitar master Ernest Ranglin (session player and arranger of Millie’s smash ‘My Boy Lollipop’, the Melodians ‘Rivers Of Babylon’, and countless other tracks], and Tarrus Reilly (’Start Anew’, ‘Good Girl Gone Bad’) as well as a little help from punk-pop diva Cindy Wilson of The B-52s (‘Rock Lobster’, ‘Love Shack’).
Talking Dreads: not so same as it ever was
Talking Heads’ music was a formative influence on Mystic Bowie since childhood. The marriage of Talking Heads jagged, Rhode Island art school punk with bouncing, sunny Caribbean rhythms appealed to him because “reggae’s dance-inspiring, feel-good vibe is universal as are many of Talking Heads’ songs. And don’t forget their intelligent, powerful lyrics! I’m convinced that there are a lot of music lovers who will appreciate this fusion as much as I do”.
Mystic Bowie determined what songs he wanted to record before going into the studio, but added one more song to the list at the suggestion of a Talking Heads insider. “I had all of the songs decided before going into the studio except for ‘Love Building on Fire’, which was added at the request of Sire Records founder Seymour Stein. Seymour told me that that song really influenced him to give Talking Heads their deal.”
In addition to these livelied-up re-takes of Talking Heads’ classics, Talking Dreads’ debut recording also includes two timeless pop bonuses: “Piece of My Heart”, so often attributed to Janis Joplin thanks to her famous cover with Big Brother and the Holding Company, and “Shakedown Street”, a song near and dear to all those in Deadhead nation. “If audiences have even a fraction of the fun listening to this as we had making it, we’ll return to the studio to skank-ify more great songs in the near future”, says Bowie.
Talking Dreads has sold out performances under their belt including shows at High Times Magazine Cannabis Cup Festival in Negril, Jamaica and Fairfield Theatre Company (FTC) – The Warehouse in Fairfield, Connecticut.