Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Everything Happens Friday

I’ll be in Ann Arbor for the big show this weekend.

Not football. I mean the David Byrne show at the Michigan Theater on Friday night.

I’m skipping Friday night hockey to catch Byrne’s concert tour featuring a new collaborative work with Brian Eno. I just happened to catch the news in the LA Times that the two musicians released a new work, “Everything That Happens Will Happen Today." I haven’t heard the work yet – which is available only online at this point – but you can bet your stock portfolio that it will be, well, different.

Byrne is well-known for being the front man for the Talking Heads, one of the most original rock bands ever. Still, I don’t think Byrne’s solo work gets the wide-spread praise and attention that it should. In my book, he is responsible for three of the greatest musical-art-rock creations in the 20th century. One of them is his 1981 collaboration with Eno titled, “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts.” The other two are Byrne’s “Music for the Knee Plays” and “The Catherine Wheel.”

I’ll report back after the show on Friday night. In the meantime, I encourage everyone to be sure to check out Byrne’s best solo works:


It’s interesting to listen to “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts” some 25 years after it was released. It’s almost as if Byrne-Eno anticipated the 24/7 chatterbox pundits incessantly flapping their lips across the radio and TV air waves. In this work, they combined recorded voices from public sources with their multi-rhythmic, electronic score. The voices and sounds of preachers, politicians, Middle Eastern singers, and others, even a real exorcism (“The Jezebel Spirit”), bounced around in the kaleidoscope of music. A jukebox sampling of this work is provided at right.


For years I guarded my one and only cassette copy of this work because it was never released as a CD. Now you get to hear the recording because it was finally released about two years ago.

In this work, Byrne takes his inspiration from the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and lays out his own rendition of New Orleans-style jazz uniquely blended with post-modern spoken word, as only Byrne can serve it up. Don’t miss this one. You can check it out here.


Byrne wrote this musical score for choreographer Twyla Twarp to be used for the stage production of the same name. There are musical gems throughout this work. I never saw the stage production but the music easily stands alone on its own merits. If you track down Byrne's masterpiece, you won’t be disappointed.

-- Rico Thomas Rico

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This Week's Jukebox: Song Book II