- 09 Apr 01
LIAM FAY gets a hot line to DAVID BYRNE on the eve of his Dublin concerts and found a pretty talkative head, discussing everything from Brazilian merengue music to Tommy Cooper.
“I love watching kung fu movies,” declares David Byrne gleefully. “I’d watch them all day if I could. I especially like the Jackie Chan movies. He’s got a real sense of humour and his stunts are really amazing. I love John Woo movies too. There’s a real exuberance about those films that you don’t see that often in other genres. They make me feel like I can jump off buildings and drive cars through department stores. Actually, they make me want to jump off buildings and drive cars through department stores.”
There is virtually nobody else of whom the same could be said but the best way to interview David Byrne is definitely over the phone. Ever since the earliest Talking Heads days, Byrne has had a reputation as a difficult interviewee. It’s not that he’s abrasive or uncooperative, he is, if anything, politeness personified. The problem is his legendary shyness. By his own admission, he has an almost congenital difficulty with meeting strangers’ eyes, and often strives to deflect attention from himself by remaining as monosyllabic as possible.
He claims to feel extremely uneasy in almost all social situations and, apparently, prefers to only attend those gatherings in and out of which he can sneak without having to go through the agonising formalities of group hellos and goodbyes. Colleagues of mine who have met him on journalistic assignments describe the experience with the help of words such as blood, from and stone.