David Byrne admitted it was “very possible” he mishandled Talking Heads’ breakup.
During an interview with Anderson Cooper for 60 Minutes, Byrne offered up some contrition for the way things ended with the band.
“I became, I think, kind of obsessive about getting that show up and running,” Byrne said, referring to Talking Heads’ 1983-84 tour. “I might not have been the most pleasant person to deal with at that point.”
The fragmentation that began then continued for several years. Even as Talking Heads continued making music, Byrne began pursuing projects outside of the band.
“As I became more relaxed as a person, started writing different kinds of songs, songs that maybe weren’t quite as angst-ridden and peculiar, so fans were probably disappointed. ‘We liked the really quirky guy’ or ‘We liked the guy who was really struggling with himself and really having a hard time,’” Byrne noted. “And I thought, ‘Why would you wish that on me? For your own amusement, right?’”
By the dawn of the ‘90s, Talking Heads “was pretty much over.” Still, there was never an official announcement about the disbandment. “As far as we’re concerned, the band never really broke up. David just decided to leave,” drummer Chris Frantz famously told the Los Angeles Times in 1992.
Byrne said he didn’t know if rumors that his bandmates heard about the breakup in media reports were true but admitted he didn’t discuss it with them properly. “I think it is very possible that I did not handle it as best as I could,” he confessed to Cooper.
In a bonus “Overtime” section of the 60 Minutes interview, Byrne once again affirmed that Talking Heads would never reunite.
“I realized after awhile that I was very happy doing the kind of wide variety of things that I was doing and the different kinds of music that I was doing,” he explained. “And I thought, ‘Why should I trade in my happiness for some cash?’”