In his fantastic new book Love Goes to Buildings on Fire: Five Years in New York That Changed Music Forever, Rolling Stone critic Will Hermes writes about Talking Heads’ first performance at CBGB on June 5, 1975: “[T]he band sounded like a cross between the Modern Lovers and Television minus the latter’s guitar sparks: strangulated vocals, rudimentary bass lines, and martial little-drummer-boy beats that hinted at soul music. [David] Byrne had just turned twenty-three; Tina [Weymouth] and Chris [Frantz] were twenty-four.”
If Hermes’ description piques your interest, then you’ll definitely want to check out the video below. NPR has posted a clip of Talking Heads playing “Psycho Killer” at CBGB later that year, from the new DVD documentary Chronology. The footage, preceded by Seymour Stein’s reminiscences of the band’s early days, is fantastic. Most fascinating of all is seeing Byrne before he’d figured out his twitchy, electric frontman schtick.