Head bowed, obviously ill at ease, David Byrne in a 1978 interview makes it clear that he doesn't care to have his band's music categorized as punk. But for sure he allows, they are certainly not country. Tina Weymouth, certainly more outgoing, explains in a '79 British documentary that the band doesn't think of itself as new wave, while Chris Frantz and Jerry Harrison talk about the band's concerted effort to avoid the rock star stereotype.
These are the Talking Heads as they picture themselves at the start of what was to be a fairly short career by some standards, but a career leading to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. These are some of the insights from the bonus material on the newly released DVD, Talking Heads: Chronology, which traces the history of the band mostly through films of performances from 1975 through 2002.
The DVD does include some backstage footage, a few minutes of comments by fans, and one introduction by a talking head, but the real focus is on performance. After a 30-second clip of a 1976 soundcheck at The Kitchen, there are three tracks—"With Our Love," "I'm Not in Love,"and "Psycho Killer"--of the original trio playing at CBGB in 1975. The footage is in black-and-white and Byrne really appears ill at ease on stage. Some Byrne intros from the '76 Kitchen show follow, and they show him still quite uncomfortable in the spotlight.
By the time they get to performances in 1978 in England, New York and Berkeley, California, Byrne has developed a more confident persona. In his interview, he talks about his nerves before going on, but his adrenalin kicks in when he takes the stage. The performances of "Don't Worry About the Government," "Thank You for Sending Me an Angel," and "Warning Sign" show him gaining confidence. By this time, the trio has become a quartet with the addition of Harrison on guitar and keyboards.