Tag Archive | Charles Rocket

Talking About Heads

This article debuted in January on The Classical Mess, a newsletter I was creating on Substack until I found out they were doing bad stuff.

The offstage rancor between David Byrne and the rest of Talking Heads has become just as legendary and captivating as their music. I cannot tell you what reverberates through my mind more often — the brilliant quirk of “Once in a Lifetime” or bassist Tina Weymouth pushing the rumor that lead singer Byrne once killed a child “using voodoo.” Drummer Chris Frantz, also Weymouth’s husband of many decades, doesn’t address witchcraft in his 2020 memoir Remain in Love but he does swat at Byrne more often than he praises him. Reading between the lines, I see a guy who is hurting for a warmth and a friendship from Byrne that will never come. Maybe his wife hasn’t told him about the voodoo yet.

It’s probably disheartening to have such a fruitful creative connection with a person who simultaneously cannot or refuses to connect on a more human level. The flip side of Frantz’s Talking Heads coin is the cosmic bond he’s shared with Weymouth, a union that has clearly helped him cope with whatever traumas life has delivered. Weymouth and Frantz don’t need Byrne, personally or professionally. When this wife and husband debuted their side project Tom Tom Club in 1982 it actually eclipsed Talking Heads in popularity (Tom Tom’s upbeat single “Genius of Love” earned gold sales and a Rich Little parody, two things Talking Heads had yet to achieve).

Crusty “Saturday Night Live” heads like myself might be wondering if Remain in Love mentions early ‘80s cast member Charles Rocket at all. Yes, Frantz talks about Rocket, whom he knew during his college years at RISD. There’s a palpable affection when the author writes about his late friend Charlie and the performances he gave as singer for a group called the Fabulous Motels. The Motels did a spoof of “Sweet Soul Music” where the refrain was “Do you like big men, y’all? Big strong men, y’all?”

Rocket’s music career extended to include a guest shot on Mesopotamia by the B-52’s. Frantz briefly touches on this release in the text but only to imply that David Byrne’s production made it one of that group’s worst performing discs. No shot at Byrne is too obscure or petty. Frantz even takes a swipe at some drawings a young David made that Byrne’s parents had hanging up in their home. I’m sorry he hurt you, Chris.

Byrne will most likely do his best to ignore the fact that Remain in Love even exists. I think he should film himself reading the entire book in real time and release it as his next art installation. That would be fascinating. Would he agree that it was a mistake to end his relationship with Twyla Tharp?

Speaking Of Charles Rocket…

My buddy Rollie H. describes himself as someone who’s into “television history, famous failures, and not laughing.” As such, Rollie recently waded into the dark territory that is “Saturday Night Live’s” sixth season to review and analyze what countless historians have tagged as the absolute nadir of sketch comedy. Please, do yourself a favor right now and read my friend’s hilarious, insightful recap of his experience wherein at the very least you’ll pick up the hot fashion term “heino rippin’.” You’ll also see photographic evidence of Eddie Murphy eating dog food.

Area Man Has Opinions On Latest Late Night Flap

When reached for comment on Fallon’s rumored promotion, Greene remarked, “You know, this is all Jean Doumanian’s fault. If her version of ‘Saturday Night Live’ had been a success in 1980, Lorne Michaels wouldn’t be “LORNE MICHAELS” inasmuch as NBC probably would have ignored his suggestion to replace Letterman with Conan in ’93.

“Look, I love Conan, but it’s obvious NBC only went with him because he had the ultimate reference. Coco’s not a rabble rouser in the style of the guy he replaced but he’s still not as ‘company’ as Leno. They needed a Leno Junior in there. Instead, they got a Lorne-endorsed headache, one that plagued them through an entire second Bush presidency.

“It’s all ‘SNL 80.’ If Jean Doumanian had made that shit work, check the alternate timeline: Lorne Michaels spends the majority of the 1980s turning Three Amigos! into a trilogy, we get ‘Late Night with Greg Kinnear’ once Letterman bounces, Jay Leno hosts ‘Tonight’ until he drops dead in 2023, and Charles Rocket lives to appear in another Dumb & Dumber movie. It’s sick, it’s twisted, but it’s also probably fact.”