“A lot of people had no idea it was us when they first heard it.” Chris Frantz reflects on the surprise success of a song that he, his wife Tina Weymouth, and a handful of musicians recorded in 1980 while in the Bahamas. They called it “Genius of Love” and decided to name their new band after the Nassau dance hall in which they’d rehearsed: Tom Tom Club. “Genius of Love” became an instant hit. Radio loved it. The song was artsy, islander pop with a nonsensical bent and a strong rhythm base. It defied race and category. “Genius” came to be during a time that Frantz says was a happy period in their lives. “We had just finished the first tour with our expanded Talking Heads band — what we called the big band — and the record we had done prior to that was Remain in Light, our most artistically successful record.” Tom Tom Club would become a side project for Frantz and Weymouth apart from the Talking Heads.
This year, Tom Tom Club have plans to embark on a U.S. tour, their first in a decade and in support of the rerelease of Genius of Live, a record that Frantz says didn’t get a proper release the first time around. “Most people weren’t even aware that it came out.” This tour puts seven musicians onstage. “We don’t really conform to the record versions because even with Talking Heads we realized that you always want people to think that your live show is more exciting than your record.” He laughs. “It would be terrible if it was the other way around.” What’s next? “I realize that people are kind of wondering, When are they gonna do something new?” Without giving any details, he says that’s already happening. “We have 30 years of Tom Tom Club behind us, and we’re going to do something special.”
- Tuesday, October 12, 2010, 8:30 p.m.
- Casbah, 2501 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego