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Tina Weymouth is best known as the bassist in the band The Talking Heads.
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Quickly disenchanted with Barnard, she briefly transferred to Old Dominion University and then transferred back to Barnard before dropping out altogether in 1969. After dropping out of college, Weymouth lived for a short time with her sister in Tulsa, Okalahoma, before returning to Manhattan to live with her brother. Although she stayed only a few months, Weymouth's brief time back in New York City proved a transformative period in her life. "New York opened me up," she remembered. "In New York,
somebody is going to say terrible things to you or not say terrible things to you. It doesn't matter. You have no choice. You can't escape it." When Weymouth enrolled at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence in the fall of 1970, she was an entirely new woman. She showed up to a school orientation meeting totally naked and drenched in green paint. While apparently such acts were more or less par for the course among the radical and experimental student body, it was nevertheless an enormous change from the terribly shy girl Weymouth had been just a few years earlier.
Weymouth's studio mate at the Rhode Island School of Design was named Chris Frantz. In addition to his painting, Frantz was also a skilled drummer who played in a band named The Artistics with guitarist and singer David Byrne. Frantz and Weymouth fell madly in love, and although Weymouth was never a member of The Artistics, she served the band in a hybrid role of biggest fan, muse and occasional lyricist. "I was at every performance and every rehearsal," she recalled. "It was very, very loud. You couldn't stand closer than fifty feet because it was so loud and abusive."
In 1974, after their graduation from design school, Weymouth, Frantz and Byrne moved to New York City and rented a small loft apartment. Rediscovering her prodigious musical talent, Weymouth taught herself bass within a matter of months, and the trio formed a new band they named Talking Heads. In 1975, playing a mix of covers and old Artistics songs Byrne had written such as "Psycho Killer" and "Warning Sign," Talking Heads gave their debut performance opening for The Ramones at New York's storied CBGB nightclub. The next year they added a fourth member, guitarist Jerry Harrison, and landed a contract with the punk rock label Sire Records.
Weymouth and Frantz married in 1977; that same year, Talking Heads released their first album, Talking Heads: 77, featuring Byrne's old song "Psycho Killer" as its lead single. Although the album achieved only modest sales, it's fascinating mix of 1960s bubblegum pop and the raw, discordant energy of punk rock were unlike anything heard before, and it is now considered among the great alternative rock albums of all time. Talking Heads' 1978 follow up, More Songs About Buildings and Food, featuring the single "Take Me to the River," received high critical praise and improved but still underwhelming sales. Two further albums, Fear of Music (1979) and Remain in Light (1980), also secured good reviews and decent sales, establishing the Talking Heads as one of the most important "new wave" rock bands to emerge during the latter half of the 1970s.
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