Byrne was speaking as part of this week’s Big Read cover feature, promoting the release of his new concert film American Utopia.
Asked whether he’ll ever play with the band again, Byrne replied: “Probably not. There’s a lot of differences that haven’t entirely gone away. And I think, as is evident in [the American Utopia] film, I’m having a pretty good time doing what I’m doing.”
Byrne also discussed Remain In Love, the 2020 memoir of Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz, which Byrne previously said he hasn’t read, because “if I read it I would get asked about it.”
Speaking earlier this year, Frantz was scathing about his former bandmate. “Believe me,” he said, “if you knew David Byrne, you would not be jealous of him.”
“I haven’t read the book, but I know that as we became more successful I definitely used some of that to be able to work on other projects,” Byrne told NME. “I worked on a dance score with [American choreographer] Twyla Tharp and I worked on a theatre piece with [director] Robert Wilson – other kinds of things – [and] I started working on directing some of the band’s music videos.
“So I guess I spent less time just hanging out. As often happens with bands, you start off being all best friends and doing everything together and after a while that gets to be a bit much. Everybody develops their own friends and it’s like, ‘I have my own friends too’. Everybody starts to have their own lives.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Byrne discussed the continued influence Talking Heads have had on young bands, especially from Britain. “I kind of credit the internet with that in a certain way, because you don’t get album credits and all the other bits and pieces when you can just download music or stream music,” he said.
“You’re just getting the music, so it has no context anymore. You don’t know that it’s 30 years old. It’s just a piece of music that you’re listening to right now. It gives it a shot of being kind of relevant again, in some cases. Some things are very much of their time, but if it can transcend that, then it has a shot.”
Reviewing Byrne’s new Spike Lee-directed film American Utopia, NME wrote: “It’s a rare concert film that packs in brilliant music, incredible visuals, a vital political message and jokes – but this is one of them. Don’t miss it.”