“I wanted to write a song that presented a resigned, even joyful look at doom … At our deaths and at the apocalypse… (always looming, folks). I think it succeeded. The front bit, the white gospel choir, is kind of tacked on, ’cause I didn’t think the rest of the song was enough… I mean, it was only two chords. So, out of embarrassment, or shame, I wrote an intro section that had a couple more in it.”
— David Byrne on Road to Nowhere
Happy new year!
I want to start 2020 by sharing a video from one of my favorite groups, Talking Heads. Road to Nowhere is the type of cryptic but joyful song that could only have been done by this group. The music video features everything from David Byrne running in place to Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz aging before our eyes.
The video was co-directed by David Byne and Stephen R. Johnson. Johnson would later direct three of Peter Gabriel’s best-known videos, Sledgehammer, Steam, and Big Time, all of which would make use the stop motion animations technique that are briefly displayed in this video. At the time that Byne and Johnson were directing this video, Byrne was co-written the script for True Stories with actor Stephen Tobolowsky and all of the underwater scenes were filmed in Tobolowsky’s pool. Tobolowsky has had a long career as a character actor. He might be best known for playing Ned Ryerson in Groundhog Day.
Road to Nowhere was nominated for Video of the Year at the 1986 MTV Music Video Awards but it lost to Money for Nothing by Dire Straits. The award, that year, was presented by Don Henley, who is about as far away from Talking Heads as you can get.