David Byrne Offers Advice on How to Enjoy Music

What is it about place that makes music special? The rock star dissects what he enjoys about what he hears, from opera to jazz to radio hits

David Byrne, shown in his New York City office in 2009. (© Jason Nocito / Corbis Outline)

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I don’t think you’ll find a lot of the bands in Brooklyn talking about [that music]. There might be more awareness of Xenakis and Ligeti and stuff like that.

What’s impressive is your optimism, throughout this book—even as you grapple with changes in musical culture that are disturbing or that the jury is still out on.

Byrne: To some extent, yeah. I want to accept things; I want to be realistic about what’s going on, and what’s being done to us and what’s changing. But I don’t want to just rule something out and say, oh it was better in the old days. That’s just death.

Interview has been condensed and edited.


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