Double Header: Radiohead and Talking Heads
BY DANIEL DAW —
From ska to funk to jazz, bands teamed up for a mellow night of music from the Heads — of both the Radio and Talking variety, all in the name of charity.
Proceeds from the Jan. 12 benefit went toward the Emerging Filmmaker Program (EFP), a program associated with the Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival, which allows students of all grade levels to have hands-on experience with filmmaking; it is the only organization of its type outside of the Flagstaff school system.
Bridget Johnson, a current New York University freshman and former member of the EFP, explains the age diversity in the program.
“It’s varied every single year. I think the youngest we’ve ever had was seventh [graders] and the oldest we had was a senior in high school. And then they have college students from NAU help out — but they’re not [officially] involved in the program, they are just helping,” Johnson said.
Logan Rose, a senior at Northland Preparatory Academy has been with the EFP for two years and plans on studying film once she begins her college career.
“I’m going to major in film wherever I go,” Rose said. “I’m not sure where that is yet but I’m [looking] into a few film programs already.”
While this is the first benefit show for EFP through the Green Room, there will likely be more.
“The deal is really awesome — there’s so much support here and there’s so many ways we can help our program,” Johnson said.
Through the night, around 50 local musicians played songs from both Radiohead and Talking Heads. There was also a raffle running until midnight with prizes from local establishments such as Monsoon’s and the Green Room.
The musical styles were as varied as the musicians, bringing their own style to the songs they performed. Some groups were veterans on the music scene, while others were experiencing their first live show.
New to the scene was electronic duo Sea Section, made up of drummer and programmer Gabe Bixler and keyboardist Krysta Best.
“This is our first outing; [it was] sloppy,” Bixler said.
“You know what happened? It’s like you get nervous and excited and then you play really fast — that’s what I did, but it went well [and] it was fun,” Best said. “I was up front when The Blenders were playing and I saw a group of my friends dancing and The Blenders were so good. It was a lot of fun.”
This benefit show was also a first for conglomerate band The Topless Horse Head Experiment, which features performers from several bands. Covering the songs of two different groups allowed vocalist, Derek Born, to gain a new appreciation for both bands.
“They’re both so unique and so different,” said Born. “I was only a Radiohead fan before this thing started. I just never really heard the Talking Heads [and] learning the song[s] for an hour and a half, for tonight, just singing it over and over, I realized that the Talking Heads’ lyrics are way more profound than most any band that I love. I grew a great respect for them.”
Others in the group, like guitarist Sean Dennehy, have been fans of both Radiohead and Talking Heads for a long time.
“Both of these bands, I was in love with in high school, and that was 10 years ago. Since then, I haven’t listened to them much and I fell in love with both of them again,” Dennehy said.
The music of these two bands allowed performers to go outside of their familiar elements.
“To me, it’s completely different [from] what we normally do — we’re a funk band and we just kind of get people to dance. This just gave me a chance to rock; it was nice,” Dennehy said.
Despite differing the styles, the impact both of these groups have on rock music is immense.
“Talking Heads were around with The Ramones back in the early ‘80s.” Born said. “They [influenced] rock music way back in the day. You watch kids come to Ladies Eighties here, [and] they don’t know that was a stepping stone into other forms of rock, that have formed into the [expletive] that rock is today. There are still cool bands around Flagstaff; they do what they want to do and do the things that they think are cool. It’s nostalgic; it’s cool.”