ribute bands have been around about as long as popular music —and while some of them capture the true essence of the original music, others flounder. The best tribute bands take the original songs and truly make them their own. A love for the music and a desire to do the songs justice fuel the best tribute bands. Talking Dreads, a reggae-driven Talking Heads tribute band, and it's lead singer, Mystic Bowie have succeeded greatly.
"I personally am a huge Talking Heads fan," says Bowie. "I was hoping the Talking Heads would get back together, and when I realized that wasn't going to happen, I figured, why not do it myself? Even a rebirth in a reggae style. So I reached out to the original members of the Talking Heads and they all said I should definitely do it."
Bowie had access to the original members of the Talking Heads as he has been a singer in their side project, Tom Tom Club. He even lived with Chris Franz and Tina Weymouth from the Talking Heads in Connecticut for a time.
For Bowie, reggae and the songs of the Talking Heads form the perfect marriage. The Jamaican-born artist grew up doing reggae and also has an affinity for the Talking Heads. Citing a Caribbean influence in the Talking Heads rhythm section, Bowie knew that merging the storytelling of the Heads songs with reggae would lead to the perfect union.
"Reggae music is like country music; it tells stories, every song there's a story," Bowie says. "Talking Heads songs, there's a great poetry to them, there's always a story to each song. For me, who, I compose, I produce reggae music, it was easy for me to pick up on what music would work best, what music would work as a marriage."
peaking to Bowie, you can feel his love for this band and the songs they've contributed to the musical landscape. He can't choose a favorite song; it changes depending on his mood and state of mind.
"Reggae music is like country music; it tells stories, every song there's a story...Talking Heads songs, there's a great poetry to them, there's always a story to each song.
For me, who, I compose, I produce reggae music, it was easy for me to pick up on what music would work best, what music would work as a marriage."
— Mystic Bowie
"What I love the most actually is to watch a lot of the Talking Heads fans come to these shows," Bowie says. "Some of them will come because they are hardcore fans, they'll come with reservations. Some come pre-judging it and then to watch them come up at the end of the show at the merchandise table, complimenting it and telling us, 'Oh my god, you represented it so well, we're big fans of Talking Dreads now,' that's the best part of performing this music."
Bowie has already started choosing the next set of Talking Heads songs to record for their next album. In addition to more covers, the next Talking Dreads album will include some of Bowie's original songs. He wants to put his own art out there and feature his talent as a composer.
"I would love to take Talking Dreads to the next level and make it the next big reggae band. That's where I want to take it. I want to give it my all, I want to see it on the top, I want to see it at the Grammys. My aspirations and dreams for Talking Dreads — the sky's the limit."
Friday, Aug 25. 9pm.
Volcanic Theatre Pub
70 SW Century Dr., Bend.