Lawlor / A Talking Head speaks drums and Pequot
When Chris was about 12 years old, he started playing the drums in school. His father, an army officer, noticed it and recalled that an army reserve unit at his base was getting rid of some drums.
He brought home a few marching drums to his son. Chris played with those drums for a while. He fashioned the marching drums into a homemade drum kit. Eventually, Chris outgrew those drums and put them away. However, no matter wherever he moved over the years, he kept the marching drums. Eventually, he settled here in Fairfield with his wife, Tina. This June, a friend of his, Caroline Crawford, asked him to lead the Pequot Library’s 2018 Fourth of July Parade. “Could you play a drum?” She asked. So he dusted off one of his marching drums that his father saved from the trash heap and led the procession down Pequot Avenue.
Much happened to Chris between the day he put away the army surplus drums his father gave him and the next time he picked one of them up and played it over 50 years later on Pequot Avenue.
In the intervening years, young Chris really got good at the drums and he soon outgrew that homemade set. He got a real drum kit and went to college at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he met a fellow student named David and they started a band called “The Artistics”. Eventually, Chris’s girlfriend Tina (also from RISD) joined them and it was then that Chris Frantz, David Byrne, and Tina Weymouth founded the band “The Talking Heads.” Tina and Chris also later founded the “Tom Tom Club.” Both bands are legendary, with followings worldwide, and iconic songs consistently played nearly four decades later.
Over the years, The Talking Heads have been honored with countless awards. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Three of their songs were included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.” The songs were “Life During Wartime,”“Psycho Killer” and “Once in a Lifetime.” The band made Rolling Stone Magazine’s “100 Greatest Artists of All Time.”
Chris talked post-parade about his drum after pausing on the front lawn of the Pequot Library (which currently hosts massive tents set up for their used book sale).
“(My father) gave me two field snare drums and a big marching bass drum. I don’t know what happened to the bass drum but I saved the two field drums. So this was my first drum.” and then he added modestly: “and I actually I went on to make a living playing drums.”
“I cleaned the drum up for the occasion, but this is the first time I played this drum since the mid- sixties I guess, yeah over 50 years.”
Chris is considering doing it again next year even as the kids pedaled by him. He was supposed to be leading the parade, but the 12-year-old boys were racing on their bikes past him. They were thinking that the parade was instead some sort of race. Maybe someone should give them a used drum to channel their energy.
“I love the Pequot Library and I love this event. I have been here with my own children, and I have been here with my niece. It’s a great place.”
The Pequot Library will host its Annual Summer Book Sale, one of the largest in New England, July 27 to July 31, with over 100,000 books for sale, on their lawn.