“Watching David Byrne work was so pivotal”: St. Vincent on what she learned from working with the Talking Heads leader

St. Vincent in 2024
(Image credit: Alex Da Corte)

Over a solo career stretching back to the release of her 2007 debut Marry Me, St. Vincent has amassed a very impressive list of collaborators and team-ups. The Texan alt-pop-rock dynamo has shared the stage with Dua Lipa, performed as a Kurt Cobain supersub by playing Lithium with Nirvana when the grunge icons were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2014, hopped onstage with Pearl Jam to holler along with Rockin’ In The Free World and more. This week, the artist known to her friends as Annie Clark released a new single from her forthcoming seventh album All Born Screaming. Titled Flea, it’s a prog-tastic, riff-heavy rock banger that is only let down by the fact she didn’t get Flea to play bass on it. It does feature Dave Grohl on drums, though, so that’s something. Head here to see what she said about the experience of working with Grohl in the studio.

Speaking to her recently, she looked back over her career and considered who had given her the best advice, landing on her collaborative 2012 project with David Byrne, resulting in their one and only album Love This Giant. The Talking Heads visionary passed on no words of wisdom, she said, but witnessing him operate up close left a mark. “Watching David Byrne work, whether it’s conceptualise a show or how his mind works or hearing the freedom with which he approaches music, to me that was so pivotal, so inspired,” Clark stated.

Love This Giant was released in September, 2012, and was supported by an extensive tour from the duo that stretched deep into 2013. Byrne reworked one of the pair's tracks, I Should Watch TV, into his critically-acclaimed American Utopia tour and Broadway performance of the same name.

Niall Doherty

Niall Doherty is a writer and editor whose work can be found in Classic Rock, The Guardian, Music Week, FourFourTwo, on Apple Music and more. Formerly the Deputy Editor of Q magazine, he co-runs the music Substack letter The New Cue with fellow former Q colleagues Ted Kessler and Chris Catchpole. He is also Reviews Editor at Record Collector. Over the years, he's interviewed some of the world's biggest stars, including Elton John, Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, Muse, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Depeche Mode, Robert Plant and more. Radiohead was only for eight minutes but he still counts it.