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TOM TOM CLUB | Timeline | Biography
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TOM TOM CLUB TIMELINE_____________________________________________________

Talking Heads 1974 - 1981

 

The Tom Tom Club was created by Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth in 1981. Graduates from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1974, they moved to New York City where they founded Talking Heads as a trio with David Byrne in 1975. Chris played drums, Tina played bass and David sang and played guitar. In November of 1976 they signed to Sire Records and released their first singles. In 1977 they were joined by Jerry Harrison (of the original Modern Lovers) from Boston. Jerry played guitar and keyboards. It was in early 1981, after five years of touring internationally and four studio albums they wrote and recorded with Talking Heads-- Talking Heads: 77 (1977); More Songs About Buildings And Food (1978); Fear Of Music (1979); and Remain In Light (1980)--that Chris and Tina were encouraged by Jerry and David, who had each left the group to make solo albums, to do likewise. So they signed with Island Records, then owned by industry legend Chris Blackwell, one of the first people to fully appreciate the value of a great rhythm section in and of itself. In March 1981 they flew down to Compass Point Studios, Bahamas, to record.

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Tom Tom Club March + August 1981

 

When legendary reggae producer Lee "Scratch" Perry failed to show up for the scheduled recording sessions, Blackwell allowed Chris and Tina to produce the album themselves with Jamaican engineer Steven Stanley, just 23, at the controls. First they laid down the basic tracks of drums, bass, keyboards and guitar. Then they asked a young Bahamian, Monte Brown, to play guitar on "Wordy Rappinghood" and "Genius of Love." In the studio next door, Chris Blackwell was producing Grace Jones making her classic Nightclubbing album that featured an array of great musicians. So when overdubbing hand claps to "Genius of Love," Chris and Tina thought it would be fun to invite Jamaica's famous "Riddem Twins" of drums and bass, Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, to clap with them. Ezikiah "Sticky" Thompson added his percussion magic to "Lorelei" and Tyrone Downie added piano to "L'Elephant." Then, Adrian Belew, who had played with Talking Heads on tour, joined Chris and Tina on vacation to play guitar on several songs. Tina's "Sweetbreath" sisters, Lani and Laura Weymouth, who'd previously contributed their voices to Talking Heads' "Air," flew from New York to harmonize with her. Tina's brother, Loric, sent words of inspiration from overseas for "Booming and Zooming." When asked to describe the eclectic hybrid of music, Chris and Tina thought to call the funky blend "fresh" and "freestyle." On the spot, those tags became part of the dance and hip-hop nomenclature of the day.

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Words! What are words worth? May 1981

 

The Tom Tom Club's first fresh single was "Wordy Rappinghood." Released in spring 1981, "Wordy Rappinghood" was an unusually original mix of schoolyard rap over a funky groove that went into the top of the charts in seventeen countries. Never released as a single in North America, the originality of the song was at first deemed a novelty by entrenched older critics of the time. However, like Blondie's song "Rapture" from the same period, "Wordy Rappinghood" turned out to be seminal in bringing mainstream attention to the new spirit of hip-hop. Today "Wordy Rappinghood" remains a classic with djs and collectors the world over. Recently covered by international electroclash artists Chicks On Speed, this song continues to make friends and influence people in all the right places.

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With a hippity hop and a hippity low 1981-1982

 

Tom Tom Club's second single was the remarkable "Genius of Love." Although the album had not been released in North America, over a hundred thousand copies of the single sold as imports from Island UK, at which point Sire made a deal to release the single and the album in North America in late 1981. Bubbling up from the underground with dozens of unsolicited remixes and versions--most notably, GrandMaster Flash & The Furious Five's "It's Nasty/Genius of Love" in 1982--this song was a huge hit all around, in the clubs and on the R&B and dance charts, soon earning the Tom Tom Club LP (Island and Sire) a Gold Sales Award in 1982.

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There's no beginning and there is no end . . .

 

Like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, "Genius of Love" has a monster hit life all its own. It was unexpectedly sampled again in 1988 in a Hank Shocklee remix of "Tomorrow People," the single from Conscious Party (Virgin) by Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers. The sample took "Tomorrow People" to No. 1 and earned Conscious Party a Platinum Sales Award as well as a Grammy. This was the first time a reggae artist had sold a million records. Conscious Party was also Chris and Tina's first production of an artist outside of their own bands, Tom Tom Club and Talking Heads.

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Time isn't present in that dimension . . .

 

In 1995 Mariah Carey also hit No. 1 with "Fantasy," her version of "Genius of Love." The "Fantasy" remix featured Ol' Dirty Bastard rapping over the original instrumental track. "Genius of Love" continues to be frequently sampled by various artists, including Tupac Shakur and Puff Daddy's roster of Bad Boy MCs and remix artists. More recently Chris and Tina recut it as "Genius of Love 2001" to replace the original multitrack master (unfortunately lost by their label) so that its individual parts could be sampled and scratched by New York City turntable crew The X-ecutioners for their album Built From Scratch (Loud Records).

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Here is a partial list of songs sampling Tom Tom Club songs and the artists who sampled them:

 

Genius of Love:
  • 2PAC & the Outlawz's "High Speed"
  • Almighty RSO's "Badd Boyz"
  • Ant Banks's "Roll Em Phat"
  • Ant Capone's "Murder Loc"
  • AtLaw's "Dose of the Mega Flex"
  • B Legit's "So International"
  • Black Eyed Peas' "Who Needs"
  • Boogie Monster's "Bronx Bombas"
  • Boogie Monster's "I Like It"
  • Busta Rhymes's remix for Erykah Badu's "One"
  • Cam'ron ft Kenny Greene's "Me, My Moms & Jimmy"
  • Da Blac Hole Of Watts' "Putting Watts On The Map"
  • Dr. Jeckyll's "Genius Rap"
  • Dream Warriors' "And Now the Legacy Begins"
  • Funkdoobiest's "Natural Fun" (aka "I'm Gonna Have Some Fun")
  • Funky Town Pros' "Genius Is Back"
  • GrandMaster Flash & the Furious Five's "It's Nasty/Genius of Love"
  • GrandMaster Flash & the Furious Five's "We Will Rock You"
  • Hardeman's "All Around The World"
  • Mack 10, featuring Ol' Dirty Bastard & Buck Shot Shorty, "For the Money"
  • Mariah Carey's "Fantasy"
  • Mark Morrison's "Return of the Mack"
  • Mase w/DJ Clue's "That's The Way"
  • Mellow Man Ace's "Linda"
  • Menajahtwa's "I Ain't Nasti"
  • Mike Gold's "Don't Stop"
  • Mz. Kilo's "Skills For Real"
  • NAS's remix for Jaheim's "Just In Case"
  • Ol' Dirty Bastard's "Fantasy" remix
  • Poppa Charm & Mr. Ku's "What Cha Gonna Do?"
  • Redman's "Brick City Mashin' "
  • RHKingpen's "A Shade of Red"
  • Rich Little's "President's Rap"
  • Second II None's "N----z Trippin' "
  • Smooth's Mr. Lee remixes "Mind Blowin' "
  • South Central Cartel's "How The West Coast Rocks"
  • Steve Hardeman's "All Around the World"
  • Speech's "Jungle Man"
  • Tha 9 & Co.'s "Life Is Crazy"
  • Threat's "Give it Up"
  • Tomboy's "Can I Shake It"
  • Too Short, E-40, Richie Rich & James A's "Let's Get The Money"
  • W.C. & The Maad Circle's "Curb Serving"
  • Wild Pony's "Poppin' In The Club"
  • XClan's "In the Ways Of Saal"
  • X-ecutioners "Genius of Love 2001"
  • Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers' Hank Shocklee Remix "Tomorrow People"

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Wordy Rappinghood:
  • Coolio's "One Mo"
  • Chicks On Speed's "Wordy Rappinghood"

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Pleasure of Love:
  • LL Cool J's "Hot, Hot, Hot"
  • Sean "Puffy" Combs's "Puff Daddy's Groove"

 

 

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Atsababy! (Life Is Great) 1982

 

The Tom Tom Club's first tour was in 1982. The very large success of Tom Tom Club , the album, created a demand for the band live and an impetus for Jerry and David to rejoin Chris and Tina to continue Talking Heads for similar pursuits. Together the bands toured Japan, the UK, Europe and behind the Iron Curtain before bringing the double bill to the US. Lani and Laura Weymouth sang with Chris and Tina. Other members of the extended Talking Heads who played the Tom Tom portion of the set were Steve Scales on percussion, Raymond Jones on keys, and Alex Weir on guitar. After the tour, in November 1982, Chris, Tina, Jerry and David finished making their fifth album, Speaking In Tongues, at Compass Point in Nassau. Chris and Tina's first son arrived at the same time.

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Close To the Bone 1983

 

The couple remained at Compass Point through spring 1983 to record the Tom Tom Club's second album, Close To the Bone (Island and Sire). It began with Chris and Tina again writing basic tracks for the songs in the studio. Steve Scales joined them to overdub percussion and Alex Weir, guitar. Wally Badarou, Raymond Jones, Rupert Hine and Tyrone Downie all added keyboards to various songs. Laura and Lani Weymouth once again joined Tina on vocal duties. Released in 1983, it contained the underground successes "The Man With The 4-Way Hips," "On The Line Again" and "Pleasure of Love." Today the Close To the Bone LP is out of print. It was never reissued on CD. But the LP continues to be sampled from the original vinyl because its fresh grooves are an essential part of the hip-hop legacy. In 1995 "Pleasure of Love" was sampled and reprised with a new lyric by rapper L. L. Cool Jay as "Hot Hot Hot" and again by Bad Boy label's Sean "Puffy" Combs for "Puff Daddy's Groove."

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Soul Train 1983

 

1983 began with MTV's award for "Best Animated Video" going to the Tom Tom Club's Genius of Love video, which was made up of thousands of individual James Rizzi drawings shot at Cucumber Studio, in England, by film makers Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel. The project included the talents of Laura Weymouth, who was also responsible for putting together the award-winning team. [Visit the Tip Top Mom & Pop Shop where this classic video can be purchased on the Time To Bounce limited edition DVD Single. Or buy it at live shows.] 1983 ended with Tom Tom Club appearing on the R&B television show Soul Train . For Chris and Tina it was a fantasy come true. Chris played drums and Tina played bass and sang with Lani and Laura, while Bernie Worrell (of Woo Warriors, Talking Heads, and Parliament-Funkadelic) played keyboards, Steve Scales played percussion, and Alex Weir played guitar.

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Stop Making Sense 1983

 

In December 1983 Jonathan Demme filmed Talking Heads' Stop Making Sense at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles. As a favor to David so he could change into his famous Big Suit, Chris and Tina performed "Genius of Love" with Jerry Harrison and the other members of the Talking Heads big band--Bernie Worrell, Lynn Mabry, Edna Holt, Steve Scales and Alex Weir. Featured in the live film performance are projection stills of James Rizzi's artwork from the Tom Tom Club animated films, Genius of Love and Pleasure of Love . (Club member Rizzi also drew the artwork for the Tom Tom Club and Close To the Bone LPs, and painted the artwork for The Good The Bad and The Funky CD.)

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The heat goes on 1984 - 1987

 

For three years Chris and Tina took time off from Tom Tom Club to concentrate their efforts on their Talking Heads career. In March 1984 they performed what would be the Talking Heads' last concerts, headlining summer festivals in Australia and New Zealand with The Eurythmics, Simple Minds, INXS and The Pretenders. While waiting for Talking Heads to regroup after the tour, Chris and Tina took an invitation from the B-52's to guest with them on a tour of New England in December 1984. In early 1985 they flew to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to perform with the B-52s for the first "Rock In Rio," a national ten-day televised concert series with a live audience of 360,000. Chris and Tina returned from Rio to join Jerry and David in New York to make Talking Heads' Little Creatures (1985) and True Stories (1985 -1986). True Stories the album was finished in spring of 1986 in Los Angeles where David was making his True Stories the film, which also featured videos and music of the band. Between projects in September of 1985 and unable to bear any longer the heatless nights of winter in their commercially-zoned Long Island City loft, Chris and Tina had moved with their small son, Robin, to a fully-heated barn of a home, Cock Island, in nearby Connecticut. Their second son, Egan, joined them there in August of 1986. Their loft had been Talking Headquarters since 1976, and it was there that Chris, Tina, Jerry and David once again sat down to write for Naked (1988) in the spring of 1987. In June the band flew to Paris to record what was to be their last studio album. When they returned to New York in September, Chris and Tina were asked to produce Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers' Conscious Party album, an offer that would be repeated for One Bright Day (Virgin) in early 1989.

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Boom Boom Chi Boom Boom 1988

 

True Stories the film and its tie-ins occupied David Byrne for another year, so Chris and Tina went back into the studio to make another Tom Tom Club album. In September of 1988 the third Tom Tom Club album, Boom Boom Chi Boom Boom , was released in two versions on two separate labels (Fontana and Sire/Reprise), now both out of print. Both included the singles "Suboceana" and "Don't Say No to Love" as well as a sultry version of the Velvet Underground's cult classic, "Femme Fatale," featuring Lou Reed on guitar and chorus vocals. Talking Heads' David and Jerry also played and sang on "Femme Fatale." Most of the songs were more experimental dance or rock than funk or hip-hop, especially the Fontana version. Although the Sire/Reprise version had several new songs produced by Arthur Baker (the legendary electrofunk producer of Afrika Bambaataa & Soul Sonic Force's "Planet Rock" from 1982), the music was a radical departure, stylistically, from the previous albums.

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Let's go Suboceana 1988

 

Boom Boom Chi Boom Boom reflected distinct changes taking place both culturally and in the personal lives of Club members. For Lani and Laura, now married with children, it meant a shift away from singing with Chris and Tina part-time to full-time motherhood. Laura's co-write of "Suboceana" with Chris and Tina was a success on the dance floor. But with a new baby each, although they sang on the album, Lani and Laura did not join the tour to promote Boom Boom Chi Boom Boom.

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Babies are born, they accept the bizarre. . . 1988

 

The 1988 Tom Tom Club tour began in September with a well-remembered three-week residency at CBGB's. Chris and Tina, with Mark Roule on guitar and Gary Posner on keys, veered off in search of a quirky and raw, stripped-down garage band sound, surprising everyone used to 80's synth bands a few years before the Seattle grunge movement would re-popularize the retro sound for the 90's. A tour in October and November of Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK included a week at The Borderline in London and performances at the wildly decadent Ku Club in Ibiza. The quartet also toured Ireland from top to bottom. It culminated in a super tuned-in, turned-on invitation from the Grateful Dead to open for their New Year's Eve extravaganza at the Oakland Colosseum in San Francisco, California, on December 31, 1988.

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Challenge of the love warriors 1989

 

The 1989 Tom Tom Club tour of North America was different again from the first two. The band grew to a sextet that included Victoria Clamp and Trish Ipolito on vocals. Every venue in which the Tom Tom Club set up residency, whether for five nights at Chicago's Cubby Bear or three weeks at Los Angeles' Second Coming, was renamed "Tom Tom Club" for the duration of the shows. With popular local unsigned bands opening, as they had at the CBGBs shows, the vibe created was an instant CBGB's-meets-Studio 54 party scene. Concerts in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil, brought the tour to an end.

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Sweet dream, baby March 1990

 

In March 1990, widow Barbara Orbison asked many artists to perform live at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles to create the Roy Orbison Tribute, a televised fundraiser for the homeless. Chris, Tina, Jerry Harrison and Mark Roule got together to sing and play "Sweet Dream Baby" as the Shrunken Heads. On bass guitar, Tina also joined Bonnie Raitt, k. d. lang, and Emmy Lou Harris, among others, to create the all-girl Femme Fatales for "Pretty Woman."

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Feeling the call of the wild summer 1990

 

In the summer of 1990, just for fun, Tom Tom Club joined Debbie Harry, The Ramones, and Jerry Harrison to create the Escape from New York tour of North America. The eight-person line-up for the combined Tom Tom Club and Jerry Harrison groups was Bruce Martin on percussion, Victoria Clamp and Joyce Bowden on vocals, Marga Roman on vocals and keyboards, and Mark Roule on guitar. Jerry Harrison sang lead on his songs and played keyboards and guitar. Chris sang backgrounds and played drums. Tina sang lead on Tom Tom Club songs, backgrounds on Jerry's songs, and played bass. CJ Ramone was new to the Ramones line-up, having gone AWOL from the Marines to replace Dee Dee Ramone, who still wrote for the Ramones. Debbie Harry and Chris Stein formed the core of the Debbie Harry group, performing Blondie and solo hits. A Lollapalooza concert concept before its time, the lucky and the hip who saw this show have never forgotten it.

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Sand In the Vaseline 1991 -1992

 

The end of 1991 saw Chris and Tina working with Jerry and David to produce a 33-song Talking Heads "greatest hits" compilation, Sand In the Vaseline , for an early 1992 release. Under contract since 1988 to deliver five new studio albums, they did not take altogether seriously David's surprise announcement to the Los Angeles Times in December 1991 that Talking Heads had broken up. He had left the group twice before to go solo and had declared his time away from the group since 1988 a sabbatical. Surmising correctly, as the other members were later to learn when he wasn't too busy to answer their queries, David's statement was his annoyed reaction at being asked Talking Heads-related questions. He later explained, "I was keen to discuss my then current solo project. The interviewer became so persistent and repetitive that I eventually told him that Talking Heads had ceased to be--just so that he would stop repeating his questions."

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Yes, please! 1992

 

So in January of 1992 the production team of Chris and Tina, with Mark Roule as engineer and Bruce Martin as computer programmer, flew south to Eddie Grant's Blue Wave studio in Barbados to produce what would be the Happy Mondays' last album, Yes, Please! (Factory). The result was a tumultuous R&R adventure in sex, drugs and debauchery for the Happy Mondays that would crash five cars, land two group members in hospital and rehab, and help bankrupt their label. That no one died was lucky. That the finished album was the first the Mondays' would play rather than be sampled was a testament to Chris and Tina's perseverance to fulfill the band's wishes against all odds.

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Dark Sneak Love Action 1991 -1992

 

By 1991 Chris and Tina had built the Clubhouse, a painting and music studio, at their home in Connecticut. From the new studio came the fourth Tom Tom Club album, Dark Sneak Love Action (Sire/Reprise), released in summer 1992. A freestyle mix of experimental rock and dance, its dozen songs were a return to funky form, featuring the singles "Sunshine & Ecstasy" and a fresh take on Hot Chocolate's "You Sexy Thing." Chris and Tina toured the group throughout North America from July through November of 1992. Their live shows included "Love Wave," "Who Wants an Ugly Girl?" and "Irresistible Party Dip," along with favorites from previous Tom Tom albums. The six-person line-up included Bruce Martin on keyboards and percussion, Victoria Clamp on vocals, Susan Tobacman on keyboards and vocals, and Mark Roule on guitar.

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Kiss me when I get back! 1993 - 1994

 

Following the Dark Sneak Love Action tour, Chris and Tina took time off from the band to produce other artists. In 1993 they produced Shirley Manson's pre-Garbage Scottish rock band, Angelfish (Radioactive/MCA), which would bring her to the attention of Butch Vig and his Garbage cohorts. Then, in 1994, the team produced Rey Azucar (Sony-Latin America) for the Platinum-Grammy Argentinean artists los Fabulosos Cadillacs. An international mix of Latin punk, ska, Cuban salsa, and funky rock, Rey Azucar featured guest performances by Mick Jones (of Big Audio Dynamite; formerly of The Clash) and Jamaican dancehall pioneer "Big Youth." New York diva Debbie Harry sang a sexy bilingual duet with the Cadillacs on their Beatles homage, "Strawberry Fields Forever."

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We are your future from out of your past 1994 - 1995

 

Of all their various musical adventures, Chris and Tina always put Talking Heads first. In May 1994, however, their partner officially quit Talking Heads to exclusively pursue the solo career he'd begun back in 1980. Disappointed that David did not share their feelings for what they believed was a great partnership, his decision left Chris, Tina and Jerry alone to form a new band they called simply The Heads. The Heads' first song, "No Talking Just Head," an anthem sung by Debbie Harry about loss and betrayal from the point of view of someone on death row, was written for the 1995 soundtrack and film, Virtuosity , starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crow.

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No Talking Just Heads 1995 - 1996

 

For their first album project as The Heads, Chris, Tina and Jerry decided to write and record with a different vocalist of note on each song, making for a uniquely varied, highly individual album in the tradition of Talking Heads' wont for creative change. It simultaneously left the door open for David to rejoin Talking Heads, should he change his mind, while it maintained the integrity of the band proper by showcasing other gifted lyricists as honored guests. Released in October 1996, No Talking Just Head (Radioactive/MCA) included the singles "Damage I've Done" with Johnette Napolitano (of Concrete Blond) and "Punk Lolita," featuring Debbie Harry, Tina and Johnette on vocals. Andy Partridge (of XTC), Michael Hutchence (of INXS), Ed Kowalczyk (of Live), Maria McKee (formerly of Lone Justice), Richard Hell (author/poet; formerly of Television; The Voidoids), Gavin Friday (formerly of the Virgin Prunes), Shaun Ryder (of Black Grape; formerly of Happy Mondays), Gordon Gano (of Violent Femmes), and Malin Anneteg (spoken-word author and teacher) all contributed to make the project a provocative invitation to cerebral rock music you could dance to. Strong and original, it was an album for which Talking Heads would have been proud to release under any name.

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No more lonely nights 1996

 

The Heads performed shows in venues across North America, the UK and Europe with Johnette Napolitano performing lead vocals and "Blast" Murray playing lead guitar. Other guest artists from No Talking Just Head made surprise appearances in different cities, including a memorable concert at Webster Hall in New York featuring Johnette Napolitano, Debbie Harry, Maria McKee, Gavin Friday, Gordon Gano, and Malin Anneteg performing with Jerry, Blast, Chris and Tina.

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Superdreaming 1997 - 1998

 

In 1997 Chris, Tina and Jerry returned to the Clubhouse to make a second Heads album, this time enlisting singer and trumpeter Jimmy Helms, whose former band, London Beat, had made a big hit in 1994 with "I've Been Thinking About You." By mid 1997, however, The Heads' momentum was brought to a halt by corporate restructuring at the MCA label. Jerry Harrison returned to the studio in California to produce baby bands, and Chris and Tina went into the Clubhouse to write songs for a new Tom Tom Club album.

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Let there be love 1998

 

In early 1998 Chris and Tina met soul singer extraordinaire Charles Pettigrew, who sang his hit singles from his former group, Charles and Eddie, "Would I Lie To You" and "Shine" in the Tom Tom Club Oktoberfest tour later that year. The first Tom Tom Club tour in six years, the new line-up played select clubs of the East Coast. Steve Scales joined to played congas and percussion, and Bruce Martin again played keyboards and percussion. Rocking the guitar for the first time with the Tom Tom crew was Robby Aceto. Chris and Tina played drums and bass as usual.

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Gonna put you in the mood with a funky groove 1998

 

Live, Tina and Charles sang harmony and took turns singing lead. With all six musicians blending their vocals to the mix, it made for an ecstatic, soulfully funky set. The first show was a benefit for the alumni scholarship fund for Chris and Tina's alma mater RISD (RIZ-DEE), a benefit they repeated by popular demand in 1999. The last show of the tour was also a return to an alma mater of sorts, Hilly Kristal's club CBGB's in New York City.

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Time to bounce 1999

 

Encouraged by the artistic success of that tour, more shows followed in the spring of 1999 at favorite old digs (CBGB's) and new (S.O.B.'s). Tom Tom Club classics were reworked, newly written songs were broken in. In September 1999 Chris and Tina took the band to the West Coast for the Seattle Bumbershoot and Crested Butte One World music festivals in Washington and Colorado, respectively. Their original, deft funk and contagious hip-hop stylings rocked jubilant fans, many of whom had never before seen the Tom Tom Club live in concert.

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The Good The Bad and The Funky 1999 - 2000

 

Back at the Clubhouse by the end of 1999, the new album assumed completion. Ten original songs and two choice covers had grown organically in classic Tom Tom Club freestyle form. Chris and Tina wrote the basic tracks, which were recorded and later mixed with Clubhouse engineer Doug McKean. Additional instruments and vocals were overdubbed by Club members and friends who visited the Clubhouse to make enthusiastic contributions. When released in 2000, The Good The Bad and The Funky (Tip Top/Ryko) would be a seamless trip through hip-hop, dance, soul, ska, funk, rock and reggae that the Village Voice would call "shockingly fly" and the London Times "a record bursting with more invention, wit and dance-savvy eclecticism than seems decent--or possible."

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Who feelin it?

 

Jamaican "Ska Father," Toots Hibbert, of Toots & The Maytals, sang lead on Chris and Tina's first foray into ska, "She's Dangerous." Clavinet and an ominous organ intro were added to "Holy Water" by P-funkster Bernie Worrell when he passed through touring with his group The Woo Warriors. Sergio Rotman, formerly of los Fabulous Cadillacs, from Argentina, and now of MimiMaura, added saxes to "She's Dangerous" and a Lee "Scratch" Perry classic reggae track, "Soul Fire." Soul singer Charles Pettigrew sang the leads on songs he co-wrote with Chris and Tina, "Holy Water," "Let There Be Love" and "(C'mon) Surrender." Abdou M'Boup, a Griot from Senegal (who had remained friends with Chris and Tina since recording with Talking Heads in Paris in 1987) added percussion to "Let There Be Love," "Holy Water" and "Lesbians By The Lake," the latter a trippy instrumental he co-wrote with Chris and Tina and which features him playing his native harp, the kora. Jamaican-born Mystic Bowie, proud of his Maroon heritage, sang and toasted on "Soul Fire" and "Time To Bounce." Bruce Martin played love-sexy organ and Moog on Donna Summer and Giorgio Moroder's dance classic, "Love To Love You, Baby." Guitarist Robby Aceto added his unique stylings to "Who Feelin It," "Happiness Can't Buy Money," "Holy Water," "(C'mon) Surrender," "Superdreaming" and "Let There Be Love." Clubhouse piano tuner, William Harold (better known as "Boomer" to the Yale music students whose many pianos he tunes) dropped in to add a rollicking electric piano on "Soul Fire." Kid Ginseng, only 15 at the time, added funky turntable scratches to "Who Feelin It" and "Happiness Can't Buy Money."

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Get Funky!

 

Detailed album credits, including all that Chris and Tina played and sang, are in the CD booklet of The Good The Bad And The Funky CD, available online at the Tip Top Mom & Pop Shop at www.tomtomclub.net and at www.rykodisc.com. It can also be ordered in stores and purchased from the merch table at Tom Tom Club shows.

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Tiptop, gonna feel so good! 2000

 

To promote The Good The Bad and The Funky , Chris and Tina formed the Tip Top Music label in 1999 and partnered with the independent label Rykodisc. Early in 2000 two of the album's songs were remixed for other compilations. Cause-n-ff-ect Records released a Tom Novy remix of Chris and Tina's version of the Donna Summer classic, "Love To Love You, Baby," on its DJEmpire tribute album to Giorgio Moroder. Director Mary Harron's film and soundtrack of the Bret Easton Ellis novel of the same name, American Psycho , a dark comedy, included a groovy Philip Steir remix of "Who Feelin It."

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Booming and zooming 2000

 

In June 2000 the Tom Tom Club traveled to California to play the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival. After this excellent festival--a virtual mecca of reggae heavies--the band was primed for a concert in New York City at the Bowery Ballroom. Fighting a cancer that would take his life, Charles Pettigrew had become too ill to travel. Jamaican-born Mystic Bowie (of Mystic Bowie & The Pallbearers) and New Yorker Victoria Clamp (a member since 1989) came on board then--not to fill Charles's big shoes, but to keep the Club performing in hopes that Charles would return to an even more fabulous band than the one he had last heard. The Tom Tom Club's fifth album, The Good The Bad and The Funky (Tip Top/Ryko), was released on CD in North America in September 2000, and in Europe some time after. Charles's family drove him up from Philly to Tip Top's downtown New York City album release party where Bill Coleman was dj and the party crowd danced until morning.

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Gorillaz 2000

 

In a completely different vein, Chris played bongos and Tina sang background "la-la's" at the Clubhouse for the song "19-2000" for inclusion on Damon Albarn (Blur) and Dan "The Automator" Nakamura's Gorillaz project. The quirky experimental collaboration, which included lead vocals by Miho "Get your cool shoeshine" Hatori, Damon accompanying his vocal on guitar, and Del the Funky HomoSapien rapping over classic reggae samples, would become one of the biggest and freshest international hits of the year 2001.

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C'mon, surrender October - November 2000

 

Galvanized by the excitement generated by the release of the new album (the first in 8 years), the Tom Tom Club played a concert tour of 25 cities in the US, renewing old friendships and making new. Great reviews for The Good The Bad and The Funky and the show praised the songs and the formidable musicianship. Besides Chris and Tina on drums and bass and vocals, the line-up included Bruce Martin on keyboards and percussion, Robby Aceto on guitar, Abdou M'Boup on percussion, Victoria Clamp and Mystic Bowie on vocals. Everybody sang, everybody danced.

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Sand January 2001

 

Asked by the Mockingbird Foundation to contribute to a Phish tribute album to benefit music education for young people, Chris and Tina were joined by Robby, Bruce and Mystic at the Clubhouse to cut their Carribean inflected dance hall version of Phish's "Sand." Phish had performed Talking Heads' Remain In Light in its entirety as their 1996 Halloween mask performance at the Omni in Atlanta, Georgia. Chris and Tina were more than happy to return the compliment for an excellent cause.

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You don't stop . . . April 2001

 

In April of 2001 Charles Pettigrew lost his fight with cancer. He was 37 years young. Everyone who knew Charles mourned the passing of an incredible artist and tender human being. The Time To Bounce DVD single was dedicated to his memory and made available in a limited edition. Charles was praised in tribute obituaries by European and American press, a small testament to how much he was missed. Carrying on, the group went overseas to play concerts in Amsterdam, Cologne, Brussels, Bourges, and London. The Guardian gave the show a 5-star review and The Independent raved about both the album and the concert.

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. . . and you don't stop! the 2001 Jammy Awards

 

Back in the USA, the group continued to play to new audiences, including the acclaimed Jammy Awards ceremony at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City. Extended jams on "Genius of Love" and "Wordy Rappinghood" featured a guest appearance by Spearhead's dynamic Michael Franti and his band mate, Radioactive.

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It's all good August 2001

 

Another highlight of the summer was a performance at the Gathering of the Vibes in Red Hook, NY, when Tom Tom Club demonstrated how it could literally bring out the sunshine for 20,000 drenched hippie-hoppers. Vying with the Vibes for sheer fun was the show at Detroit's Festival of Colors where the group had a hot time playing for an audience of 5,000 that danced on its feet the whole set through. Fun included partying with fellow performers Miho Hatori and Yuka Honda of Cibo Matto.

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9 -11- 2001

 

September 11th started as a beautiful day to begin rehearsals for the 2001 fall tour. Following the tragic events of the morning, the first shows in downtown NYC were canceled. But there is a spirit of love and happiness that is always present at Tom Tom Club shows and it was positively reinforced by fans who gathered to rock in defiance of terrorists and war hawks alike. The group tooled the East Coast from Maine to Florida, searching out the hip and the compassionate. They were not disappointed.

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S'a'p passez? M'a'p boulez! October 5, 2001

 

Tom Tom Club let the good times roll by leading Pittsburghers in a private fundraising for the Albert Schweitzer Hospital of Haiti. A gala affair held in downtown artist loft digs with a beautiful view of the Steel City's bridges and three rivers, a great many spirits were raised in addition to funds for the hospital. Tina spoke simply, "This is how we stop wars!" as the band broke into their classic dance grooves. Revelers reported they still had Tom Tom music reeling through their dreams in the nights and days that followed. By popular demand, this fundraiser is back September 27, 2002, and so are the Tom Tom Club. Added to the 2002 show are Mystic Bowie and The Pallbearers so party people can get their groove on and keep it on!

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Live @ The Clubhouse October 14, 2001

 

Party, party, party! Two sets performed live at the Clubhouse on Cock Island, Connecticut, recorded courtesy of Jay Newland and his assistant, Randy Funke (both of the Grapes). The food was French cuisine, the libations were a buzz and the atmospheric pressure perfect for recording. Guests a-whirl, the musicianship was ideal. Fans can check it out on September 24, 2002, when Live @ The Clubhouse , the double-CD album of 16 songs, hits the streets at only one dollar above single CD price.

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Good stuff November 10, 2001

 

Tom Tom Club joined their friends the B-52s at the Anselmo Amphitheater in Tuscon, Arizona. The band was hot to get fans stoked for a hell of a double bill. "There goes a Tina fish!" roared Fred as Tina swam across the stage during the B-52s encore finale, "Rock Lobster." Both bands agreed to get together for more of that good stuff.

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Rock and roll high school March 17, 2002

 

Talking Heads were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Joining them at the Waldorf Astoria Ballroom in New York City for a gala performance were Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bernie Worrell (P-Funk) and Steve Scales. Chris said, "I want to thank the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for giving this band a happy ending!" Also inducted were Chris and Tina's good friends, Dee Dee, Joey, Johnny, Tommy and Marky Ramone. CJ Ramone, who had spent the year cleaning up at Ground Zero, was gratefully recognized by all as an unofficial inductee.

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Gabba gabba hey! May 2002

 

May 4, 2002, Tom Tom Club headlined the Independent Book Publishers party at Roseland Ballroom in New York City. Dee Dee Ramone, who had recently published his second book in two years, was also on the bill with his band, which included CJ Ramone guesting on bass and Marky Ramone on drums. It was Dee Dee's last performance, proving to all present he had never lost his punk charisma and survivor spirit. It was, tragically, Dee Dee's last performance. Newest Club member, scratcher Kid Ginseng, moshed the whole night through.

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The Summer Bounce Tour July - August 2002

 

Tom Tom Club performed in beach honky tonks and classic clubs--plus two major outdoor concerts with the B-52s--to rock the summer vacationers of New England. The first show at Port of Hudson, courtesy of Club Helsinki, was a conscious party to "Stop The Plant," an hydroelectric plant on the Hudson River planned by Swiss investors that would dirty the cleaned-up river anew and mar the air and skyline in pristine historic New York countryside. Dj battle champ of Bridgeport in 2000, Kid Ginseng, aged 19, debuted to rock the turntable and join the Club. Offers to play colleges began to roll in when students who'd never witnessed the group's party dynamics woke up to the sounds of the Tom Toms. Boola boola, it's back to school for the Club on September 21st at Yale University in New Haven. . .

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Back to school . . . fall+winter+spring 2002-2003

 

The tour schedule to promote the release of Live @ The Clubhouse (Tip Top/iMusic/ARTISTdirect) is extensive. Shows are planned across the USA. Check it out as the schedule grows in Shows. Be there or be square!

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2003 - Present

 

Chris and Tina are making plans for the future. ...

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