Chris Frantz’s Novel “Remain In Love”

Released in the midst of COVID-19, the novel “Remain In Love,” written by Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz, depicts an in-depth history of his career with the band, side project Tom Tom Club to unfolding Frontman David Byrne’s apathetic and conceited ways.


Emi Smart, Features Editor

While not an epic page turner like Debbie Harry’s memoir “Face it,” “Remain In Love”(a nod to Talking Heads’ fourth studio album, “Remain in the Light”) transports the reader to the seventies punk scene, starting in New York. From Frantz’s entertaining adolescent days in various states—a result of being an Army brat—to Talking Heads’ first tour with the Ramones, the prolific drummer takes music fans behind the curtain and reveals inside dynamics of Talking Heads. Especially with the ultimate breakup of the band—in short because of Byrne’s egotistical antics. 

One thing lost in a plethora of inside scoops of all the infamous, legendary musicians—like Johnny Ramone’s crybaby attitude—is a sense of reality for the band members. When Talking Heads first takes off in the grimy, heart of punk Bowery district club CBGB in New York, Frantz only touches on his starstruckdom—an example from the book being when Frantz sees Mick Jagger for the first time (whilst the Rolling Stone was sobbing to jukebox music in a New York cafe). Frantz’s story, at times, feels summative and nonchalant about the band’s big career moments. It’s clearly not a diary from Frantz’s innocent, fresh-out-of-art-school 20’s perspective, but a story told in full by 70-year-old Frantz,which may drop more of the “What the hell! I’m speaking to Patti Smith, THE Patti Smith!” talk that readers would expect. 

Speaking of the legendary Patti Smith, and according to Frantz’s book, she says just one thing after meeting the four talking heads at CBGB for the first time: “Oh, yeah. You’re that art school band. I wish my parents were rich enough to send me to art school,” before promptly walking away. A fair response from the leather-jacket queen of punk to the quirky, collared-shirt contrarian band of Talking Heads. And as “Remain In Love” fashionably highlights, punk is everything to the contrary, so doesn’t it seem that Talking Heads is the most punk band of all?

For a 400 page novel, Frantz’s story makes an interesting read for bored Sunday afternoons or a slow work shift. But, He’s a musician, not a writer. Don’t expect to finish “Remain In Love” in a day.