Whether you’re watching an old live performance, the Talking Heads’ classic concert film Stop Making Sense or just listening to their records, it’s hard to deny the sheer excitement one feels when you hear Tina Weymouth’s iconic bassline for the Talking Heads landmark song ‘Psycho Killer’. As such, and in celebration of Weymouth, we thought we’d bring you the isolated bassline from that shudderingly brilliant song.
More often than not, to isolate the bassline of a song feels pretty counter-intuitive. The idea of a great bassline, on the whole, is to provide a foundation for the rest of the band to build from, to give them solid-ground to break for whatever purposes they may need. But, the truth is, when a bass part is as imposing, impressive and all-round iconic as this one from Weymouth and Talking Heads one simply must pay it closer attention.
Taken from Talking Heads 77, the band’s most trusted song ‘Psycho Killer’ has always elicited the greatest reaction when performing live, from their first moments on the CBGB stage in 1975 right up until their final performances. Byrne said of the song: “When I started writing this (I got help later), I imagined Alice Cooper doing a Randy Newman-type ballad. Both the Joker and Hannibal Lecter were much more fascinating than the good guys. Everybody sort of roots for the bad guys in movies.”
The song’s presence as a perennial party starter cannot be excused. It’s not hard to see how this track is capable of transforming a crowd into a sweating, heaving mass. While we’re sure Byrne’s delivery is important and the rest of the band’s contribution to the song is vital, the song utterly hangs on Weymouth’s bass.
Those first iconic notes will be heard up and down the country in indie clubs every night and will signal to those on the dancefloor that they’ve got a good night ahead of them. In fact, it’s Weymouth who can be seen as the party-starter for the band’s entire catalogue, driving the songs infectious groove with her bass and propelling the group and their audience into a state of pop delirium.
There is, however, no better showing of this than on the classic Talking Heads track ‘Psycho Killer’. Below, listen to the isolated bass track of the magnetic Tina Weymouth.