For the first time since its original airing in September 2020, Turkuaz is treating fans to the complete Remain in Light set filmed remotely for Bonnaroo’s virtual livestream ROO-ALITY, featuring legendary Talking Heads musicians Jerry Harrison and Adrian Belew, with percussion from Yahuba Garcia-Torres.
The initial Turkuaz, Harrison & Belew tour came about as a 40th anniversary celebration of Talking Heads’ 1980 record, Remain in Light, which peaked at 19 on the Billboard Top 200 upon release. The ensemble was set to play a handful of dates over the summer of 2020, until COVID-19 swiftly derailed all live music for the foreseeable future. “We had always planned on doing a little bit of Turkuaz material in the upcoming Remain in Light tour with Adrian Belew and Jerry Harrison,” shares Turkuaz frontman, Dave Brandwein.
While Turkuaz’s “Ophidiophobia” had been penned for some time, it had yet to be performed live and so, Brandwein was eager to add it to the Remain in Light repertoire for summer 2020. He continues, “Once the pandemic hit and the tour was postponed, I started to think this would be a really nice track to have those guys on.” So in the age of social distancing, Harrison and Belew added in their parts remotely and the “Remain in Light” ensemble put something special together for Bonnaroo’s Virtual ROO-ALITY to honor the collaboration.
“Remain in Light and Talking Heads have been part of the soundtrack of our lives, and a huge inspiration to us as a band since day one,” Brandwein shares fondly. In Relix’s April/May 2020 feature, he recalls the night bassist Taylor Shell showed him Talking Heads’ 1984 film Stop Making Sense, and how it struck him instantly, influencing the band’s trajectory and mentality. “It was definitely unlike anything I had ever seen and is still unlike anything I have ever seen.” Brandwein notes. “It was right about the time we were starting this band. We wanted to cover their material as much as we could so we could get inside the arrangements and figure out what was going on—what made it feel that way and sound that way.” Fast forward to 2020, they would be joining the renowned musicians on tour, if it weren’t for a pandemic, of course.
Upon seeing Turkuaz perform their own show live this past December, Belew shared, “Turkuaz came [to] town to play the Exit/In. Jerry Harrison flew in and he and I went to see the show. It was super funky and joyous! After two songs we looked at each other and said ‘this is gonna work beautifully!'”
Harrison adds, “What a joy it is to be playing music with Adrian Belew again. Having recently produced music for Turkuaz, it was like I was introducing close friends who had never met. We all left the rehearsal very excited.”
The chemistry between the musicians was instantly apparent. “When we started working together, I immediately realized what really great players they were,” adds Harrison. “You can tell that from the records. But when you’re actually in a rehearsal situation, you understand how quickly people pick things up. And if you want to change something, that’s not a problem.”
Witness the virtual magic for yourself on Turkuaz’s official YouTube channel: youtube.com/user/turkuazband