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169 David Byrne Quotes That Will Make You Think

Famous As: American-Scottish musician
Born On: May 14, 1952
Born In: Dumbarton, Scotland
Age: 70 Years

David Byrne is a Scotland-born American musician. He was the founding member, main songwriter, and lead singer and guitarist of the American new wave band ‘Talking Heads’. He has a distinctive voice and multi-instrumentalist. He has received various accolades such as Oscars, Golden Globe and Grammy awards for his versatile work in photography, fiction, opera and featured films. An inductee of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Byrne has also produced soundtracks for various movies such as Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. With his own record label Luaka Bop, he collaborated and gave opportunity to various artists from Cuba, Latin America and Africa. In 2005, he launched his own radio station Radio David Byrne, which played classics from various genres such as country, jazz and Afro music. Byrne is also renowned for his enthusiasm about cycling. After publishing his own novel, The Bicycle Diaries, he designed bicycle parking racks along with the help of a manufacturer and sold them eventually as art. Here is a collection of famous quotes from this icon in music industry.

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Sometimes it's a form of love just to talk to somebody that you have nothing in common with and still be fascinated by their presence.

Sometimes it's a form of love just to talk to somebody that you have nothing in common with and still be fascinated by their presence.

David Byrne
The true face of smoking is disease, death and horror - not the glamour and sophistication the pushers in the tobacco industry try to portray.

The true face of smoking is disease, death and horror - not the glamour and sophistication the pushers in the tobacco industry try to portray.

David Byrne
Cycling can be lonely, but in a good way. It gives you a moment to breathe and think, and get away from what you're working on.

Cycling can be lonely, but in a good way. It gives you a moment to breathe and think, and get away from what you're working on.

David Byrne
Cycling is a joy and faster than many other modes of transport, depending on the time of day. It clears the head.

Cycling is a joy and faster than many other modes of transport, depending on the time of day. It clears the head.

David Byrne
People in Latin America... love America from afar and emulate America in some ways but also hate a lot of things that America does to them.

People in Latin America... love America from afar and emulate America in some ways but also hate a lot of things that America does to them.

David Byrne
On a bike, being just slightly above pedestrian and car eye level, one gets a perfect view of the goings-on in one's own town.

On a bike, being just slightly above pedestrian and car eye level, one gets a perfect view of the goings-on in one's own town.

David Byrne
Deep down, I know I have this intuition or instinct that a lot of creative people have, that their demons are also what make them create.

Deep down, I know I have this intuition or instinct that a lot of creative people have, that their demons are also what make them create.

David Byrne
I've been in beautiful landscapes where one is tempted to whip out a camera and take a picture. I've learned to resist that.

I've been in beautiful landscapes where one is tempted to whip out a camera and take a picture. I've learned to resist that.

David Byrne
I ride my bike almost every day here in New York. It's getting safer to do so, but I do have to be fairly alert when riding on the streets as opposed to riding on the Hudson River bike path or similar protected lanes.

I ride my bike almost every day here in New York. It's getting safer to do so, but I do have to be fairly alert when riding on the streets as opposed to riding on the Hudson River bike path or similar protected lanes.

David Byrne
It's not always been a happy marriage. I guess I wanted a quick fix.

It's not always been a happy marriage. I guess I wanted a quick fix.

David Byrne
People use irony as a defense mechanism.

People use irony as a defense mechanism.

David Byrne
You can know or not know how a car runs and still enjoy riding in a car.

You can know or not know how a car runs and still enjoy riding in a car.

David Byrne
To shake your rump is to be environmentally aware.

To shake your rump is to be environmentally aware.

David Byrne
I'd like to be known for more than being the guy in the big suit.

I'd like to be known for more than being the guy in the big suit.

David Byrne
I don't like begging money from producers.

I don't like begging money from producers.

David Byrne
I resent the implication that I'm less of a musician and a worse person for not appreciating certain works.

I resent the implication that I'm less of a musician and a worse person for not appreciating certain works.

David Byrne
My favorite time of day is to get up and eat leftovers from dinner, especially spicy food.

My favorite time of day is to get up and eat leftovers from dinner, especially spicy food.

David Byrne
I'm no Lance Armstrong, but I do use a bike to get from place to place in Manhattan, a little bit of Brooklyn.

I'm no Lance Armstrong, but I do use a bike to get from place to place in Manhattan, a little bit of Brooklyn.

David Byrne
If anything, a lot of electronic music is music that no one listens to at home, hardly. It's really only to be heard when everyone's out enjoying it.

If anything, a lot of electronic music is music that no one listens to at home, hardly. It's really only to be heard when everyone's out enjoying it.

David Byrne
Everything's intentional. It's just filling in the dots.

Everything's intentional. It's just filling in the dots.

David Byrne

Do I wear a helmet? Ugh. I do when I'm riding through a precarious part of town, meaning Midtown traffic. But when I'm riding on secure protected lanes or on the paths that run along the Hudson or through Central Park - no, I don't wear the dreaded helmet then.

David Byrne
PowerPoint may not be of any use for you in a presentation, but it may liberate you in another way, an artistic way. Who knows.

PowerPoint may not be of any use for you in a presentation, but it may liberate you in another way, an artistic way. Who knows.

David Byrne
You create a community with music, not just at concerts but by talking about it with your friends.

You create a community with music, not just at concerts but by talking about it with your friends.

David Byrne
That's the thing about pictures: they seduce you.

That's the thing about pictures: they seduce you.

David Byrne
Real beauty knocks you a little bit off kilter.

Real beauty knocks you a little bit off kilter.

David Byrne
I knew I wanted to have a doll of myself on the cover. I thought, I wanna see myself as a Ken doll.

I knew I wanted to have a doll of myself on the cover. I thought, I wanna see myself as a Ken doll.

David Byrne
Analysis is like a lobotomy. Who wants to have all their edges shaved off?

Analysis is like a lobotomy. Who wants to have all their edges shaved off?

David Byrne
I certainly agree that putting everything into little genres is counterproductive. You're not going to get too many surprises if you only focus on the stuff that fits inside the box that you know.

I certainly agree that putting everything into little genres is counterproductive. You're not going to get too many surprises if you only focus on the stuff that fits inside the box that you know.

David Byrne

There's a certain amount of freedom involved in cycling: you're self-propelled and decide exactly where to go. If you see something that catches your eye to the left, you can veer off there, which isn't so easy in a car, and you can't cover as much ground walking.

David Byrne
I wanted to be a secret agent and an astronaut, preferably at the same time.

I wanted to be a secret agent and an astronaut, preferably at the same time.

David Byrne
Punk was defined by an attitude rather than a musical style.

Punk was defined by an attitude rather than a musical style.

David Byrne
The voting booth joint is a great leveler; the whole neighborhood - rich, poor, old, young, decrepit and spunky - they all turn out in one day.

The voting booth joint is a great leveler; the whole neighborhood - rich, poor, old, young, decrepit and spunky - they all turn out in one day.

David Byrne
I found music to be the therapy of choice. I guess it is for a lot of people.

I found music to be the therapy of choice. I guess it is for a lot of people.

David Byrne
Life tends to be an accumulation of a lot of mundane decisions, which often gets ignored.

Life tends to be an accumulation of a lot of mundane decisions, which often gets ignored.

David Byrne
Software constraints are only confining if you use them for what they're intended to be used for.

Software constraints are only confining if you use them for what they're intended to be used for.

David Byrne
With music, you often don't have to translate it. It just affects you, and you don't know why.

With music, you often don't have to translate it. It just affects you, and you don't know why.

David Byrne
I'm proud of 'Stop Making Sense,' but it's a little bit of an albatross; I can't compete with it, but I can't ignore it either.

I'm proud of 'Stop Making Sense,' but it's a little bit of an albatross; I can't compete with it, but I can't ignore it either.

David Byrne

I've made money, and I've been ripped off. I've had creative freedom, and I've been pressured to make hits. I have dealt with diva behavior from crazy musicians, and I have seen genius records by wonderful artists get completely ignored. I love music. I always will.

David Byrne

Yeah, I like to keep myself interested - I'll kind of throw myself into some area that I don't completely know or understand, that I'm not adept at, so I'm forced to swim in order to stay afloat. There's a good feeling that comes from that.

David Byrne
I'm very much into making lists and breaking things apart into categories.

I'm very much into making lists and breaking things apart into categories.

David Byrne
I've noticed a lot of younger artists have less fear of doing different sorts of things, whether it's various types of music, or gallery artists moving between video and sculpture and drawing.

I've noticed a lot of younger artists have less fear of doing different sorts of things, whether it's various types of music, or gallery artists moving between video and sculpture and drawing.

David Byrne
Most of our lives aren't that exciting, but the drama is still going on in the small details.

Most of our lives aren't that exciting, but the drama is still going on in the small details.

David Byrne
Performing is a thing in itself, a distinct skill, different from making recordings. And for those who can do it, it's a way to make a living.

Performing is a thing in itself, a distinct skill, different from making recordings. And for those who can do it, it's a way to make a living.

David Byrne
That's the one for my tombstone... Here lies David Byrne. Why the big suit?

That's the one for my tombstone... Here lies David Byrne. Why the big suit?

David Byrne
I love getting out of my comfort zone.

I love getting out of my comfort zone.

David Byrne

The physical sensation of gliding with the wind in your face is exhilarating. That automatic activity of pedalling, when you have to be awake but not think too much, allows you to let subconscious thoughts bubble up, and things seem to just sort themselves out. And the adrenaline wakes you up if you weren't properly alert.

David Byrne
All you needed was a couple of instruments and a few chords and you could be on an indie label.

All you needed was a couple of instruments and a few chords and you could be on an indie label.

David Byrne
The arts don't exist in isolation.

The arts don't exist in isolation.

David Byrne
Some artists and indie musicians see Spotify fairly positively - as a way of getting noticed, of getting your music out there where folks can hear it risk-free.

Some artists and indie musicians see Spotify fairly positively - as a way of getting noticed, of getting your music out there where folks can hear it risk-free.

David Byrne
Television sounded really different than the Ramones sounded really different than us sounded really different than Blondie sounded really different than the Sex Pistols.

Television sounded really different than the Ramones sounded really different than us sounded really different than Blondie sounded really different than the Sex Pistols.

David Byrne
Yeah, it's pretty hard not to be completely cynical these days.

Yeah, it's pretty hard not to be completely cynical these days.

David Byrne
I have trouble imagining what I could do that's beyond the practicality of what I can do.

I have trouble imagining what I could do that's beyond the practicality of what I can do.

David Byrne
We don't make music - it makes us.

We don't make music - it makes us.

David Byrne
The assumption is that your personal life has to be a mess to create, but how much chaos can you allow in before it takes over?

The assumption is that your personal life has to be a mess to create, but how much chaos can you allow in before it takes over?

David Byrne

With pop music, the format dictates the form to a big degree. Just think of the pop single. It has endured as a form even in the download age because bands conform to a strict format, and work, often very productively, within the parameters.

David Byrne
I find rebellion packaged by a major corporation a little hard to take seriously.

I find rebellion packaged by a major corporation a little hard to take seriously.

David Byrne
I subscribe to the myth that an artist's creativity comes from torment. Once that's fixed, what do you draw on?

I subscribe to the myth that an artist's creativity comes from torment. Once that's fixed, what do you draw on?

David Byrne
One of the benefits of playing to small audiences in small clubs for a few years is that you're allowed to fail.

One of the benefits of playing to small audiences in small clubs for a few years is that you're allowed to fail.

David Byrne
From what I've heard, Paris did a little bit more prep work as far as making bike lanes and all of that stuff. They really did it properly, which New York is getting to little by little.

From what I've heard, Paris did a little bit more prep work as far as making bike lanes and all of that stuff. They really did it properly, which New York is getting to little by little.

David Byrne
I always think the everyday is more relevant than anything too grand because we all have to deal with it.

I always think the everyday is more relevant than anything too grand because we all have to deal with it.

David Byrne
In retrospect, I can see I couldn't talk to people face to face, so I got on stage and started screaming and squealing and twitching about. Ha! Like, that sure made sense!

In retrospect, I can see I couldn't talk to people face to face, so I got on stage and started screaming and squealing and twitching about. Ha! Like, that sure made sense!

David Byrne
I use a stream-of-consciousness approach; if you don't censor yourself, you end up with what you're most concerned about, but you haven't filtered it through your conscious mind. Then you craft it.

I use a stream-of-consciousness approach; if you don't censor yourself, you end up with what you're most concerned about, but you haven't filtered it through your conscious mind. Then you craft it.

David Byrne
I couldn't talk to people face to face, so I got on stage and started screaming and squealing and twitching.

I couldn't talk to people face to face, so I got on stage and started screaming and squealing and twitching.

David Byrne
I'm not suggesting people abandon musical instruments and start playing their cars and apartments, but I do think the reign of music as a commodity made only by professionals might be winding down.

I'm not suggesting people abandon musical instruments and start playing their cars and apartments, but I do think the reign of music as a commodity made only by professionals might be winding down.

David Byrne
Physical contact is a human necessity.

Physical contact is a human necessity.

David Byrne
When things get so absurd and so stupid and so ridiculous that you just can't bear it, you cannot help but turn everything into a joke.

When things get so absurd and so stupid and so ridiculous that you just can't bear it, you cannot help but turn everything into a joke.

David Byrne
Sometimes I write stuff that strangely predicts what's going to happen in my life.

Sometimes I write stuff that strangely predicts what's going to happen in my life.

David Byrne
You go to a festival, you know you're not going to play all new material at a festival. The audience is not there for that. I've made that mistake, but you find out pretty quickly.

You go to a festival, you know you're not going to play all new material at a festival. The audience is not there for that. I've made that mistake, but you find out pretty quickly.

David Byrne

One knew in advance that life in New York would not be easy, but there were cheap rents in cold-water lofts without heat, and the excitement of being here made up for those hardships. I didn't move to New York to make a fortune.

David Byrne
I cycled when I was at high school, then reconnected with bikes in New York in the late '70s. It was a good way of getting around the clubs and galleries of the Lower East Side and Soho.

I cycled when I was at high school, then reconnected with bikes in New York in the late '70s. It was a good way of getting around the clubs and galleries of the Lower East Side and Soho.

David Byrne
Music was an experience, intimately married to your life. You could pay to hear music, but after you did, it was over, gone - a memory.

Music was an experience, intimately married to your life. You could pay to hear music, but after you did, it was over, gone - a memory.

David Byrne
Frank Lloyd Wright... his things were beautiful but not very functional.

Frank Lloyd Wright... his things were beautiful but not very functional.

David Byrne
I like to combine the dramatic emotional warmth of strings with the grooves and body business of drums and bass.

I like to combine the dramatic emotional warmth of strings with the grooves and body business of drums and bass.

David Byrne
The imminent demise of the large record companies as gatekeepers of the world's popular music is a good thing, for the most part.

The imminent demise of the large record companies as gatekeepers of the world's popular music is a good thing, for the most part.

David Byrne
People are already finding ways to make their music and play it in front of people and have a life in music, I guess, and I think that's pretty much all you can ask.

People are already finding ways to make their music and play it in front of people and have a life in music, I guess, and I think that's pretty much all you can ask.

David Byrne
I don't think people are going to switch over to bikes because it's good for them or because it's politically correct. They're going to do it because it gets them from A to B faster.

I don't think people are going to switch over to bikes because it's good for them or because it's politically correct. They're going to do it because it gets them from A to B faster.

David Byrne
I do seem to like to combine the dramatic emotional warmth of strings with the grooves and body business of drums and bass.

I do seem to like to combine the dramatic emotional warmth of strings with the grooves and body business of drums and bass.

David Byrne
Yeah, anybody can go in with two turntables and a microphone or a home studio sampler and a little cassette deck or whatever and make records in their bedrooms.

Yeah, anybody can go in with two turntables and a microphone or a home studio sampler and a little cassette deck or whatever and make records in their bedrooms.

David Byrne

Well, Marx is having a comeback. I hear him mentioned a lot in terms of the global financial situation and the general sense of injustice out there. A lot of economic experts in America refer to him without actually using the M word, but he's around.

David Byrne
As everything becomes digitized, there's the idea that things that can't be digitized become more valuable.

As everything becomes digitized, there's the idea that things that can't be digitized become more valuable.

David Byrne

I remember talking with Arcade Fire after their first record, when they were getting all kinds of offers from major labels, and I don't think I gave them any advice. They survived that whole onslaught pretty well anyway without me.

David Byrne

In a certain way, it's the sound of the words, the inflection and the way the song is sung and the way it fits the melody and the way the syllables are on the tongue that has as much of the meaning as the actual, literal words.

David Byrne
Do creative, social, and civic attitudes change depending on where we live? Yes, I think so.

Do creative, social, and civic attitudes change depending on where we live? Yes, I think so.

David Byrne
Some folks believe that hardship breeds artistic creativity. I don't buy it. One can put up with poverty for a while when one is young, but it will inevitably wear a person down.

Some folks believe that hardship breeds artistic creativity. I don't buy it. One can put up with poverty for a while when one is young, but it will inevitably wear a person down.

David Byrne
I couldn't take pictures of green rolling hills.

I couldn't take pictures of green rolling hills.

David Byrne
I never listen to the radio unless I rent a car.

I never listen to the radio unless I rent a car.

David Byrne
I read the NY Times but I don't trust all of it.

I read the NY Times but I don't trust all of it.

David Byrne
I try never to wear my own clothes, I pretend I'm someone else.

I try never to wear my own clothes, I pretend I'm someone else.

David Byrne

I've been asking myself: 'Why put together these things - CDs, albums?' The answer I came up with is, well, sometimes it's artistically viable. It's not just a random collection of songs. Sometimes the songs have a common thread, even if it's not obvious or even conscious on the artists' part.

David Byrne

Probably the reason it's a little hard to break away from the album format completely is, if you're getting a band together in the studio, it makes financial sense to do more than one song at a time. And it makes more sense, if you're going to all the effort of performing and doing whatever else, if there's a kind of bundle.

David Byrne
So there's no guarantee if you like the music you will empathize with the culture and the people who made it. It doesn't necessarily happen. I think it can, but it doesn't necessarily happen. Which is kind of a shame.

So there's no guarantee if you like the music you will empathize with the culture and the people who made it. It doesn't necessarily happen. I think it can, but it doesn't necessarily happen. Which is kind of a shame.

David Byrne

It's a fundamental, social attitude that the 1% supports symphonies and operas and doesn't support Johnny learning to program hip-hop beats. When I put it like that, it sounds like, 'Well, yeah,' but you start to think, 'Why not, though?' What makes one more valuable than another?

David Byrne
I came to New York to be a fine artist - that was my ambition.

I came to New York to be a fine artist - that was my ambition.

David Byrne
Why not invest in the future of music, instead of building fortresses to preserve its past?

Why not invest in the future of music, instead of building fortresses to preserve its past?

David Byrne
There's more good music being made now than ever before.

There's more good music being made now than ever before.

David Byrne
It seems almost backwards to me that my music seems the more emotional outlet, and the art stuff seems more about ideas.

It seems almost backwards to me that my music seems the more emotional outlet, and the art stuff seems more about ideas.

David Byrne
We live in ugly times.

We live in ugly times.

David Byrne
Having unlimited choices can paralyze you creatively.

Having unlimited choices can paralyze you creatively.

David Byrne
People hear about stuff from their friends or a magazine or a newspaper.

People hear about stuff from their friends or a magazine or a newspaper.

David Byrne
I've got nothing to say most of the time.

I've got nothing to say most of the time.

David Byrne

There's something about music that encourages people to want to know more about the person that made it, and where it was recorded, what year it was done, what they were listening to, and all this kind of stuff. There's something that invites all this obsessive behavior.

David Byrne
Obviously, you go through a lot of emotional turmoil in a divorce.

Obviously, you go through a lot of emotional turmoil in a divorce.

David Byrne