We’d like to thank everyone for their work with This Must be the Band. Everyone who supported the band was a master of their craft, whether it was dancing, yelling out requests, bringing their friends, hyping things on FB, participating in contests, taking photos, posting video, or just allowing themselves to be strange out in the open.

I learned very early on with this band that the way to put on the very best show was also the easiest: let the crowd yell out what they want to hear and they make a perfect set list every time. And the more I included “fans” in not only that process but the behind-the-scenes details, the deeper the connection everyone felt to this project, like they owned the band. And how could it be otherwise? No one person had the right to ownership except maybe David Byrne himself, and I don’t think he was interested, so it was ours.

I believe that art is not an act of separation but of connection. I’m done being in a rock band that is separate from its listeners, put on a pedestal and praised for its accomplishments. Instead I want to participate in the art that took the entire community to shape, the entire fb group to comment and joke about, and anyone who wants to contribute does so and then says “that was fun.” No art we make needs to be different than everything else out there; it just has to say what we all believe together in our slightly varied shades. I bet that would be beautiful, like looking at a huge rainforest from space.

I got a taste of that in This Must be the Band, but ultimately the format and material was just too limited. We had created all the set lists, we had explored all the space in the songs, and money slipped in as a reason to do something. I think any project will start to stagnate in those conditions, which it did for us.

But I want to take the seed that germinated in this band and grow it to its full potential. I want to usher in a new paradigm in which the distinction between performer and fan breaks down completely, and everyone creates, witnesses, and archives at varying levels of involvement. I no longer want to show people MY art, add up the FB likes and claim superiority, I only want to collaborate and make art together. I’m starting a production co-op that will work to achieve that goal, by making our live shows more interactive, our digital content more collaborative, and all of our work much more open-source. It is called StrangeCrop, a small group of producers that hope to grow and combine the talents of anyone who is interested in contributing.

Some people feel threatened by an idea like this, because they don’t want to be a performer, forced to do something in front of people they don’t know; I empathize but think that they’re saying that playing an instrument or painting is a higher form of creativity than all the other essential actions that contribute to a piece of art, and I disagree. Everyone everyone everyone is brilliant at something that could enrich a work, whether at a live show or on the internet.

So my first move as head of StrangeCrop is to hold a casting call for anyone that’s interested in being involved, in absolutely any form, in making art with us. Wanna bake some cookies for an event? Make a home video lip syncing a song? Instagram a hilarious pic? Design a t-shirt or a logo? Ever wanted to be part of a flash mob? Want to learn an instrument or find people to jam with? This must be the place (our band had a rule, only one Heads pun per year per person, this is mine). Email strangecrop@gmail.com and introduce yourself.

My second move is to ask for money. Some people find that the best way for them to support is to give some cash, and that’s cool with me. We put it all to good use buying responsibly sourced materials and paying anyone who has to devote their life to this but finds they still need to eat. We’ve set up a Patreon page for this purpose: Patreon is like Kickstarter, except instead of asking for start-up cash to produce one big thing off in the future, Patreon is more like joining a farm co-op where a steady stream of community-supported art is delivered to your door. Whether its new original music, a weekly podcast, a dance show, a short or full length film, or a multi-media event, you will get to taste all the juicy originality StrangeCrop can curate from all its very creative members (you). Find our Patreon page here

Here’s the first piece of art we made as StrangeCrop (hint: it’s a video, click the link. The best part is at the end, so either watch the whole 2 minutes or just skip straight to the last 10 seconds and you’ll be happy. It skimps on some of the ideas I laid out in this rather long stump speech, in the interest of time.

If you’d rather just get a sincere thank you for supporting the band that played Talking Heads music, that’s cool with me, here you go:

After 7 years, TMBTB is calling it quits. I’m sure that Talking Heads has altered the course of many lives, but few more than all the members of this band. We have had the privilege of playing music we believe in for thousands of excited, strange, lovely, dancing people. We have traveled around the country, seen and done so many fun things, made so many friends.

I not only learned how to sing through Heads songs, I somehow found my own voice. Through dissecting albums like Remain in Light and Speaking in Tongues, I learned how to produce my own music. Maybe most importantly, by leading 25 unique people, I learned how to find peace in my own personal relationships.

I’m making this decision to shut it down because, much like I imagine David Byrne feels, at one point the music starts making too much sense, the words have been re-created and re-understood too many times, and basically all the juice is gone for me. I believe this is a natural thing, so I’m not too worried about it.

Due to the advice of everyone I know, I am hesitant to call these the “Final Shows,” since so many bands break up and then do the reunion tour, which then seems more for publicity than fans. However, I know how I work, and I know this is the right decision for me and if I have to eat my words later, no problem.

I think I speak for all the past and present members of This Must be the Band when I say that we love the people that come to shows, we love the music and what it stands for, and we are all very thankful for the ride. That’s why, for these shows, I’ve invited every person we’ve ever played with to come on stage and sing, or dance, or play their instrument for a song or two. There’s like 40 people on this list, woah!

-Charlie Otto

Please join us at Martyrs’ in Chicago on Friday, October 17th and Saturday, October 18th to celebrate the final shows!
TICKETS are available HERE.