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Fader Icon covers

FADER Icon Issue, May/June, 2009
By Peter Macia
Cover illustration by Diego Gravinese from photo by Jason Nocito. Archival photo by Steve Pike.

Download the FADER 61 Issue as a PDF (right click, save as)

In the past, we’ve dedicated this issue to fallen idols—Miles Davis, Nina Simone, Jerry Garcia, Aaliyah—and tried to reshape or recapture what makes them important to our generation. All of which has been very respectful and provided reason enough to get trashed on jazz cigarettes and dip tie-dyes in the office while blasting luxuriously reissued box sets. But right now, New York City, and presumably the rest of the country since we don’t really pay attention, is in a sorry state. Our favorite (other) magazines, newspapers, stockbrokers, stockbrokees, good word writers, neat thing designers, crush creators, milkshake makers and baby mothers are scraping the bottom of the proverbial peanut butter jar. The good times are tapped out, so we’ve taken it upon ourselves to zap them back to life via the uptight lank and nerd swagger of the white shocked funk master: David Byrne. As iconic as any other we’ve chosen, Byrne is a symbol of New York City survival—molding Talking Heads in a barren Queens warehouse during the low point late ’70s, operating a one-man global inspiration outfit out of the most covetous Manhattan lofts we’ve ever seen in the high rent late ’00s. Today, Byrne remains the principled, curious, generous and acceptably eccentric cosmopolitan we all aspire to be. He lives downtown, has fabulous friends, can do whatever he wants and say whatever he feels. What he chooses to do and say is make art, make music, design bike racks, build interactive sound sculptures, collaborate like crazy and defend humanity on his online journal. He is us. He is New York. And New York, to us, is everything.

Though Byrne has forsaken our always-under-construction, fare-hiked and service-cut subway system for bicycles and fresh air, we still see him as a central station on the (musical) map: for proof, check out the “life map” rendered by urban cartographers Zero Per Zero with Grizzly Bear, Michael Bell-Smith, Theophilus London, Micachu and The Shapes and the Dutty Artz collective, all posted at the nearest ends of Byrne’s creative lines and laying the tracks for further expansion. These new artists are extending his vision into the—we hope—utopian future (which, judging by their addresses, will be headquartered in Brooklyn). Lest we forget the past, we also asked one of the key figures of the downtown New York arts scene, writer/musician/denizen of radness Vivien Goldman, to write a personal essay about Byrne’s place as the American ambassador of the beat. And naturally, since he was around kicking it with the Rockettes for a couple of monumental Radio City shows this spring, we interviewed the man himself, and he opened up and let us into his brain. Totally not weird in there! You might even say he’s normal, if he wasn’t such an extraordinary example of the benefits and rewards of being a decent human being.

Freeload: The FADER Issue 61 Podcast
5 May 2009 [Link]

Every release of an Icon issue is a special occasion, but this year is a little extra special because we've dedicated it to someone who's still around: man about town and former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne. We switched up the format and spoke to Byrne himself, as well as profiling five artists we think are carrying on his legacy, namely Grizzly Bear, Michael Bell-Smith, Theophilus London, Micachu & The Shapes and the Dutty Artz crew. There are also life maps, old photos, essays and weirdness. And as always, we've got a bunch of great bands in our Gen F section and a million other interesting things throughout, including a globetrotting fashion photo story of cyclists around the world (That one's for you, Byrne!). We've put together a mix of music from the issue, presented by Bacardi B-Live, that includes jams from Byrne, Salem, Joker, Pterodactyl, Grizzly Bear, Erup, Jahdan Blakkamoore, Theophilus London, Nipsey Hussle and more.

Download the FADER 61 mix as an mp3 (right click, save as)
La Yegros, "Trocitos de Madera" Salem, "ohK"
Dirty Projectors and David Byrne, "Knotty Pine"
Theophilus London, "Ooos and Ahhs"
Joker, "Do It"
Jahdan Blakkamoore, "The General"
Pterodactyl, "December"
Erup, "Mek Noise"
Nipsey Hussle f. Slauson Boyz & K Young, "Roll the Windows Up"
Grizzly Bear, "Cheerleader"

David Byrne Takes Us on a Guided Tour of His Insane Office
27 May 2009

In our current issue, along with all of its other David Byrne-related wonder, you can see regular FADER contributor Jason Nocito's intimate photos of Byrne in his massive office at the Todo Mundo headquarters. Because of the natural constraints of paper magazines, we were neither able to fit every photo in the issue nor have Byrne explain what you were looking at. Fortunately, we have the internet, and Byrne was generous enough to record this guided audio tour of all the peculiar objects and ephemera photographed by Nocito that otherwise would've never been seen. We had so much material, and Byrne had so much to say, we've decided to split it into three parts...

Part I: Objects [Link]


Part II: The Shrine [Link]


Part III: Artworks [Link]