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Talking is over, but Byrne's still singing

Nine years ago, David Byrne left the cozy confines of the Talking Heads, one of the most heralded bands to emerge from the generally faceless New Wave era of the 1980s, to pursue his adventurous world pop sound.

With a half-dozen solo albums, plus film soundtracks and other collaborations to his credits, there have been no regrets, says Byrne, except for the perplexing question of why he has been unable to duplicate his past successes.

"Just complain and move on," he told the Boston Globe recently. "It's made it difficult for me, not financially but personally, getting my music over to the public in the last five or six years. I don't fit in, but I just accept it. I can't be judging the quality of it just based on that."

Byrne now heads up Luaka Bop, his world beat label that has released more than a dozen titles by artists such as Djur Djur, Geggy Tah and King Chango. He has too many irons in the fire to worry about the success or failure of his own music. Still, it perplexes him when an album such as his latest effort, Feelings, which received generally favorable reviews and dozens of comparisons to his later period of Talking Heads creativity, doesn't attract the attention that the Talking Heads music once did.

Although he has been unable to escape the identity of his former band, he said it's easier to deal with now that a decade has passed. "People want bands to last forever because it's part of their growing up, part of their adolescence," Byrne said. "It's not like a movie that you saw when you were 19 that you want to go back and watch again."

But Byrne still pays homage to his Talking Heads days in concert appearances, performing such tunes as Take Me to the River, Road to Nowhere and Psycho Killer seamlessly beside his brand-new material.

"It's not anything calculated, it's more intuitive," Byrne said. "I take things that are already in there and let them collide together rather than keep them in separate boxes."

Byrne performs at 8 p.m. Saturday at Jannus Landing in St. Petersburg. Tickets are $20.

SIXTIES REDUX _ You can't blame Arlo Guthrie for waxing a bit nostalgic this time of year. With Thanksgiving just ahead, he's apt to be thinking of a time many years ago when, as he so eloquently put it, "my friend and I went up to visit Alice at the restaurant, but Alice doesn't live in the restaurant, she lives in the church behind the restaurant with her husband, Ray, and Faucha the dog."

Alice's Restaurant, Guthrie's classic turkey-day talking blues about the singer's encounters with the law in Stockbridge, Mass., and exploits with the draft board, is a classic tale of the counterculture '60s. It helped make him one of the Woodstock generation's most fabled spokesmen.

About the only time he performs the 20-plus-minute epic anymore is around Thanksgiving. He did give it an impromptu shot last year at a Sarasota show but gave up when he was unable to recall the words. So if you're a fan of the song, you might get lucky Saturday night when he plays a concert at Players of Sarasota. Tickets are $20.

Also worth your time this week:

Zappaween, a Halloween celebration Frank Zappa-style, features Bogus Pomp performing original music by the artist tonight at 9 at the State Theater. Selections include Cosmic Debris, Let's Move to Cleveland and I Am the Slime on Your Video, using his arrangements as well as some of their own. Always plenty of fun. Tickets are $10.

At Skipper's Smokehouse tonight, it's the 18th annual Freaker's Ball. Theming on Dancing With the Dead, the Estimated band is the musical host of this creative costume extravaganza, which awards prizes for the best get-ups. Show starts at 8 p.m. Admission is $5.

Frankie's Patio in Ybor City hosts big band Roomful of Blues, plus blues guitarist Tinsley Ellis, at 8:30 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $10 in advance, $13 day of show.

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