David Byrne Reveals Imelda Marcos’ Other Secret Obsession

When he’s not making music, blogging, turning buildings into musical instruments, and judging bike rack design competitions, former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne is at work on a “disco musical” about the life of Imelda Marcos (at right), wife of the late Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos. With Fatboy Slim. In an interview that appears in this month’s issue of Interview, Glenn O’Brien gets the full scoop on the project and can’t resist the obvious question: “Do you have any songs about shoes?”

Well, the shoes…I was wary of them because I thought that’s all she’s known for, and it turns out that they weren’t really discovered until she fled. They all fled the palace, and the mobs rushed in and saw all these shoes and gasped. But, for me, the story is over when they leave the palace. So I never get to the shoes, and I also never get to…There’s other stuff that was discovered. They discovered a house on the palace grounds, and when they opened it up, the entire house—every room—was filled to the top with boxes of Heinz Sandwich Spread. One book described this as her “Rosebud.” I guess Imelda’s family didn’t have much money when she was growing up, so she longed for those kinds of trappings. And when she could get things like that, she just hoarded them.