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A Talking Heads link to Washington Post publisher

By Gary Jacobson

February 10, 2008 at 11:11am

New Washington Post publisher Katharine Weymouth’s newspaper pedigree is matchless. Her grandmother is the late, legendary Katharine “Kay” Graham, who stared down the Nixon administration during Watergate.

But perhaps the best advice for Weymouth in her new job comes through Aunt Tina on the other side of the family. Tina Weymouth, the sister of Katherine Weymouth’s father, was bass guitarist for the rock group Talking Heads. The band and its members were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

“This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no fooling around,” lead singer David Byrne sings on the group’s hit, Life During Wartime.

That’s a perfect motto for someone in the embattled newspaper industry today. Of course, “Burning down the house” also works.

Katharine Weymouth’s mother is Elizabeth “Lally” Graham Weymouth, the Newsweek senior editor/socialite daughter of Kay. Katherine’s father is architect Yann Weymouth.

Kay Graham had her own high-powered friends, including former president George H.W. Bush, only a few degrees of separation apart from David Byrne on the Muckety Map above.

The new Post publisher is a graduate of Harvard, Stanford Law School, and worked as an attorney at Williams and Connolly, one of the most influential Washington, D.C., law firms, earlier in her career.

The Talking Heads issued their first album in 1977 and broke up in 1991. Tina and her husband, Chris Frantz, another band member, also formed a group called the Tom Tom Club. The fourth member of Talking Heads was Jerry Harrison.

In his book about the Talking Heads, This Must Be the Place, novelist David Bowman wrote of Tina Weymouth: “The doe-eyed Tina played her huge bass with the fearful look of a blond Joan of Arc about to be burned at the stake.”

Now, that may not be good advice for the new publisher.

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