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There I stand 'neath the Marquee Moon just waiting, hesitating... I ain't waiting
December 17, 2007 1:27 PM   Subscribe

Punk Guitar Heroes - Television's Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd Television, and its guitar pas de deux between Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd, fit into the punk scene only because they are the ones basically responsible for CBGB becoming a punk rock club. Verlaine convinced Hilly Kristal to let them practice there and play shows, and the rest is history.

Both Verlaine and Lloyd are such virtuoso guitarists that its a crime to fit them in with other punk bands that came out of the same scene. Along side Richard Hell (Television's original bass player) and the Voidoids, a band that also boasted some expert musicianship and poetry, Television occupied a special place, bridging the gap between art, poetry, music and the underground scene that was punk'd out.

Marquee Moon
Friction
Foxhole
In World
Call Mr. Lee
1880 or So
Prove It
Venus de Milo
posted by psmealey (32 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Last year, I saw Richard Loyd through an old man fit while at a show. He was performing the Lord's prayer in Aramic (but ignoring about half of it) and was heckled. He then threw a fit.

That was the lulz.
posted by Stynxno at 1:32 PM on December 17, 2007


Listen to Television's "Elevation." Then listen to the Red Hot Chili Pepper's "Californication."
posted by plexi at 1:34 PM on December 17, 2007


Seeing Television play live in Seattle in 2002 was one of the most disappointing concert experiences I've ever had. Seriously - they sounded like the fucking Grateful Dead, complete with shitty cover songs played to showcase 20 minute guitar solos.
posted by item at 1:46 PM on December 17, 2007


In other words, the whole show sounded like the "Prove It" link above.
posted by item at 1:46 PM on December 17, 2007


I saw them at Irving Plaza (which is kind of crappy venue) in 2002, and they were fantastic. To me, they couldn't be further away from the Dead in every way, but I have to ask, as for the 20 minute guitar solos, did you not know that many of their early tunes are longish 8 minutes plus) with tons of space for improvisation in them?
posted by psmealey at 1:51 PM on December 17, 2007


Let me flesh out the Voidoids reference above with a link to guitarist Robert Quine's (R.I.P.) official website. Click on "Recordings" for information about Quine's amazing session work with Lou Reed, Tim Waits, Matthew Sweet (with Richard Lloyd) and more.
posted by joseph_elmhurst at 2:05 PM on December 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Jesus.

TOM Waits.

sorry
posted by joseph_elmhurst at 2:05 PM on December 17, 2007


Hey, I saw them at Irving Plaza, too--but in 2004, I think--and they were fantastic then, too. I was kind of expecting a disappointing oldies-circuit type of thing (lord knows why), but man, was I wrong; they kicked all kinds of ass.

(I do see the Dead resemblance, actually...)
posted by equalpants at 2:07 PM on December 17, 2007


You ever have one of those moments where you're going through a mefi fpp and you go "man, this is awesome! I should totally share this with mefi!" because you just completely forgot where you were when you found the link(s)? yeah, just had that.
posted by shmegegge at 2:09 PM on December 17, 2007


What a great band Television was—thanks for the post!

But was the "Television" link supposed to point to this thread?
posted by languagehat at 2:13 PM on December 17, 2007


No... there was another Flickr picture with all the band members in it. I borked the link somehow. It's embedded in the article linked to by the FPP.

Kudos to joseph_elmhurst for the Quine callout. He is missed.
posted by psmealey at 2:17 PM on December 17, 2007


Nice post. Television is always the CDBG band that should have made it big but for some reason, never did.
posted by octothorpe at 2:27 PM on December 17, 2007


What a great band Television was—thanks for the post!

Does anyone know if they are still officially together? I know Richard Lloyd's in poor health, but don't know what that means for the group, and if they'll be playing again...

I saw 'em last summer in Central Park. One of those amazing-and-I-will-never-ever-forget-type shows.

thanks for the post!
posted by ethel at 2:35 PM on December 17, 2007


I love me some Television. Every time I hear Marquee Moon, it still blows me away.

Strangely, it's probably one of the most gothic songs ever written.
posted by Afroblanco at 2:43 PM on December 17, 2007



Does anyone know if they are still officially together? I know Richard Lloyd's in poor health, but don't know what that means for the group, and if they'll be playing again...


Well, he officially (and somewhat hubristically*) left the band in anticipation of (or a means of drumming up a little press attention for) his recently released solo album. He was supposed to play his final show with them at Central Park Summerstage last year, but he got sick, and Verlaine's solo sideman Jimmy Ripp filled his slot. So it's conceivable that Television could continue at this point with Ripp. Lloyd's album was sadly a turd from what I heard of it, so it's also conceivable he could come slinking back. Or they may be done for.

* - especially since his gig in Television required him to play all of maybe 6 shows a year.

Television were amazing both times I managed to catch them (2002 & 2003), but for my money, the best playing I heard from Lloyd was his stint with Rocket from the Tombs...
posted by anazgnos at 2:46 PM on December 17, 2007


Mighty fine post, psmealey, mighty fine!

Here's my personal fave from Verlaine: Warm and Cool.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:14 PM on December 17, 2007


They're both great guitar players on their own, but for me what made Television so damn interesting and rave worthy was how great they interacted together. They knew how to take a riff and build on it with intertwining riffs without losing focus of the song. Outside of the Dream Syndicate and Television there were few bands that featured extended bouts of jamming that didn't bore me. Any excuse to talk about Television and see a few old clips is OK with me. Thanks.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 3:15 PM on December 17, 2007


Since there are plenty of people pointing out that Marquee Moon is a beautiful and brilliant album, let me just take this opportunity to say:

Adventure, Television's second (and last) album, is one of the least-recognized gems in postpunk. I sincerely believe that there never would've been an REM, or at least not an REM that sounded like they did, without "Days," which is my favorite Television song, and features pretty incredible and subtle guitar work.

Also, great post, psmealey. Thank you. Although I don't know how in hell you could miss Little Johnny Jewel, which is my second-favorite Television song. "He ain't got no decision... he's just tryin' to Tell a Vision!"
posted by koeselitz at 3:38 PM on December 17, 2007


I saw a high school play with Richard Lloyd/Hell's daughter in it. She was nice.
posted by Brainy at 3:39 PM on December 17, 2007


Nice post, but then I am a huge Verlaine fan, and of everyone else you mentioned.
posted by caddis at 5:45 PM on December 17, 2007


Order now and get it before Christmas! Please Kill Me--an oral history of punk.

Great read.
posted by John of Michigan at 6:05 PM on December 17, 2007


Adventure, Television's second (and last) album, is one of the least-recognized gems in postpunk.

I actually have an honest-to-god phobia about Adventure. Marquee Moon is such an incredible album ("Prove It" alone may very well have kept me from having nervous breakdowns on multiple occasions in 1994), and I've heard so many tepid reviews of Adventure that I have never had the courage to give it a try. I'm feeling slightly anxious just thinking about it now.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:12 PM on December 17, 2007


Psmealey,
what a weird coincidence!!

That most recent comment by "propscene" on the Mr. Lee video you linked to is the one and only comment I've ever made on a youtube video as far (as I can remember).

Yup, that's my friend Vera in the cameos.
posted by stagewhisper at 6:45 PM on December 17, 2007


Verlaine's album, "The Wonder" is an obscure little gem. I once spent a couple months driving to work listening to only that and Stan Ridgway's "Mosquitos".
posted by davebush at 6:52 PM on December 17, 2007


I met Richard Lloyd backstage at a club show a few years ago -- very cool, very polite guy. He didn't particularly feel like talking about the Television years that night, so we wound up having an extended conversation about his solo career. Even better, when his manager called him out to go get paid, I figured he'd had enough of me and told a friend nearby we should probably get going. He stopped me and said to hang out, he'd be back in a few minutes. Half an hour later, he's introducing me to Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth. Maybe it's pathetic, but I was one happy fanboy that night.
posted by Kinbote at 7:05 PM on December 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Verlaine scored one of my favorite movies:

love and a .45
posted by humboldt32 at 9:14 PM on December 17, 2007


BAH

Verlaine scored one of my favorite movies:

love and a .45
posted by humboldt32 at 9:15 PM on December 17, 2007


That bit in Please Kill Me where Lloyd and his girlfriend go to the Caribbean is pretty pathetic and funny at the same time. Apparently, they brought about two weeks' worth of dope that they shot in the first two days. They spent the rest of the two weeks they were there trolling (unsuccessfully) for methadone. Nice Trainspotting-style vacation.
posted by psmealey at 5:09 AM on December 18, 2007


Someone REALLY needs to turn that book into a movie, btw. It just has too many hilarious and heartbreaking (no pun intended, Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan) moments.
posted by psmealey at 5:13 AM on December 18, 2007


Man, someone on MetaChat introduced me to Marquee Moon and wheee.... it's just what I needed this morning. One of those songs that makes me want to learn to play guitar just so I can noodle about doing the little "deedle-eedle-eedle-eedle-eedle-eeeet" bit for hours on snowy days.
posted by Eideteker at 7:49 AM on December 18, 2007


I'd also like to put out some big props on this post. I've had Marquee Moon in my head ever since the greatest barteneder ever put it in the jukebox.

Thanks for the memories, I'm sure you didn't mean to make me cry.
posted by butterstick at 8:57 AM on December 18, 2007


Heh, I'm late to the party, but thanks for the post!
posted by snsranch at 7:07 PM on December 18, 2007


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