Posts Tagged ‘CBGB’s’

Nothing beats meeting your heroes especially when they’re happy to share their secrets. In the late 1960s, then-teenaged Richard Lloyd, Television co-guitarist and new wave pioneer, managed to get backstage and into the dressing rooms and inner circles of people like Jimi Hendrix and John Lee Hooker. He asked questions, took mental notes, and absorbed lifelong lessons about the guitar. He put those lessons to good use, too, and developed an alternative, holistic approach to the instrument. That approach was enhanced by his left-brain orientation, plus his never-ending spiritual quest.

Lloyd also studied the teachings of mid-20th-century mystical teacher George Gurdjieff, and those studies—in addition to the impact they’ve had on his spiritual life—transformed his understanding of music. The result, which you can check out in a series of instructional videos and columns that appeared in Guitar World about a decade ago (now on DVD as The Alchemical Guitarist), is a complex, pattern-focused, vertical approach to the instrument based on an idiosyncratic understanding of the major scale.

Lloyd came to prominence in the mid 1970s withNew York band Television, a group he founded with Tom Verlaine, Billy Ficca, and Richard Hell in 1973. (Fred Smith replaced Hell on bass in 1975.) Television, along with the Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads, and others, were integral to New York City’s burgeoning punk scene. That scene—which, except for a few bands like the Ramones, wasn’t really punk—was based out of CBGB, a club on the Bowery. The black-walled rectangular-box-shaped venue supported a smorgasbord of styles, like new wave, post punk, and art rock, that dominated the Top 40 in the ’80s, albeit in a more plastic, synth-drenched incarnation.

But those sounds in their pure, distilled form were Television’s home. Television was a guitar band—no wailing synths or bad hair for them—and their debut, 1977’s “Marquee Moon”, is an iconic testament to the early, pre-sellout days of new wave. Lloyd and Verlaine shared guitar duties and crafted tight, interwoven parts, and the band was a huge influence on later acts like the Pixies, Sonic Youth, R.E.M, and many others. Lloyd’s tone with Television, while often overdriven and warm, sounds sharp and somewhat stark when appreciated in context—and given his roots and early association with Hendrix, it was a clean break with the past.

Lloyd left Television for the first time in 1978, after the band released its second album, Adventure. They reunited in 1992, and Lloyd stayed in Television until 2007. Along the way, he’s worked with other artists, including Matthew Sweet and X’s John Doe, released solo albums, and established himself as a sought-after teacher and alternative-rock elder statesman. His new solo album, The Countdown, is a collection of fuzzy, mid-tempo rockers that, along with the paperback edition of his 2017 memoir, Everything Is Combustible, was released in November.

“Before, everything was sacred about music. Personally, I think it still is something sacred, because you’re dealing with vibrations, and the universe is made of vibrations.”

John Lee Hooker once gave him advice about guitar playing—specifically about learning how to play one string at a time. Lloyd walked into the dressing room and sat down. Eventually, he took notice of me and he said—he pointed his finger at me, and he said, “And you, young man, what do you do?” I said, “I play guitar.” He said, “Are you good?” I said, “I don’t know.” He said, “No, no, no. You’re great. I can tell. Come over here and I’ll tell you the secret of playing the electric guitar.”

Then he cupped his hands and he whispered in my ear, “Take off all the strings but one and learn the one string up and down and down and up and bend it and shake it until the women go ‘oooo.’ Then put two strings on and learn two strings up and down and down and up.” I went home, but I didn’t take the strings off. I couldn’t afford to take them off—I didn’t have a replacement set. But I did practice what I call vertical knowledge, which is up and down pitch on a single string, a great deal. Jimi Hendrix had also suggested that to us—that we learn the neck that way.


To learn the single string. In fact, some of Jimi’s solos … like on “May This Be Love,” are all on the B string. The entire solo. There’s another one that’s all on the G string: “I Don’t Live Today.” Except for the last note, it’s all on the G string. It’s a very cool way to play. My solo on “Elevation” [from Marquee Moon] does the same thing on the G string. It goes up in A minor from the second fret to the 17th fret.

A lot of the guitarists in the New York City bands that you came up with were so different: Television, Talking Heads, Blondie, the Ramones. The scene was that everybody played original music and no covers. That was the basis of it, and there were an amazing number of bands who did not sound the same: the Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads, Television, Mink DeVille, the Shirts, the Dead Boys … there were tons and they all sounded different, which was fantastic. Pretty much everyone got signed, that’s right. It took three years for Television to get signed. A lot of the bands had been signed, but we kept turning record companies down. We didn’t want to have a producer come in and we didn’t want to have to make a record on a $2 budget. We waited and went with Elektra because they had Love, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and the Doors.

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There was a grungy dive of a place on the Bowery called CBGB that was home to bikers, neighborhood drunks and the seeds of a musical revolution that changed the future of music.

Chris Frantz, the drummer of the seminal new-wave band Talking Heads, had a front-row seat along with his now-wife, bassist Tina Weymouth, along with guitarist/lead singer David Byrne, and the original Ramones: Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy, all four of whom died way too early. Chris Frantz, who still plays and records with Weymouth in their band, Tom Tom Club, shared stories of those crazed early days , when a dozen or fewer fans would show up at Hilly Kristal’s famed club for a gig.

Chris comments “We lived at 195 Chrystie St., 3¹/₂ blocks from CBGB. It was rough, man, No hot water, no shower, the bathroom in the hall we had to share with all these sweaty guys,” said Frantz, who with his band mates was fresh out of the Rhode Island School of Design.

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“That first summer there in, ’75, there was a heat wave and also a garbage strike at the same time. So you could imagine what it was like,” he said. “The kids would open the hydrants and you had streams of water going down the street with burning garbage floating on it. “The kids would set the garbage on fire. I thought I was going to lose my mind. Tina took it better than I did.”

But the band practiced every day in its ninth-floor loft with the great view of the Empire State Building way uptown, and before long debuted at CBGB, opening up for the protopunks from Forest Hills themselves.

Hilly had asked Johnny Ramone if we could open for them, and Johnny said, ‘Sure, they’re gonna suck, so no problem,’ ” Frantz recalled.  the Heads all loved the Ramones and even got to like the dictatorial Johnny Ramone, but it took a while.

“That guy was mean as a snake. He was just a pure, unadulterated mean spirit. I’m sure he had good qualities also, but they were not evident,” he said. “He came around toward the end, but for the longest time, he thought that we sucked. But they were crazy. They’d be on stage playing and then they’d just stop and start fighting.”

Their debut together was hardly a roaring success. “There were very few people in the audience, maybe 10 altogether. Five came to see us and five came to see the Ramones. The Ramones’ fans were all girls, presumably their girlfriends,” Frantz remembered.

When they weren’t performing oddball pop like “(Love Goes to) Building on Fire” and “Psycho Killer” onstage, they would drink at the bar and get to know the other bands and hangers-on. One was Legs McNeill, one of the founders of Punk magazine, which chronicled the scene when only the Village Voice and SoHo News were paying any attention.

“Legs somehow positioned himself as an expert on CBGB’s heyday, but most of the time, he was passed out. One time at about 4 a.m., Hilly said, ‘Can you just get that guy out of there?’ ” Frantz said.

Tina had a car, an old Plymouth Valiant that was a family hand-down. We could fit the whole band in there. We tried to take him home but he was so intoxicated, he couldn’t remember what his address was. We’d drive around and ask him, ‘Does that look like your place, Legs?’ Finally, we found it.”

Some of the musicians, like the poet-turned-singer Patti Smith, Debbie Harry’s Blondie, Television with Tom Verlaine, and Willy DeVille’s Mink DeVille, went on to score record deals, tour and become punk and new-wave legends.
Much of the best music from those early days was released on a double album called “Live at CBGB’s.”

Talking Heads signed up for the album but eventually bailed — although their photo remained on the record jacket. “We didn’t think we were good enough yet — that’s why we pulled out. We thought it would ruin our chances to get a real record deal. Hilly was not happy about it, but at least he understood,” Frantz said.

Meanwhile The Ramones released their eponymous first album in the April of 1976 — and things took off from there, with the iconic “Hey, ho, let’s go!” opening lines of the 2-minute and 12-second anthem “Blitzkrieg Bop,” detonating like a gun at the start of a race.

The Ramones’ appearances in London as the opening act for the Flamin’ Groovies came on July 4th, 1976 — and caused a sensation unlike anything they had seen back in the States.

While most of America was celebrating the bicentennial with fireworks, concerts and picnics, the Ramones were inspiring a generation of British punks including The Clash and the Sex Pistols, whose debut single, “Anarchy in the UK,” was released a couple months later.

The next spring, Talking Heads opened up for the Ramones on the bands’ first full European Tour. They still couldn’t afford a luxury coach with sleeping berths, so they traveled on a beat-up tourist bus with Johnny in full dictator mode. “He wanted to decide where everybody sat. If you changed your seat, he’d say, ‘Whaddya sittin’ there for? You weren’t sittin’ there yesterday,’ ” Frantz said.

 

Frantz, who with Weymouth and family now splits his time between Connecticut and France, remembered the now-shuttered CBGB as the incubator for it all.

“It was just a nascent scene at the time,” he said. “We had the feeling that this was going to be an important place. We had seen Patti Smith, who was bigger than the Ramones at the time. She was wild. She had that intensity that you just don’t run into these days — onstage, but also off the stage. “She was not a relaxed person.”

Also on the scene was this band Television, whose debut “Marquee Moon” is considered one of the best guitar LPs of all time.

“With that combination of bands, you know something’s going on. It just took a while to grow,”

 

 

Ork Records: New York, New York  without the Velvets it’s clear that Ork Records, a label began by Terry Ork and guided into temporary sustainability by Charles Ball, would never have been. Numero Group drops Ork’s entire run onto 4LPs or 2CDs, opening with Television’s majestic debut “Little Johnny Jewel” and offering Richard Hell, Alex Chilton, dB’s, Lester Bangs, Cheetah Chrome, and more. The aborted Feelies 45 is an utter gem, “Fa Cé La” seeming birthed from VU’s “I Heard Her Call My Name.”

In the beginning there were three record labels putting out music from America’s burgeoning punk scenes. There was Bomp Records In Los Angeles, Titan in the midwest, and, in New York City, Ork Records. 

Ork was founded by Terry Ork (born William Terry Collins) in 1975. Described by Patti Smith Band member  Lenny Kaye as a “cherubic individual”, Ork had moved from California to New York as part of Andy Warhol entourage at the Factory , helping out on Warhol’s films, He hung around the Factory until he was escorted out of the building under a cloud of suspicion of selling black market copies of Warhol’s screenprints.2311156orkrecords

In need of a job, Ork went to work at the Cinemabilia bookstore, where he met punk pioneer Richard Hell.  Despite having no experience, soon afterwards Ork started managing Hell’s band, Television . “He didn’t come from the rock’n’roll world, but he was definitely enjoying his entrance into it,” says Kaye.

“Terry definitely had a tremendous amount of charisma,” says Jane Fire, whose band The Erasers is featured on a recently-released Ork records retrospective box set. “He had kind of a worldliness about him. He just was cultured. I mean, he could talk to you about Jean Genet and the Ramones . He was just as versed in both things.”

Before launching his record label, Ork was already a regular at CBGBs, well known on the scene – enough to feature in the 2013 film CBGB , where he was played by The Big Bang Theory’s Johnny Galecki.

“I began hanging out at CBGBs with Patti Smith on Easter of 1974,” says Kaye. “That was the first time that we saw Televsion. I met their manager Terry Ork.”

Kaye noticed that Ork wasn’t a stereotypical band manager, but was more interested in helping the band achieve their purpose more than profits. It’s an ideology he carried over into his record label, Ork records, which was eventually buttressed by his partner, Charles Ball, and two Hasidic men known as “the Hats” who helped finance the record label by, it was rumoured, dealing drugs.

Idols backstage at Max's Kansas City

“Ork records began as a way to present some of the local bands that CBGBs featured,” said Kaye. “Looking at the box set, it surprises me how deep their musical sensibilities went.” CBGBs was the crucible for a lot of mould-breaking bands the Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads – but while Ork released tracks by more well-known acts like Television, Richard Hell, the Feelies and Big Star frontman Alex Chilton, the bulk of their catalogue was made up of scratchy, trebly, energy-infused bands that never quite made it to that level of fame.

The likes of Cheetah Chrome, the Erasers, Marbles, Idols and Chris Stamey and the dBs were the more obscure bands of an already underground scene. “The scene was so much bigger than Blondie and Television and the Ramones,” says Fire. “A lot of these bands, I mean, I guess we fit in that category too, were so important to the scene, but never got their due. If Terry hadn’t been around, they may have been forgotten.”

The Numero Group, known for re-releasing back catalogues and out of print albums, stumbled on the story of Ork records when one of the owners, Rob Sevier , bought a few of the 45s released on the label and decided to collect the lot. His partner Ken Shipley soon caught the fever, too, and they decided to assemble Ork’s first full retrospective. Some of the songs hadn’t even been released, thanks to Ork’s flakiness about paying the studio bills. “This was like the first punk label in the world,” said Shipley. “Their sole mission was to document an emerging scene.”

And what a scene it was. “I don’t think we ever realized how amazing it was,” says Fire. “We had this loft and there were always these big parties where Allen Ginsberg and Iggy Pop would come by and Johnny Rotten would stay at our house. But you don’t really realize what you’re in when you’re in the middle of it.”

Ork records sputtered to a halt in 1980, Ork fleeing to Europe and then Los Angeles. He spent time in prison for fraud, adopted a new pseudonym and edited a film magazine, finally dying of colon cancer in 2004. The Numero Group leapt at the chance to allow his label to reclaim its place in history. However, as excited as they were to unleash Ork’s musical vision on the world (again), Shipley and Sevier had their work cut out.

“Terry Ork is dead, and he didn’t marry, he didn’t have any children, how are we going to do this?” said Shipley. “There’s no paperwork here, there’s no contracts. This isn’t what they did.” Without any other option, Numero set out to contact every artist who had released music on Ork to find out what it would take to re-release the songs.

Feelies at CBGBs

“We felt like Richard Hell, Television and the Feelies were going to be the biggest stumbling blocks, and it was a good thing that we approached them first because the Feelies took the longest to coming around,” said Shipley. Hell told them he would participate, but only if they got every other act on board. ”We kind of gambled, and said OK, we have to get everybody,” said Shipley. “And if we have to get everybody, let’s get everybody. We started finding people who were just tertiarily involved with the scene.”

Because of the type of reissues that they do, Numero Group is used to doing a fair amount of detective work. “We use the same computer systems that they use to find deadbeat dads and credit card debtors,” says Shipley.

They hit the motherlode when they got in touch with the owners of an Ithaca, New York, record store called Angry Mom Records. “He had bought the contents of a storage space that belonged to Terry Ork’s partner Charles Ball, and in there came lots of records, but more importantly, all the paper,” said Shipley.

As the project’s scope became apparent, the partners threw themselves into it, sometimes at a risk to their own business relationship. “We fought about the sequence. We fought about the art, we fought about everything. Just because when you really love something, you want it to be perfect,” said Shipley.

It took Shipley a year to write the book that accompanies the box set. “It’s 190 pages, and it’s close to 70,000 words,” he says. The book and the musical retrospective offer a portrait of a man, Ork, while shining a new light on New York’s punk scene. “The story has never been told,” said Shipley. “All these people are only getting older, some of them are dead. If you don’t tell it right now, there’s never going to be an opportunity to tell it.

“It’s not about the Ramones and it’s not about Blondie and it’s not about Talking Heads. They already have their own legacy sealed up,” said Shipley. “This is like there’s this world that existed after dark and, it was gone like that [snaps]. And the story that’s inside of them – this is the account. It will be here forever. We set it down.”

“I really believe that they helped document a very important scene and made it real,” said Kaye.

CBGBs may be a clothing store now; the Bowery has some of the most expensive real estate in Manhattan; and the Ramones may be on T-shirts sold at Urban Outfitters, but thanks to Numero, Ork records won’t be forgotten, which is good news for those who knew and loved Terry Ork. “He deserves that,” said Fire. “At least that.”

Ork Records Box Set is out now on Numero Group.

Patti Smith’s independent debut “Piss Factory” came out in 1974; the following November, manager Terry Ork put out Television’s first single, “Little Johnny Jewel”, on his own label. They were the first flowerings of the New York renaissance.

By 1976, big labels had carved up the CBGBs underground; Television went to Elektra, Patti Smith to Arista, Talking Heads joined the Ramones on Sire, Blondie went to Private Stock and then Chrysalis. It was a feeding frenzy that drew aspiring oddballs to the Bowery in droves.

For a few months between 1976 and mid-1977, Ork – the scene’s only active independent – had their pick of the new arrivals, snaring Richard Hell & The Voidoids, Alex Chilton, a pre-dBs Chris Stamey and The Feelies among others. This lovingly assembled, 49-track collection pieces together the projects – completed, abandoned and otherwise – that Ork helped to instigate, as the hustler-cum-superfan and sometime business partner Charles Ball seized their moment.

He completed the wiring of Television by introducing Cinemabilia employee Hell and Tom Verlaine to his leechy flatmate, guitarist Richard Lloyd (“There was a great love between us,” Lloyd remembered of Ork. “For him it was romantic, for me it was platonic”). Ork managed Television until their ascent demanded a more astute approach, but he kept busy, releasing the American version of Hell’s “Blank Generation” EP, before finding one member of bowl-cutted power-poppers the Marbles working at Cinemabilia, and making 1976’s gloriously feeble “Red Lights” his third release.

Excited by some audio verité demoes recorded in Memphis by journalist-turned-producer Jon Tiven, Ball and Ork hauled Alex Chilton up to their studio of choice ¬ Trod Nossel in Connecticut – to put down the five tracks that make up 1977’s surly “Singer Not The Song” EP. Chilton’s stag-horned “Free Again” and the excitable “Take Me Home And Make Me Like It” are deliriously grubby, though his excitable whoop of “call me a slut in front of your family” on the latter seemed a little far-fetched; so poor during his couch-surfing year in New York that for a while he did not even own shoes, Alex Chilton was in no state to be introduced to anyone’s parents.

Almost as an afterthought, Ork simultaneously put out “Girl” by Tiven’s band Prix – a delicious analogue to Chris Bell’s Big Star contributions. Tiven was not destined to be Chilton’s new musical foil, though, his time as a sideman ending when the singer tried to stub a cigarette out in his face. Stamey had a much more successful dalliance with the ex-Box Top, Chilton helping piece together the North Carolina moptop’s skinny-tie thunderbolt “The Summer Sun” – the final Ork release of 1977.

With the label momentarily buoyant, a major-label distribution deal was sought, but Ork and Ball’s failure to snare one meant a raft of projects were mothballed. A Rolling Stones tribute LP vanished without trace, and tapes of The H-Bombs – featuring Stamey’s future dBs foil Peter Holsapple – and Lester Bangs were farmed out to other labels. A first release from New Jersey’s splendidly uptight Feelies also went begging, the frenetic version of “Fa Ce La” here canned at the band’s request, though the song resurfaced as their Rough Trade debut two years later.

Ork, meanwhile, enlisted new financial backers – Hassidic Jews with decidedly unorthodox heroin habits. “Little Johnny Jewel” was repressed as a 12”, but the reactivated label evidently found the CBGBs waters of 1979 much over-fished. Ork’s final releases featured uninspiring cock-rock from the Idols – featuring ex-New York Dolls Arthur Kane and Jerry Nolan – and unremarkable one-offs from the Revelons and the Student Teachers. The last Ork release – former Dead Boy Cheetah Chrome’s “Still Wanna Die” – was an Iggy Stardust glam-punk classic, much undermined by an incongruous flower-power sleeve.

“I like Terry,” Verlaine said in 1979, showing uncommon generosity as he summed up Ork. “He has no business sense, but he’s a great guy.” At the bottom of the rear sleeve of Television’s era-defining Marquee Moon is a note reading: “This album is dedicated to William Terry Ork.” Like this collection, a small credit where it was due.

EXTRAS 8/10: A pleasantly bitchy book gives all Ork acts their due, a raft of rare tracks completing the picture. Prix offcuts are essential listening for Big Star fetishists, while unreleased Ork singles by Patti Smith-worshippers the Erasers, and angry loner Kenneth Higney feature, along with both sides of Link Cromwell’s “Crazy Like A Fox” – the 1966 Brit-invasion knock-off voiced by Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye, which was re-circulated by Ork. Another discovery is the first version of Richard Lloyd’s sparkly “I Thought You Wanted To Know”, later re-voiced and released by Chris Stamey on his Car label when it emerged that the object of Ork’s affections was still under contract at Elektra.

Ork Records: New York, New York Track List:

1. Television – “Little Johnny Jewel”
2. Feelies – “Fa Ce La”
3. Richard Hell – “(I Belong to the) Blank Generation”
4. The Revelons – “The Way (You Tough My Hand)”
5. Erasers – “I Won’t Give Up”
6. Alex Chilton – “All of the Time”
7. Chris Stamey and the dBs – “(I Thought) You Wanted to Know”
8. Prix – “Zero”
9. Marbles – “Red Lights”
10. Alex Chilton – “Take Me Home & Make Me Like It”
11. Prix – “Girl”
12. The Idols – “Girl That I Love”
13. Mick Farren and the New Wave – “Lost Johnny”
14. Cheetah Chrome – “Still Wanna Die”
15. The Idols – “You”
16. The Student Teachers – “Christmas Weather”
17. Erasers – “It Was So Funny (The Song That They Sung)”
18. Richard Hell – “(I Could Live With You) (In) Another World”
19. Chris Stamey – “The Summer Sun”
20. Alex Chilton – “Free Again”
21. Richard Lloyd – “(I Thought) You Wanted to Know”
22. The Student Teachers – “Channel 13”
23. Chris Stamey – “Where the Fun Is”
24. Prix – “Everytime I Close My Eyes”
25. Feelies – “Forces at Work”
26. Marbles – “Fire and Smoke”
27. The Revelons – “97 Tears”
28. Cheetah Chrome – “Take Me Home”
29. Richard Hell – “You Gotta Lose”
30. Chris Stamey and the dBs – “If and When”
31. Mick Farren and the New Wave – “Play With Fire”
32. Richard Lloyd – “Get Off My Cloud”
33. Alex Chilton – “The Singer Not the Song”
34. Richard Lloyd – “Connection”
35. Alex Chilton – “Summertime Blues”
36. Mick Farren and the New Wave – “To Know Him Is to Love Him”
37. Link Cromwell – “Crazy Like a Fox”
38. Link Cromwell – “Shock Me”
39. Kenneth Higney – “I Wanna Be the King”
40. Lester Bangs – “Let It Blurt”
41. Alex Chilton – “Bangkok”
42. Peter Holsapple – “Big Black Truck”
43. Prix – “She Might Look My Way”
44. Alex Chilton – “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine”
45. Prix “Love You All Day Long”
46. Alex Chilton – “Shakin’ The World”
47. Prix – “Love You Tonight”
48. Lester Bangs – “Live”
49. Kenneth Higney – “Funky Kinky”

Left us on this day (May 31) in 2004: celebrated cult guitarist Robert Quine (suicide by heroin overdose, age 61, due to despondency over the loss of his wife);Robert Wolfe Quine (December 30, 1942 – May 31, 2004) was an American guitarist, known for his innovative guitar solos. he first came to prominence in the late-’70s with New York CBGB’s-scene band, Richard Hell & The Voidoids, but he was not your typical ‘punk rock’ guitarist – he embraced fractured guitar runs & discordant noise but also a wide range of jazz, rock & blues influences; his thoughtful technique & uncompromising approach led to stellar collaborations with many visionary musicians, including Lou Reed (notably on ‘The Blue Mask’), Brian Eno, John Zorn, Marianne Faithfull, Lloyd Cole, Tom Waits, Matthew Sweet (Matthew’s biggest hit, “Girlfriend,” is anchored by Robert’s frenetic, squealing guitar work), They Might Be Giants & many more; as a solo artist, he recorded the collaborative albums ‘Escape’ (1981, with Jody Harris) & ‘Basic’ (1984, with Fred Maher)…Lester Bangs wrote Someday Robert Quine will be recognized for the pivotal figure that he is on his instrument. He was among a series of innovative guitarists that worked intently with Lou Reed including: Mick Ronson, Steve Hunter, and Chuck Hammer. As a guitarist, Quine was influenced by the angular breakthroughs of early Lou Reed and James Williamson and worked through them to a new, individual vocabulary, driven into odd places by obsessive attention to On the Corner-era Miles Davis.

A short clip from the movie Blank Generation  Produced by Andy Warhol (1980), featuring Richard Hell and the Voidoids playing the song Blank Generation at the legendary punk club CBGB. Directed by Ulli Lommel,

Blank Generation” is the title track of Richard Hell and the Voidoids 1977 debut album Blank Generation. A rewrite of Rod McKuen‘s 1959 record “The Beat Generation,” Richard Hell wrote the new lyrics during his time with the band Television, and performed it live with another band, The Heartbreakers. The Sex Pistols‘ song “Pretty Vacant” was directly inspired by “Blank Generation”.

“Blank Generation” was previously released on the Another World EP in 1976. Other versions of the punk classic were available as demos and on one 1975 limited-edition pressing as well. An earlier live recording by The Heartbreakers, recorded at CBGB on July 7, 1975 appeared on the What Goes Around... album.Demo recordings of the song also have survived. A live March 1974 recording at CBGB with Television can be found on Spurts: The Richard Hell Story. 

Because Hell first performed the song when he was in Television, then he formed The Heartbreakers with Johnny Thunders & Jerry Nolan & this is the demo/version he did with them. Later they went their separate ways: Hell formed his own band, Richard Hell & The Voidoids, & would re-record the song – the version everybody knows and love, while Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers would go on to do Born To Lose, Chinese Rocks, etc.. The original song credits read: Dee Dee Ramone/Hell/Thunders/Nolan

 

television-performing

On this day in 31st March 1974,  The seminal rock/punk/alternative band Television began their Sunday night residency at CBGB, a former Bowery dive bar where band members built a stage for their debut performance.

Although Hilly had run Times listings using the name CBGB as early as the summer of ’1973, journalists have traditionally followed his lead in dating the name-change to December of that year. In March he hung a new awning out front and planned a Grand Reopening. Tradition holds that while he was hanging that awning, members of Television stopped by and asked him about the place. In March 1974, Television had played its first show, at a mid-town theater, and was looking for venues downtown. The band consisted of Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd on guitars, Richard Hell on bass, and Billy Ficca on drums. Some combination of these guys – the details change depending on whom you ask – convinced Hilly that they were capable of playing country, bluegrass, or blues, or at least that they could bring friends to buy beer.

CBGB’s re-opening night, Wednesday the 20th, featured ridiculously cheap drink specials, followed by three nights of the Con-Fullam Band, a bluegrass act from Maine, but the next week he advertised three nights of Elly Greenberg’s country blues over a smaller, innocuous listing for Sunday: “ROCK Concert TELEVISION March 31.” Another ad for the first show, paid for by Television’s manager, foregrounds a photo of the band and also lists the “fancy guitar pickin’s” of Erik Frandsen.

Richard Hell, who came up with the band’s earliest image, wanted them to look like street kids, like Bowery Boys. They wore oversized thrift suits with torn shirts, sometimes held together with safety pins. They cut their hair short, rejecting glitter and hippies alike. They wanted to blend in with the bums on the street. A few years later, Malcolm McLaren, who had briefly hoped to take the band to London, gave up and created his own band there instead. The Sex Pistols’ look was directly lifted from Hell’s template for Television.

Television’s first Sunday shows at CBGB may or may not have attracted enough patrons to allow Hilly to make money from the bar, but they did lead to a confluence of interests and talents that would shape the local scene. Friends from the downtown film and lit circles, Warhol scenesters from Max’s Kansas City near Union Square, drag queens from the Bouwerie Lane made up the early crowd. The group’s biggest payoff came on the third Sunday of their residency, when Hell succeeded in getting his friends Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye to drop by and see his new band. Smith and Kaye were currently trying to get a band of their own off the ground, and Patti already enjoyed some celebrity as a rock poetess and critic. She wrote some of the band’s most influential early press, helping to cement its mythology.

Television are an American rock band, formed in New York City in 1973 and considered influential in the development of punk music.

Television was part of the 1970s New York rock scene along with musical acts like the Patti Smith Group, the Ramones, Blondie, Richard Hell and Talking Heads. Although they recorded in a raw manner similar to their contemporaries, minimizing the use of studio techniques, sound effects and atypical instruments, Television’s music was technically proficient, defined by guitarists Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd. The group’s debut album, Marquee Moon, is often considered one of the defining releases of the punk era.

Live at CBGB, New York, NY, 1975.
Introduction by Seymour Stein, Sire Records.
From the film “Talking Heads: Chronology”
I saw Talking Heads maybe this same year they played a venue in Birmingham called “Barberellas” a night club at the top end off Broad Street a great venue which went on to have some great gigs,

paulzonebook

Excellent Coffee table sized book chronicling and brimming with unseen photographs, Paul was in a band with his two brothers THE FAST this is a period in time when everything was happening at once. The only band at the time with a record deal was the NEW YORK DOLLS. and in 1974 Patti Smith, Television, Wayne County, Suicide and Blondie.
The Ramones were at CBGB’s and KISS were playing to just five people This was a small group of bands and friend almost all of were about to become icons of pop culture.

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Paul documents the scene,spanning the years 1971-1978 punk rock was occuring in the midst of glitter rock, early photos of the FAST shows them amazingly in full glitter regalia with KISS style make up ( Paul had a Star painted over his eye ) there are a few photos of ALICE COOPER watching cartoons in his hotel room and Marc Bolan and the Stooges the book includes a forward by Debbie Harry and Chris Stein.

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television

TELEVISION played their first gig together as a band 40 years ago today, their first gig at the famous CBGB’s started a residency starting each sunday for a month adding nights Friday/saturday they picked various support bands local to the scene, TALKING HEADS, BLONDIE, MINK DE-VILLE, the dEAD BOYS, SUICIDE and the RAMONES