Posts Tagged ‘Television’

Legendary rock guitarist Richard Lloyd, founding member of the band Television, shares the story of his life in music with Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz. Lloyd’s new memoir is “Everything is Combustible.” Starting in Pittsburgh and moving through New York City and beyond, with a cast full of music legends, Lloyd uses his distinct voice to chronicle Television’s humble beginnings, their rise to fame, his drug addiction and recovery, and his touring adventures with artists such as Matthew Sweet, John Doe, and Robert Quine. Lloyd also details his solo years, including the backstory of his iconic and critically-acclaimed records such as “Alchemy” and “Field of Fire.” Lloyd recalls the heyday of the New York rock music scene, filling the void in the written records of music history, and giving the first complete account of Television from one of the founding members. Richard Lloyd was born in in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1951. He is a world renowned electric guitarist, songwriter, recording artist and a founding member of Television. As an author, Lloyd was a regular columnist with Guitar World Magazine: the “Alchemical Guitarist.” As an autodidact, he has developed extensive expertise in many scientific and religious areas, and believes in the alchemical rule: “One book opens another.” Chris Frantz is a founding member of Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club. He is a drummer, songwriter, radio show host and is soon to be an author. He recently started a new electronic music duo with Tina Weymouth called Chris Und Tina. He resides in Fairfield, Connecticut. Recorded January 25th, 2018.

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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.

MARQUEE MOON - LIVE! Yes! I’m sure someone, somewhere has done this before. But I haven’t! So here you go, Marquee Moon performed live onstage by Tom Verlaine, Richard Lloyd, Billy Ficca and Fred Smith, 1976-77. Most of the album’s eight songs became...

The last thing you’d expect to rise from the world of ’70s punk would be a band centered on snaking, psychedelic guitar solos. But that’s just what the very first of the CBGB bands, Television, put forth. Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd jammed at lengths you’d sooner expect from the Grateful Dead than the Dead Boys. In the process, they offered a terse rebuke to anyone who conflates every early “punk” band. Their 1977 debut Marquee Moon  remains one of the smartest, and catchiest, salutes to the six-string guitar ever released. All of its songs anchor on interlocking riffs as catchy and tight. Songs like “See No Evil” or “Prove It”  coil their double guitar riffs intricately.  The greatest solo showcase appeared in the album’s luminescent title track. At over 10 minutes, “Marquee Moon” centered on two serrated riffs which flickered over a funky rhythm section. Lloyd took the first run, which rises after the second chorus; Verlaine peeled out after the third verse in a stretch that eats up half of the song. Lloyd’s showcase may be brief, but it’s bracing, while Verlaine’s more generous stretch touches the hem of the heavens. For those who want even more interplay, there’s  a near fifteen minute version of the song on the live album “Blow Up” recorded in 1978. The sound quality here may be harsh but the versions of songs off the ‘Marquee Moon’ album and its ravishing follow-up, “Adventure” , allows each guitarist to showcase his style in its most explorative guise.

Marquee Moon performed live onstage by Tom Verlaine, Richard Lloyd, Billy Ficca and Fred Smith, 1976-77. Most of the album’s eight songs became standard inclusions in Television’s sets, with the exception of “Torn Curtain” (which they rarely played after the album was released) and “Guiding Light” (which was only played a handful of times). I think this live companion runs a bit shorter than the album track  Don’t worry, though, dudes, it’s still totally epic.

Marquee Moon – LIVE!

1. See No Evil (1977-04-05 Whiskey A Go Go, LA)
2. Venus de Milo (1977-08-31, 1st Set, Hartsdale, NY)
3. Friction (1977-03-13 Masonic Auditorium, Detroit)
4. Marquee Moon (1976-12-29 CBGB, NYC)
5. Elevation (1976-12-29 CBGB, NYC)
6. Guiding Light (1976-03-11 CBGB, NYC)
7. Prove It (1977-03-13 Masonic Auditorium, Detroit)
8. Torn Curtain (1976-07-31 CBGB, NYC)

Television were generally regarded as the precise and arty guys of the original New York punk scene but while the clean lines and gleaming surfaces of the albums “Marquee Moon” and “Adventure” the band’s live show told a different story. While they lacked the bash-it-out ferocity of The Ramones or the Dead Boys , on-stage Television played a lot harder and looser than they did in the studio; the guitar interplay between Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd gained so much grit and muscle (and Lloyd was given significantly more space to show what he could do), and drummer Billy Ficca and Bass man Fred Smith weren’t afraid to turn up the heat and add greater color and body to the songs. While the splendid “authorized bootleg”The Blow Up” is likely to remain the definitive document of Television’s awe-inspiring live prowess, “Live At The Old Waldorf” is a professional recording of a 1978 San Francisco date on the band’s last tour before their 1992 reunion . This runs a very close second, and the superior sound quality allows one to better appreciate the subtle textures lurking beneath Verlaine and Lloyd’s Stratocaster firepower. The band seems determined to show just what it can do, and these versions of “The Dream’s Dream,” “Little Johnny Jewel,” and “Marquee Moon” are pure joy for guitar aficionados. Rhino Handmade are to be congratulated for finally giving this oft-bootlegged recording the authorized release it deserves, and providing still more evidence of Television’s enduring brilliance and innovation 30 years after this set was played, “Live at The Old Waldorf” still sounds fresher and more exciting than most anything you’re likely to see at a rock club on a given evening.

Lovely live album, really fine audio quality, and scorching renditions of classic songs (plus a nice Stones cover!). My advice: If you’re a Television fan, you should track down a digital copy to listen to. You can buy the mp3 album, it’s readily available for a very reasonable price at various online retailers. If you want it on vinyl, be warned: you’re now forced to deal with scalpers, essentially. The vinyl was produced in limited quantities and sold on Record Store Day (April 16th, 2011). The show was from a radio show broadcast that was a popular bootleg until its official release by Rhino Handmade in 2003. indiviually numbered limited edition of 5000 copies.
Release of a live 1978 show in San Francisco, California.  Tom Verlaine’s lyrics are printed on the custom gatefold cardboard sleeve.  Liner notes are printed on a twelve page booklet.

The Band Television were,

  • Bass, Vocals – Fred Smith
  • Drums – Billy Ficca 
  • Guitar, Vocals – Richard Lloyd
  • Lead Vocals, Guitar –  Tom Verlaine

Live At The Old Waldorf San Francisco
The Dream’s Dream
Venus
Foxhole
Careful
Ain’t That Nothin’
Little Johnny Jewel
Friction
Marquee Moon
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

Covering two decades of live performances, this two-disc comp, put together a few years back by a superfan, captures Tom Verlaine at his best (away from Television, that is). I don’t think I’d call any of his solo records complete masterpieces (though a handful come close), but the guy always brought his A-game to the stage. If you’re only familiar with his Television work, “Pull Down The Future” is an excellent place to start further explorations – it’s basically guitar heaven. Tom’s unmistakeable tone shines and shimmers, even on some of the more lo-fi recordings here. The band backing him on the 1980s tracks ain’t half bad either – Fred Smith from Television, Jay Dee Dougherty from the Patti Smith Group and Jimmy Rip (guitarist on too many things to name).
For variety’s sake, there are a few departures from the electric-guitar-centric vibe – a solo acoustic rendition of “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain” and the weird, 13-minute synth drone of “Days On The Mountain.” There’s also a really remarkable version of “Swim” that showcases just how great a vocalist Verlaine can be – not something he’s called out for all that much. I think I once read someone referring to him as “the Christopher Walken of rock” and that makes sense in a weird way. But mainly you’ll be vibing to such six-string workouts as “Miss Emily,” “Breaking In My Heart,” “Persia” and plenty others. Almost all of the songs come from Tom’s solo records, with one big exception – the 22-minute “Marquee Moon” blowout that appropriately closes the whole thing out.

Tom Verlaine: Pull Down The Future [Live 1981-2001]

 

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”

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.

One of the songs you had to wait a whole lifetime to hear it again performed live… and it’s even better than expected. Tom Verlaine and Television arrived for the second time in 40 years in Italy. They performed their masterpiece album “Marquee Moon” plus extras and outtakes. Here they are with their most emblematic song. Exellent!!! Television are: Tom Verlaine, vocals and Guitar, Jimmy Rip, guitar, voice, Billy Ficca, drum, Fred Smith, bass, voice

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