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Monday, March 05, 2007

Television - the Hell demos and early live

Television001Formed originally by Tom Verlaine and school chum Richard Hell in 1971 as The Neon Boys and later joined by Richard Lloyd on guitar and Billy Ficca on drums, Television were arguably the first New York new wave band in terms of style and attitude, even though the bands music has caused many to liken them to a new wave Grateful Dead. Style and attitude was courtesy of Richard Hell who provided a strong visual element of ripped clothes and siky hair based on a picture of the symbolist poet Rimbaud. Hell also provided the live wire rock'n'roll element jumping around and providing songs like Love Comes in Spurts and Fuck Rock'n'roll that so irked Verlaine. Contrast that with the Verlaine studied seriousness and musical intenseness with songs like Marquee Moon and Venus and something eventually had to give. But before that there were seeds of legends to be sown. Needing a place to gig regularly Verlaine & Lloyd chanced upon a little used Bowery bar. They convinced the owner Hilly Kristal they could play country, Blue grass & Blues or CBGB's. Not long after Blondie. Ramones & Patti Smith played beginning the punk legend that was CBGB's. Meanwhile Hell was finding song after song of his being dropped from the set. An abortive demo session with Island records and Eno featured none of his songs. He quit in 1975 but not before a certain Malcolm McLaren in the audience had noted his appearance and actions. Offering to take him to England Hell refused going onto form The Heartbreakers and then The Voidoids. The latter where he got to record his songs and was finally the undisputed leader!
Television002Hell had undoubtedly contributed to Televisions initial popularity and the dour Verlaine compensated for his missing dimension by becoming more studious, embarking on a shimmering near jazz free form rides in the process, taking the twin guitar sound into new realms of tonal frontier frequented only fleetingly by 5D Byrds and Cortez The Killer period Neil Young.''


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