Monday, May 07, 2007

Richard turns the TV off

On the face of it, seminal New York band Television looks to have broken up. That’s the only conclusion I can draw from guitarist Richard Lloyd’s announcement that he’s severing all ties. In short, Lloyd'd bringing out a new record and, to quote him, it "directly competes with Marquee Moon, Axis: Bold as Love, The Doors, Patti Smith's Horses, Bob Marley's Natty Dread, Neil Young's Harvest, or any other record you can name, as one of the greatest records ever made in the history of rock 'n roll. That being so, Richard needs to concentrate all of his energies to support it and its subsidiary philosophies".

Which of course looked like a pisstake on first reading but a personal message to the Marquee Moon mailing list made it clear that the Master of the Telecaster is deadly serious (if not in the least bit self deprecating.)

TV’s been a going (live) concern for the last decade or so, and given Lloyd’s prominent role (i.e. taking most of the solos) it’s clear that if Tom Verlaine and Co soldier on, it’s going to be a wildly different band. It reads as if Lloyd has tired (after 34 years already!) of playing second fiddle to Tom. There goes that difficult fourth studio album and any hope of seeing them in Australia. My one and only attempt to catch them at an All Tomorrow’s Parties festival date at UCLA a few years ago came to grief.

Great and esoteric guitarist that he is, Verlaine really needs someone to play yin to his yang and Lloyd's explosive soloing did just that. Jimmy Rip has filled this role in Verlaine's solo bands. Take that element away from Television and you're left with...noodling.

In tandem with Ken Shimamoto, I once tried to e-interview Lloyd for the I-94 Bar and the guy proved difficult, to say the least. Every reference to TV seemed to elicit a “I knew I’d be asked about that band” response, and since neither Ken or I had heard his then new solo album, “The Cover Doesn’t Matter”, it was hard to take a different tack. Lloyd also seemed to read double entendres into every other broad question (Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain’s “Please Kill Me” fuck-drug-and-tell-all expose had just come out) and we consigned the half-completed chat to the electronic trash. Pity, because Lloyd seemed (and seems) an interesting character.

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