Source: "Music for Films programme" (October 1999)
Tom Verlaine (Composer/Guitarist) Famed for his tantalizing work as singer and guitarist for the seminal New York band Television, Tom Verlaine also has carved out an acclaimed and diverse solo career. Born in Delaware in 1949, as a chid he suffered enforced piano lessons, belted out raw noise on the saxophone, and daydreamed to symphonies. Later he became familiar with modern jazz, and then, after hearing the Stones' 19th Nervous Breakdown, began to gravitate toward rock music. In 1968 he moved to the Lower East Side, where he continues to live. In 1971, he formed a trio called Neon Boys with friends from high school, Billy Ficca and Richard Hell. In 1973, Richard Lloyd caught one of Verlaine's occasional solo shows and soon the new quartet, now called Television, made their debut at the Townhouse Theater. A Sunday night residency at CBGB followed. During this period, Patti Smith raised the band's profile by writing that "Tom Verlaine plays like a thousand bluebirds screaming," a statement widely quoted. In 1975, Fred Smith joined and the band was complete. Though identified with the punk phenomenon, the band's complex songcraft, powered by Verlaine's finely honed guitar work, clearly set them apart. Their debut recording, Marquee Moon (1977), and its follow-up, Adventure (1978), caused a sensation on both sides of the Atlantic. They were called "the Stravinskys of rock" (Daily News) and the record was characterized as "an obvious, unashamed classic" (Sounds). The albums made scores of Top Ten Lists and Verlaine began to be cited in guitar polls. The band split up in 1978.|
Verlaine resurfaced in 1979 with a self-titled debut featuring Kingdom Come, later covered by avowed fan David Bowie. 1981's dense Dreamtime ("a veritable monsoon of guitar playing" Rolling Stone), earned a place on the US album charts. The next releases, Words From The Front (82) and Cover (84), drew rave reviews from the British press. After a 3-year hiatus, he released Flashlight, widely regarded as the best of his solo efforts. In 1990, he released The Wonder, and there was a brief Television reunion album and tour. In 1992, Verlaine scored the film, Love and a .45, and released his first instrumental LP, Warm and cool (Rykodisc). A second instrumental release is due at the end of 1999. He continues to make his own path, doesn't run with any crowd, and is not widely known despite his accomplishments and acclaim. However, he has been able to achieve what few successful fists even aspire to: a sense of personal identity and an ongoing vision in his work.
Tom Verlaine: Music For Film has its world premier this evening before moving on to the Wexner Center (Columbus, OH), Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (OR), International House (Philadelphia), Museum of Fine Arts (Houston), Photographic Resource Center (Boston) and the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis). The scores were co-commissioned by the Wexner Center and Tim Lanza of the Douris Corporation, both in Columbus Ohio. The Douris Corporation is the exclusive worldwide distributor of the Rohauer Collection, one of the largest and best collections of film art, distributing films from around the world dating between 1896 to the 1960's.
JIMMY RIP (Guitar) is a New York native. He is a studio musician and has appeared on over 70 different albums, including Mick Jagger's solo records. Rip's blues record, Way Past Blue, was the first album released on the House of Blues label in 1995. He has worked on Tom Verlaine's solo projects since 1981.