17 Oct. 2023

'The Ultimate Music Guide to Television'.

"Lightning strikes itself!

The latest Ultimate Music Guide is our authoritative look at Television, featuring in-depth reviews of all Tom Verlaine's albums with and without the band, as well as those of associated acts like Richard Hell & The Voidoids and The Heartbreakers."

It's in shops on October 19 or available to order now.
You can order a copy HERE

29 Aug. 2023

The Tom Verlaine Book Sale.

Tom Verlaine left behind a fantastic musical legacy. He also left behind a truly enormous book collection.

At the end of this month was the first of a number of 'garage sales' to begin to pass on this fascinating treasure trove.

HERE's a link to a report of the day's activities

29 Jan. 2023

I started the day today with the news that Tom Verlaine died yesterday.
I don't yet have any more information but Jesse Paris Smith, the daughter of long-time associate and collaborator Patti Smith, announced the news of his death on Saturday.
While his cause of death was not revealed, Smith said that he died “after a brief illness.”.

Well . . . fuck.

I've been trying to find a way of expressing how I feel after the death of Tom Verlaine.

The first thing I played after I read the news wasn't Marquee Moon or any of the obvious songs it was his cover of Dylan's Cold Irons Bound on the I'm Not There (Original Soundtrack) album.
Dylan's song of dark thoughts and pessimism, disappointment, despair and desperation. Verlaine slows it down and in the way of the best covers makes it sound as if he wrote it. He seems to Inhabit Dylan's world/understands it. I can't decide whether Dylan wrote it and Verlaine covered it or Verlaine wrote it and lent it to Dylan for a while.

There's too much to say and, at the same time, there just aren't enough words. For forty seven years I've marvelled at and been entranced by his music and words. I once described "Flash Light" as, "the sound of poetry written with electric guitars" and I apologise to no-one for that.

I had no impact on his life whatsoever but I can't imagine my own history without his place in it. I didn't know him but I always felt that he knew some things that I needed to know and hear and re-hear. And every time I re-heard these things I felt overwhelmed by the combination of the the comfortingly familiar and the startingly new. Listening to him changed the way I tried to play the guitar. Changed the way I heard the guitar. What it meant. What it was for. He completed a gap in my experience that I hadn't even realised was there. I hadn't been listening to music in the wrong way, I'd just been expecting the wrong things from it.

I can't fall back on the collection of adjectives usually used to describe his guitar playing; if you've heard it then you've been startled and revitalised by it as I have. (If you haven't then there's really no hope for you.) Teased by it, shocked, beguiled, renewed, rewarded, silenced, awe-struck.... He transformed the soundscape of the electric guitar. And I don't think he meant to, it was just the way he had to play.

I liked the fact that he professed to not know or care what people thought about his songs and his "so-called career" although I didn't believe him. I liked the fact that I didn't believe him. He also famously said, "Practice? I never practice. I just write songs and take solos." I didn't believe that, either, but who knows?

I didn't know him but I met him a few times. I was shocked to find myself transfomed/reverted into stammering adolescence; surely I was too old and sophisticated and cool for that? No. No, I wasn't.

He was polite and friendly and quiet. A couple of time I said things that made him laugh. I was pleased about that - he liked me! Maybe he was laughing at me? Who cares? What does it matter?

There's one moment that I always remember, that I like to remember. It was at a Television gig in London, sitting in the centre front row between my wife Tania and my good friend Ray. Right in front of Tom. The band had settled into the tense/languid groove in the middle section of "Rhyme" (always a favourite). We reached the spoken section - you know, the "that old blue dress . . . it's just about worn out . . . you can see right through it..." lines? Just before Richard bursts through the tension and lifts the mood. There was almost silence, just Tom's voice saying "I guess that's why you like it so much" and I just laughed. Into the quiet.

I mean, not manic Vincent-Price-phantom-of-the-opera laughter, just a chuckle really. Something connected and I saw the funny and he glanced down at me and smiled/smirked and then carried on.
That's it, that's the moment. (Of course I could have imagined it. But I didn't. You think he didn't have a sense of humour? - this is the man who rhymed: "Fascination . . . fever / And you swim just like a beaver").

"You caught the voice. I listen close. All I heard was the echoes."

Patti Smith posted this on Instagram:

Patti Smith has this emotive and loving piece in the New Yorker:

"Tears, tears. Years, years."

October 2022

Television dates with Billy Idol CANCELLED!
A notice on the AXS Events website today (4th October 2022) reads: "Unfortunately due to illness, Television have to cancel the forthcoming U.K. tour with Billy Idol. Huge apologies to any fans who have bought tickets.

May 2022

Television dates in the UK in 2022!
Television fans who are also keen to keep up the latest from Billy Idol (are there many?) will have noticed on his website that Television will be opening for him on the 'arena' dates on the UK part of his 2022 European tour.

Mr Idol writes, "I am thrilled that now opening all UK shows will be Television, one of my favourite bands from the original New York punk scene and an inspiration to me throughout my career. I will be honoured to share the stage with them and hope everyone will come early to enjoy their set."

April 2022

December 2021

This live radio recording from 1987 is popping up all over the interweb tubes at the moment.
An excellent quality recording of Tom Verlaine and band at The Big Club, Turin, Italy in April 1987.

(Live 1987) Souvenir From A Dream
Bomb (Live 1987) Tom Verlaine Dissolve Reveal
Cry Mercy Judge
Scientist Writes A Letter
Penetration/Swim/Clear It Away
Kingdom Come
Marquee Moon/Glory

August 2021