Source: New York Magazine (October 1992)
by Jim Farber
Tom Verlaine has a prediction. This week, as he prepares for
the release of his first album with the band Television in 14 years, Verlaine
feels sure of one thing. "The record will fail, exactly like the others
did", he says.|
Commercially, maybe it will. Television - the outfit that helped kick-start the whole CBGB's punk scene in the mid-'70s - saw its previous albums (1977's Marquee Moon and the next year's Adventure) flop at the cash register. Aesthetically, though, they loom large. With the intricate, syncopated guitars of Verlaine and Richard Lloyd fighting over a muscular rhythm section (bassist Fred Smith and drummer Billy Ficca), Television's virtuosity stood out in a world of punk minimalists. But the group's history was curt: By the end of the '70s, it was outta here.
Today, the foursome stonewall questions about their breakup and the reasons for a reunion. Rumors that the group split in the wake of a power struggle between Lloyd and Verlaine are jokingly dismissed. "We never fought", Lloyd says. "Except over socks". He's equally flip about his famous drug problem. "Not famous enough," Lloyd says.
Talk of a reunion began two years ago, says band manager John Telfer, when Verlaine and Lloyd were free of solo contracts. The new record, simply titled Television (Capitol), sounds every bit as pure as the group's late-'70s work. Tracks such as "Call Mr Lee" and "Shane, She Wrote This", find Verlaine's quicksilver vocals playing tensely off Lloyd's guttural guitar outbursts, just like in the old days. Now, however, R.E.M., Pearl Jam and other bands have created a market for alternative, guitar-driven music that Television can tap into, one that didn't exist 14 years ago.
The band my be skeptical about that, and it refuses to look too far ahead. A fall tour is planned, but Lloyd says Television's commitment to its future is "nonexistent". So don't touch the dial.