Tom Verlaine / Television Quiz:

Part Nine: For Madmen Only

1) In an interview Tom Verlaine once vividly described a scene in a movie by director Elia Kazan that starred Montgomery Clift and Lee Remick. Tom: "There’s one beautiful shot in the film where he’s [Clift’s] in this vacant house with Lee Remick and it starts to rain, and basically there’s very quiet voices with the sound of the rain beating on the roof. The way it’s shot, the way it looks, it’s a great love scene, a really beautiful love scene." (i) Which Kazan film is Tom talking about? (485 points)
  • a) "Splendor in the Grass"
  • b) "On The Waterfront"
  • c) "Wild River"
  • d) "East of Eden"
(ii) The lyrics of which one of Tom’s songs with Television was probably impacted by this film? (15 points)

2) Name another director (who is dead) and all of whose films Tom has seen? 250 points)

  • a) King Vidor
  • b) Sam Fuller
  • c) James Whale
  • d) David Lean

3) What kind of a guitar (year/make/model) does Richard Lloyd still play? (125 points)

  • a) 1967 Fender Telecaster
  • b) 1969 Gibson
  • c) 1964 Al Caiola Epiphone
  • d) 1961 Fender Stratocaster

4) Now let’s get real obsessive:
a) In concert and in the studio Verlaine most often plays what two guitars (year/make/model)? (125 points for each guitar)
b) What are the colors and wood type(s) of the body of each guitar? (175 points each)
c) Name the color(s) of the pickguard on each of the guitars? (250 points each)

5) At what intersection in NYC did Verlaine live from 1968 until about 1980? (150 points)

  • a) Broadway and Mott Street
  • b) Bleecker Street and Mercer Street
  • c) St. Mark’s Place and Second Avenue
  • d) 11th Street and First Avenue

6) In the late 1960s Tom was a big fan of French Symbolist poets, and by the 1970s it was Spanish poets. Name three of these Spanish poets? (100 points each)

7) During Tom’s 45th birthday that occurred while he was playing ‘2nd’ guitar during Patti Smith’s tour (the tour in which she was the opening act for Bob Dylan) Jay Dee Daugherty gave him a CD for his birthday. What was the CD? (200 points)

8) Write a 750 word or longer essay on why Tom Verlaine’s/Television’s music was predestined/doomed to not meet with commercial success. (1,500 points)

9) In 1996 a double CD, The Miller’s Tale/A Tom Verlaine Anthology, was released by Verlaine. It contained the only commercially available live recordings of some of his work (other than the 1982 ROIR cassette and its subsequent CD), a sample of songs from most of his CDs/records, and some unreleased studio tracks. The very last page of the liner notes of this 1996 Anthology contained a relatively recent photograph of Tom. It shows him wearing a black beret while sitting on a metal folding chair playing his guitar. In this photo his face no longer has its former ascetic, lean, gaunt look. What happened here? (150 points)

  • a) Tom’s been lifting weights
  • b) Tom spends too much time eating lasagna and canoli in the small Italian restaurant, Rocco’s, in the West Village
  • c) Tom’s girlfriend finally convinced him to give up smoking (Export A cigarettes).

10) (i) Who was Teresa Stern? (125 points)
b) (ii) On the credit sleeve to the album Dreamtime is written, ‘Thanks to Karin Berg.’ Who is Karin Berg? (200 points)
c) (iii) Who was/is Robert Darby? (250 points)
d) (iv) Who is Alan Rudolph? (200 points)

11)(i) What was the name of the 13th-century Iranian Sufi poet whom Verlaine once recommended to an interviewer? (500 points) (ii) Which specific collection of this poet did he recommend? (550 points)
(ii) Which two 20th-century American poets helped with the translations? (500 points each)

12) Who said: "Well, I think you can write about music in a way that illuminates your audience. There was this classical guy in the 1920s, Paul Rosenfield, who was great. If you read one of his pieces it totally turns you on to wanting to hear a Ravel record. And then when you hear it you know what he was talking about.mAlso LeRoi Jones, before he changed his name to that African name, used to have a colunn in Downbeat and the way he used to write about stuff really put across what the people sounded like and made you want to hear them." (150 points)

  • a) Michel Foucault, L’Express, May 1, 1977
  • b) Hendrik Geller, ‘Quote Unquote’ (private pamphlet), 1988
  • c) Tom Verlaine, Trouser Press, May 1978
  • d) Frank Taylor, The Delaware News Journal, July 6, 1978

13) Who wrote: "Verlaine’s basic rhythm has been a 4/4 any Stones fan can dance to, and most of his songs break cleanly into verses and choruses. (One of his favorite devices is to use blue or modal chords in the verse, then switch to triumphant major chords for the chorus, as in Dreamtime’s ‘Mr. Blur’, ‘Always’, and ‘A Future in Noise’.) . Although each song has a specific set of more or less interlocking riffs, Verlaine doesn’t mesh them into funk polyrhythms; he wants you to hear the battle of the instruments, the parallax down-beat (when he called his publishing company Double Exposure Music, he undercounted), and he disrupts any impending stasis with a new riff or solo or a random plunk. Like dreams, the songs are buffeted from within and without; they’re not fixed objects, they’re convergences of events. If that sounds like a notion from jazz or psychedelia - well, maybe." (850 points)

  • a) Jon Pareles, ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, The Village Voice, October 7-13, 1981
  • b) Jean Baudrillard, ‘Deconstructing Dreamtime’, Le Monde, September 1981
  • c) Milo Miles, ‘Dreamtime’, The Boston Phoenix, September 30, 1981
  • d) John Angus, ‘Review of Dreamtime’, in ‘Quote Unquote’ (private pamphlet), 1988

14) Who wrote: "Verlaine’s guitar playing is spare, precise and deliberately unvirtuosic throughout. Even the extended improvisations on the album’s final two cuts, where second guitarists Mark Abel and Ricky Wilson provide a foil, are achieved within a kind of minimalist stasis... Verlaine’s solos have always been prolonged teases, indefinitely postponing resolution, taking daring circular detours and abruptly changing direction, avoiding the note you’re waiting for. The beautiful solos on ‘Last Night’ seem to rise and fall simultaneously, a tight maze of dead ends miraculously transcended, like Coltrane’s unaccompanied sax excursion on the Selflessness live version of ‘I Want To Talk About You’ with its devastating barrage of false endings. The ‘Breakin’ in My Heart’ solo is equally static, riding Verlaine’s best groove since ‘Marquee Moon’, gradually adding notes to the same riff without going anywhere - another Coltrane dynamic. On the same song, and also on ‘Red Leaves’ and ‘Kingdom Come’,.. Verlaine introduces a new guitar hook on the final choruses, pushing near-perfect cuts a step further." (950 points)

  • a) Roy Trakin, New York Rocker, August 1979
  • b) John Piccarella, ‘Tom Verlaine Wakes Up Dreaming’, The Village Voice,
  • September 10, 1979
  • c) Edie Schroeder, ‘Tom Verlaine Paints With His Guitar’, The Sydney Times, September 29, 1979
  • d)Lester Bangs, Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung, 1988 (950 points)

15) Who wrote: "Tom Verlaine has matured into one of rock music’s very finest guitarists by steering a course that is only distantly related to the virtuosic blues oriented tradition of the rock mainstream. Mr. Verlaine’s surreal dream songs, with their hypnotic, repetitive phrases usually set in minor keys, are essentially rock tone poems, in which the implications of his stark surreal lyrics are elaborated in majestic, exquisitely colored guitar solos. This stark solitary lyricism is not likely ever to earn a mass audience, and its power has never fully been captured on record, because Mr. Verlaine’s albums emphasize the raw strangulated singing voice… The group’s chunky, visceral arrangements, with their martial rhythms and passionate guitar tanglings between Mr. Verlaine and Mr. Ripp, reminded one at times of Neil Young and Crazy Horse, but [the arrangements] had a grander sense of structure and a more precise articulation. Mr. Verlaine and his band may very well be the most accomplished guitar-oriented rock quartet in America today." (500 points)

  • a) Stephen Holden, The New York Times, June 7, 1982
  • b) Robert Christgau, ‘Guitar- Hero Verlaine Delivers’, The Village Voice, June 8-14, 1982
  • c) Jim Farber, ‘Tom Verlaine: The Last Guitar Hero’, International
  • Musician and Recording, November, 1980
  • d) Eric King, ‘Changing Channels’, Spin, July 1982

16) Who wrote: "He’s one of a handful of players who can still hear the electric guitar as a fantasy instrument, a dream: a guitar that can hit harder and sustain longer than any acoustic version bound by physical laws. Most guitarists who reach a certain level of agility use the fretboard like a keyboard, forgetting the visceral, while the best noisy plunkers - Keith Richards, for instance - have no use for lyricism. But Verlaine’s dreamscapes demand both extremes: when things get too ethereal, he digs in blues licks like pitons sharpened with John Cipollina’s trebly vibrato; if the bottom gets too gritty, he floats a time-stopper out of Miles Davis. Verlaine is no guitar hero -just the opposite. Instead of redoubling the bass riff for maximum impact, he’ll play a counterpoint; when a chord progression threatens too tidy a conclusion, he’ll shift into modal scales (Dorian instead of minor, Mixolydian instead of major) that dissipate the momentum. And when he does build a crescendo, as he does in ‘There’s a Reason’ on Dreamtime, he can toss off a sequence that, for its lift and sculptural proportions, might as well be spun-steel bridge cable." (750 points)

  • a) Caroline Coon, Melody Maker, September 15, 1981
  • b) Lenny Kaye, The SoHo Weekly News, September, 1981
  • c) Ellen Willis, Music For A Desert Island, 1982
  • d) Jon Pareles, ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, The Village Voice, October 7-13, 1981

17) Who said: " ... He’s the most respected new guitarist to come along in years, breaking away from the Claptonesque cliches that have plagued the genre... Hearing Verlaine’s solo on ‘Marque Moon’ grow from the recorded version to his expansive improvisations at the Bottom Line, I had the sensation of someone learning how to talk. His lines had an effortless, unhurried sense of flotation - a sweet vocal quality to every note - yet there was something unbearably urgent about his improvisation. Slowly, methodically, he built bird-like flutters, church-bell hammerings, wrong-is-right vibrato effects and singing distortion tones to an elliptical, double-timed climax, rapidly cross-picking notes so that his lines seemed to be going in two directions at once... Verlaine is among the most natural melodic guitarists you’re likely to hear –-his syllables are more interesting to hear than other players' paragraphs." (550 points)

  • a) Nick Kent, New Musical Express, February 1977
  • b) Chip Stern, Musician, Player, and Listener, November 1979
  • c) Peter Herbst, The Chicago Tribune, March 1977
  • d) Robert Christgau, The Village Voice, February 9-15, 1977

18) Who said: "It’s nice to get good reviews and it's interesting to get reviews that are so bad they're good. Some good reviews are so off the wall that they're funny and some bad ones are the same way, but I've never seen a good or bad review that I thought the reviewer had his head on straight... Seriously, the good reviews and the bad reviews both seem like the reviewers express their own personalities more than they express any general truth about the group - which is fine in a way." (55 points)

  • a) Richard Hell
  • b) Danny Fields of Sire Records
  • c) Tom Verlaine
  • d) Richard Lloyd

19) Who said: "There’s a theory about the voice, how you voice the guitar, how you bring out that note. An instrument is a voice – an extension of your inner self. There’s a real voice inside the instrument that you can bring out..." (65 points)

  • a) Patti Smith
  • b) Pablo Casals
  • c) Richard Lloyd
  • d) Tom Verlaine

20) (i) What was the ethnic background of Tom’s great grandparents? (750 points)
(ii) What was the name of Tom’s great grand parents? (1,100 points)

21) When Tom was arrested in South Carolina for speeding and driving without a license what answer did he give when the judge asked him what he did for a living? (800 points)

  • a) "I’m a musician"
  • b) "I’m a salesman";
  • c) "I’m a guitarist"
  • d) "I am a poet’
  • e) "I write songs"