(They don't say much - but here's some of it)


Can I just say that if you asked me, I'd say Television was a lousy fuckin' name for a rock group.
Richard Lloyd, Select Sept 1992


I’ve got a quote for you, a good quote to describe Television...In madness there is order.
Tom Verlaine, The Music Gig September 76


Television was the only band of its ilk that treated the guitar with delicacy, not as simple rhythm support for teenage aggression.
Richard Lloyd, Guitar Player May 2001


If people listen to, you know, Fleetwood Mac – they’re going to think our first record was grating. There’s all guitars, no sweet harmonies, I mean sure. They’re just going to hear it as like exhausting or something,. I mean I like that about our records. I think a record should exhaust you by the time it’s done, otherwise it’s not even worth the seven dollars.
Tom Verlaine, Hit Parader September 78


I can't presume to speak for the others, but I never felt anything negative from anyone when I was onstage with Television. When I played rhythm behind Lloyd, the only thing that concerned me was to push him as hard as I could so that he'd go beyond what he was capable of and come up with something new, and vice versa. That's the only thing that mattered.
Tom Verlaine, Musician, Player and Listener, November 1979


Some bands don't ever get along and they do fine. Some relationships are built where there's an incredible tension. [Television is a] musical experience of great strength, but that doesn't mean you all have to play poker on Friday night.
Richard Lloyd, The Hartford Courant February 2001


Everybody's out trying to be commercial. I'm not trying to be anything, really.
Tom Verlaine, Boston Phoenix 1977


You know, there is something I'm looking for when I'm writing. But I couldn't tell you what that is.
Tom Verlaine, Rolling Stone January 1993


People ask me this a lot, what a song's about.... I do think analyzing a song can be interesting, although it doesn't necessarily get to the point. It's a whole other side activity. I do like making a thing into pictures. If I get an abstract idea and all the words in it don't represent tangible things, I might try to take the idea and make it into a picture, create a little scene there, an image.
Tom Verlaine, Music Magazine 1987


Alternative music doesn't have to be "alternative" [mock wincing facial gesture]. I mean, we COULD be weird and avant-garde if we wanted, but really, at our core is a pop band.
Billy Ficca, Creem 1993


There were a lot of things I listened to, but so-called pop music never killed me, you know, the type of stuff that always seems to make it on the radio. The whole radio thing seems so… it's like they've accepted the whole "new wave" thing only because this kind of pop element came into it. In Europe they really love emotion, but here it's like, "let's stay away from it because we might cry or something".
Tom Verlaine, Musician, Player and Listener, November 1979


Television was one of those magnificent kind of events where everything fell into place.
Richard Lloyd, Guitar World March 2001


I have a real soft spot for flying saucer songs and Frenkenstein songs. When I was a kid the first record I ever really liked was called "The Mummy", and the flip-side was called "The Beat Generation" which Richard Hell later re-wrote as "The Blank Generation". I thought it was the greatest thing I had ever heard. I didn't like Elvis much then, but I was very young. When I was a kid I used to play that monster all the time!
Tom Verlaine, NME September 1992


We're an analog band, we're not digital... When things come out on CD they have to be digitalised. There's a good engineer I know who says that analog is like film and digital is like video. If you put something you've filmed on video then it will retain all of its beauty and sheen of film. If you record something on video it will be grainy, and if you put that on film it will retain its graininess. We're analog... valve. We're valve people, not solid-state people.
Richard Lloyd, NME September 1992


As peculiar as it sounds, I've always thought that we were a pop band. You know, I always thought Marquee Moon was a bunch of cool singles. And then I'd realize, Christ, this song is ten minutes long with two guitar solos.
Tom Verlaine, Select Sept 1992


They do tend to rhyme, though. As corny as they are, I really like it when songs rhyme.
Tom Verlaine, Music Magazine 1987


We're also opposed to the trends in uncommercial rock. I don't see our style as different from any number of so-called successful rock groups... You name 'em - you name the successful rock groups...that's what I'm talking about. I don't think we're so different from any of them.
Tom Verlaine, Boston Phoenix October 1977


I think amongst the guitars, it's a liking for the same kind of tones, so you don't have one guy playing twang and the other guy playing with a fuzz tone. So, right away, the two guitars have a kind of "band" sound. It's not that far off from '60s bands, really, like Yardbirds or early Rolling Stones, where sometimes the two guitars sound like one big guitar weaving back and forth. With Fred it's a simplicity thing - he doesn't play very complicated parts, which help the guitars poke out more. And with Billy, it's like he has an incredibly broad background in drums. He and I used to play sort of quasi free-jazz stuff in the '60s. So he has this really wide background of different styles.
Tom Verlaine, The Bob Spring 1993


Some of the albums I like best in the whole world are considered psychedelic albums. A psychedelic album is an album that when you put it on, if you listen to both sides, when it's over, your perceptions have been changed and I think that our record can do that.
Richard Lloyd on the Marquee Moon album, New York Rocker issue 1


Well that's what Eno's tape sounded like to tell ya the truth, when Eno did us we sounded like The Ventures! And it wasn't bad on one of the songs, but on all 8- Euchh! No balls, no balls...
Tom Verlaine, interview with George Elliott 1976


I think it's mood-evoking in a way that the voice starts to come in and then just fades away. It gives you the conception that the song never really ends.
Richard Lloyd on the song Marquee Moon, New York Rocker issue 1


They were recorded without processed cheese. Listen to old '50s records. The style may be dated, but the recording isn't.
Richard Lloyd, (on the sound of Marquee Moon and Adventure) Uncut November 2003


I don't think anybody thinks about their past much, unless they're in a mental institution.
Tom Verlaine, NME September 1992


Rock is stronger than any misguided theories of cultural events. It's bigger than that.
Richard Lloyd, Spin Online March 2001


Places like Belgium and the south of France, Sweden and Copenhagen are really alive. They really love rock 'n' roll, they really respond.
Tom Verlaine, Trouser Press May 1978


The Beat thing happened when I was younger. I used to run away from home, inspired by the Beats, like in '64 and '65.
Tom Verlaine, Raygun November 1994


I've only heard one person call me pretentious and he was a guy who auditioned for the band and later became a rock critic for High Fidelity Magazine.
Tom Verlaine New York Rocker 1979


My non-career. My excuse for a career? Honestly, I never think about the word ‘career.’ I’ve had managers, the minute they say it to me, they look at me and just roll their eyes.
Tom Verlaine, Musician Magazine September 1992


I heard a side of it - or maybe the whole thing - once. I didn't think much of it. There were a lot of old Tom Verlaine chord changes on it, but I don't care 'cause we're not doing them anymore anyway.
I don't say that out of conceit. I just heard it right away - I don't even think he's aware of it. Actually, I don't care.
Tom Verlaine on Richard Hell's Blank Generation album Trouser Press May 1978


You can't yell and encourage an electronic drum track.
Billy Ficca, Creem 1993


It's amazing, I go out with other people on tour and it never fails that someone tells me, "I heard you when I was 13 and you changed my life."
Fred Smith, Musician Magazine September 1992.


I'm kind of proud of that little record! I mean I've heard about a million other records that have come out since then by all these groups around here and there and I really like 'Little Johnny Jewel'.
Tom Verlaine, interview with George Elliott 1976


Johnny Jewel is how people were maybe two hundred years ago. Back then, when people got up in the morning, they knew what they had to do to get through the day - there were 100% less decisions. Nowadays, we have to decide what we want to buy in grocery stores, what job to take, what work to do. But not Johnny. For him, it's all right there - it's a freer state, and that's what my music is looking for...
... To understand Johnny, you should think of William Blake. He was the same kinda guy.
Tom Verlaine, Crawdaddy 1977


I don't want any production credit. I think producers are overrated. They're for people who, first of all, don't know anything about music or arranging and have no ear for their own doings. They can't tell a good solo from a bad solo, stuff like that.
Tom Verlaine, New York Rocker 1979


A few people said, "Don’t work with him, he’s difficult". But he’s an artist - and no more difficult than anybody who’s intelligent and doesn’t stand fools.
John Telfer, (Manager) Musician Magazine September 1992


One thing that happened when we got together at the end of ’90 and jammed, more than Tom or Richard’s guitar being there, was Billy’s hi-hat. The way he plays his hi-hat is unlike anything else. One day they’ll discover the Television sound is Bill’s hi-hat playing. The rest is superfluous.
Fred Smith, Musician Magazine September 1992


(On playing Glastonbury Festival)
Frankly, it will be a hilarious way of coming back. There's no soundchecks and it will be us just winging it to an enourmous number of people. How can anybody take a band seriously that hasn't played for 14 years and is going to do a festival without a soundcheck?
Tom Verlaine, NME June 1992


In terms of the solos, I don't come at it from an instrumentalist's point of view. I can't imagine why anybody would want to learn how to play somebody else's solo, but I guess that's how a lot of guitar players come to it. Whereas I had - maybe it was the misfortune - of taking piano and saxophone for years.''
Tom Verlaine, Rolling Stone January 1993


I'd never assume an audience was anything but totally receptive and perfect. Seriously, it seems to me that's the only circumstance you can work under. Otherwise, speaking for myself, you may as well be in the advertising business.
Tom Verlaine, New York Rocker November 1981


For six years people were asking why we broke up, then they asked when we'd get back together. For the next six they'll ask why did we reform?
Fred Smith, Creem 1993


Yeah, I'd say there's probably about a couple of hundred people I admire - but that has nothing to do with what a person does themselves. That's why I never mention these things. You can read a detective novel you really like, but it had no bearing on what you do yourself, you just think, "God, how this guy wove this together!" Or you get into the energy of it. Or you see a poem which makes a great statement about sentiment, but it's not sentimental.
Tom Verlaine, The Bob Spring 1993


Thanks to MTV, half the population of the western world thinks they're going to be rock musicians. In Hollywood at 8.30 AM you literally see all these long-haired rock and rollers with guitars, like businessmen with briefcases, going to this guitar college where they all learn speed and thrash and tapping. And it's like, 'oeyyyyy'! All the 64th notes make you king. You wonder where all those guys are headed, since 99.9999 percent of those guitars are eventually going into the closet!
......
I purposely didn't learn any of those hip licks. There's a million guys technically better than us but there's something else that makes you a musician rather than just a guy who plays an instrument. The real criteria for success is inexpressible!
Richard Lloyd, Creem 1993


Practice? I never practice. I just write songs and take solos.
Tom Verlaine, The Record September 1982


In some bands a bassist can relax back in the pocket with the drums but Tom likes the bass to be melodic, so I have to fit notes into some unusual places.
Fred Smith, quoted in Elektra Records Bio


I always like junkyards. All this metal piled up - they're filled with pathos, those places. Much more pathos than most of the music I've heard. You look at it, and there's more feeling, even though it's depressing, than there is in a lot of music I hear these days. A junkyard is what it is, whereas listening to a record by, say, Styx, is something else.
Tom Verlaine, Trouser Press January 1982


I've seen a lot of people getting into Jazzmasters because of me, and, well, people don't know what they're in for. I mean if you're looking for endless sustain, you're going to have to get it out of your hands (laughs). Because a saxophonist gets it out of his breath. You've got to work for it on the guitar - it means you have to pull it out of yourself, otherwise, what are you doing? You end up playing a lot of noise or scale exercises.
Tom Verlaine, The Record September 1982


Some-one called my style 'sense of urgency' guitar playing and I've always admitted I often don't know where I'm going when I solo. But that desperation is what makes it exciting.
Richard Lloyd, Guitar Player May 2001


I am not a punk rocker. You've got it mixed up. Nobody is a punk rocker. Punk rock is just a label. It wasn't part of our ethics. The whole idea was that we were trying awfully hard to become good at our instruments. What you're talking about is the "anybody can be in a band, you don't have to know how to play your instrument" mentality, which is really an English idea. It's a social, political rebellion. It had nothing to do with Americans.
Richard Lloyd, Interview on thrustCHAT (2003?)


I recently realized that Television has influenced a lot of English bands. Echo and the Bunnymen, U2, Teardrop Explodes - it's obvious what they've listened to and what they're going for. When I was sixteen I listened to Yardbirds records and thought, "God, this is great." It's gratifying to think that people listened to Television albums and felt the same.
Tom Verlaine, Rolling Stone October 1981.


Fred Smith made the big error of his life when he quit Blondie to join Television, but at that point Television was the one tipped for big, big success. Blondie was the worst band in the city - they were just a joke.
Roberta Bayley


I'm not even sure who my audience is.
Tom Verlaine, New York Magazine August 1987


I just don’t like people coming up to me and saying something. It immediately makes you become insincere. There is no way that you can react to it sincerely. I really don’t have that much interest in stardom.
Tom Verlaine, Spin Magazine 1987


I was just listening to some of the stuff over headphones and I really like the way Richard does his guitar stuff - it sounds real random! I'd always loved his chord work, he is one of the chord guys. Townshend is also one of the chord guys I admire. I actually like rhythm guitar more than lead in a certain way. I love playing rhythm guitar!
Tom Verlaine, Guitar World November 1981


I'm a classic middle '60s fan of the moment where electric guitars went centre-stage with Hendrix, Beck, Page, Bloomfield. I followed the English invasion bands back to the Americans and ended up in the blues. Buddy Guy is an all-time hero. Tom wouldn't say that.
Richard Lloyd, Uncut November 2003


Pablo Casals said that "the desire for innovation leads to greater aberrations in art than would acceptance of what's already there" and I think he's definitely got a point.
......
Style to me is incidental. The British are very adept at creating it for its own sake, but the best style is incidental. John Coltrane had a style but it was totally incidental to what he was.
Tom Verlaine, New York Rocker November 1981


People think that he takes himself too seriously, but he's one of the funniest guys I've ever met! He's a riot!
Jay Dee Daugherty on Tom Verlaine


In Old English they don't say I had a dream, but there's another usage of the word - "life is but a dream," to be corny about it. It's implied with eyes wide open, rather than asleep. But I'm not a philosopher to explain myself. I wish I could. Maybe that's why I'm a musician.
Tom Verlaine, Trouser Press January 1982


You can't get so interested in just making sounds. The point of it all is some kind of expression.
Tom Verlaine, The Record September 1982


I'm not a clown but I'm not an academic either.
Tom Verlaine, The Face July 1984


I guess you might say Tom does a lot of composing in the studio.
Billy Ficca, Billboard October 1992


I like thinking of myself as invisible. I find it a very advantageous way to live.
Tom Verlaine, Spin July 1987


With my records, it's just a matter of trying to create something fresh for myself in a very finite context, which is the pop song. I don't know anything about the people who buy my records, and what, if anything, they get out of them.
Tom Verlaine, Spin July 1987


(on getting arrested for speeding without a license)
They couldn't believe someone could be so stupid. The judge asked what I did for a living. I said, "Well, I write songs." He said, "Well, I guess you got a new song here, don't you?"
Tom Verlaine, Music Magazine 1987


When I think of 'influence', I think of 'influenza', like somebody's picked up a germ.
Tom Verlaine, New York Magazine August 1987


I'll tell you what I think of Tom Verlaine. I think he's scared of succeeding. It's much easier to never attempt to make a commercial record and never attempt to be successful. It's so easy to sit back and say, "No man, it's my art. It's critical okay." That way you can never be judged and told that you're a failure. If you've never tried, how can you fail?
Dave Bates, A&R man at Phonagram/Fontana


I always thought I was commercial. I always thought I was writing hit singles. These days, whatever's on the radio is considered commercial. People like what's on the radio, whatever it is.
Tom Verlaine, Melody Maker May 19 1990


A song sort of defines itself. Tom's like an editor: I might have a part, and he'll ask me to play inside-out or backward, or move two bars behind. Same with the drum beat: Billy will be just playing, and then Tom will come up with an idea, and a song falls into place. That's how it works. You'll have a part, find a sound, then the part isn't right anymore and the other part has to change.
Richard Lloyd, Billboard October 1992


(on Warm and Cool)
But it's not really a rock record. It's kind of bluesy. There's also something Fifties about it, and something -not in terms of sound but concept - sort of Oriental, in the sense of keeping it incredibly simple and leaving lots of space.
Tom Verlaine, Stereo Review July 1992


The whole reputation of being a rock guitar player, I could really care less about it. Still, when I hear new groups today I do occasionally hear something where I think... ahh, I've heard that lick before.
Tom Verlaine, Stereo Review July 1992


We're not really together, as you can see, just want to break the world record for longest time in between albums.
Tom Verlaine, Billboard October 1992


We haven't changed, the time between the songs is longer than the songs.
Tom Verlaine, on-stage comment 1992


I can't remember ever being really bored. I find life very interesting, actually. I think some other musicians are always looking for something to give them an idea, but I find I have to reject 90 percent of my ideas because they don't live up to some self-imposed standard. That's also why I don't make a record once a year. I throw so many things out, and I have to have something to say.
Tom Verlaine, New York Times December 1984


The guitar is like a cuisine and you can't expect people to eat the same thing all the time.
Richard Lloyd, Guitar Player May 2001


I write a lot of more instrumental music than I do vocal music. It's because I come out of a background of playing piano and then playing sax for a number of years. I kind of got into rock backwards. A lot of guys go into rock and then get sick of it and then go into something else. I came the other way, so I've always just had a lot more stuff lying around.
Tom Verlaine, Boston Phoenix February 2001


To me, the coolest riffs are composed of two guitar parts that interlock like gears. You need both parts to make whole. I work things out on an electric that's not plugged in to make sure a good tone isn't forgiving a part that couldn't stand up naked. Only after the parts are written will I struggle to find a tone that supports the creativity.
Richard Lloyd, Guitar Player May 2001


Boogie! I hate boogie, God, I mean, not the Chicago boogie like Willie Dixon or Howlin' Wolf, but all those awful white bands…
Tom Verlaine, Musician, Player and Listener, November 1979


Well, I worked in a sheet metal factory once and scarred my wrist from the cuts. I found a sympathetic psychiatrist who told the draft board I was insane. We used the scars as proof of a suicide attempt.
Tom Verlaine, Rolling Stone, April 21, 1977


I told somebody in Europe I was 43. I never tell my true age. It's ridiculous that people ask. The press doesn't deserve anything but lies.
Tom Verlaine, Music Magazine 1987


I don’t think Marquee Moon was so good, y’know? Just another record. First records everybody likes a lot.
Tom Verlaine, Sounds, 1981