(New York) Tom Verlaine, the guitarist and co-founder of the proto-punk band Television, who influenced many bands when he played alongside the Ramones, Patti Smith and the Talking Heads at the CBGB concert hall in Manhattan, has died. He was 73 .
Posted at 7:39pm
Mark Kennedy Associated Press
He died in New York on Saturday surrounded by close friends after a short illness, said Cara Hutchison of Lede Company, a public relations firm.
“Tom Verlaine has ventured into the afterlife that his guitar playing always hinted at. He was the greatest rock ‘n’ roll guitarist of all time and, like Hendrix, could dance from cosmic spheres to garage rock. It takes on a special grandeur,” wrote the Waterboys’ Mike Scott on Twitter.
Although television never met with much commercial success, Tom Verlaine’s imaginative and snappy playing influenced many musicians in this two-guitar band. Television released their seminal debut album, Marquee Moon—featuring the nearly 11-minute song of the same name and Elevation—in 1977 and their second, Adventure, a year later.
“Marquee Moon has become something of a holy grail of indie rock over the years. It had a clear influence on artists like Pavement, Sonic Youth, the Strokes and Jeff Buckley,” wrote Billboard magazine in 2003.
Growing tensions between Tom Verlaine and fellow guitarist Richard Lloyd led to Television disbanding after their second album, Adventure. The band reunited in 1992 for a self-titled album for Capitol Records and sporadic live performances.
“We wanted to further strip everything away from the showbiz theater of glitzy bands and away from the blues and boogie,” wrote television co-founder Richard Hell in his autobiography. “I dreamed that I was a very clean tramp.[…]We wanted to be strict and tough and torn as the world was. »
Tom Verlaine has released eight solo albums, his biggest commercial success being his second, 1981’s Dreamtime, which peaked at number 177 on the Billboard album chart. He frequently served as companion to his former lover, Patti Smith.
Online tributes included those by Susanna Hoffs and Billy Idol, who said Tom Verlaine made music that influenced the American and British punk scenes. Patti Smith shared a tribute on Instagram, posting a photo of the two together.
Born Tom Miller, he later took the surname of the 19th-century French poet Paul Verlaine after meeting Richard Hell, née Meyers, at a school in Delaware. They were tall, thin, smug kids who had dropped out of college and moved to the East Village, where they worked in bookstores and wrote poetry together.
“He was known for his edgy lyricism and sharp lyrical sides, his sly wit and his ability to shake every chord to his truest emotion,” his agent said in a statement. We will miss his vision and imagination. »