follow us in feedly
Ork Records: When New York lost its mind and changed rock and roll forever
11.02.2015
10:19 am

Topics:
Movies
Music
Punk

Tags:
Television
Terry Ork
Ork Boxset


 
Ork Records captured a moment in time when rock and roll tossed off its restraints and went impossibly mad. A gloriously weird era when a generation of fearless young fuckers wandered into New York City, trading suburban Formica and the “hissing of the summer lawns” for rat-infested drywall, clanging water pipes and the low-pitched drone of junkies muttering dead prayers in dark alleys . Walking south of 14th Street toward the Bowery instantaneously transformed the sunniest complexion into a mugshot pallor followed by a sudden explosion of electroshocked hair twitching on your scalp like an epileptic porcupine. Time lapsed as your body grew a pair of black jeans with 13-inch pegs and dirty Converse sneakers erupted on your feet like canvas blisters.

Boys from Baltimore took on French names and smoked like Belmondo. Girls from Pittsburgh wore black and white striped t-shirts and were Sebergian in their breathlessness. We started bands and slouched around in our own imaginary Godard films. The rest of the world may have been in color but for us everything was grainy black and white. We were role players. And we had the names for it: Richard Hell, Tom Verlaine, Jane Fire, Link Cromwell. “The Blank Generation” wasn’t just a song, it was a pose, an attitude. It was 1975 and the lofts of downtown Manhattan contained the syllabic languor that echoed scenes from Jean Eustache’s The Mother And The Whore. The talk was angst-ridden. Bodies slumped against decrepit refrigerators while the perpetually nervous vomited in sinks stained with cockroach shit and Listerine.The sun outside wasn’t yellow. It was jaundiced and it came in listless spurts julienned by sagging venetian blinds.
 

 

“Something’s not in orbit in the capital of this Galaxy.”—Lemmy Caution in Godard’s Alphaville.

Paris had the Left Bank, New York had the leftovers. The French had the Eiffel Tower, New Yorkers had something stuck on the bottom of their shoes. Same thing. It was all romantic. Even a knife wound looked vaginal in the shadows of the night. In July of 1977 the entire city blacked out, something many of us had been doing since coming to New York. Waking up in strange beds with people whose names you didn’t know and writing songs about it.

The Bowery and Lower East Side were movie sets, perfect for stories about rebellion, crime, sex, drugs and rock and roll’s dark night of the soul. So it was fitting that a guy who worked in a store that was a mecca for film fanatics, Cinemabilia, should start a record company. Terry Ork’s label was the soundtrack to the movie that Ork had playing in his head. I remember the day he handed me his label’s first release, “Little Johnny Jewel” by Television. I took it home and listened to it several times that night and I could imagine Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd’s guitars playing under scenes from Jean Pierre Melville’s Le Samouraï. Notes spiraled in glassy fugues as precise and cold as Alain Delon’s eyes.
 

 
Terry Ork was the Phil Spector of spectres. A lot of the tunes on Ork’s label seemed haunted by the edgy paranoid vibe of a city on the verge of “who knows what?”  Even the poppiest Ork releases were spastic and twitchy—the musical equivalent of restless leg syndrome. Bands like The Marbles had clearly lost theirs. The Erasers were designed to disappear. Teenage band The Student Teachers had their innocence murdered in the bathroom of CBGB. The Feelies played with the nervous energy of altar boys in a rectory. The older dudes, like Mick Farren and Lester Bangs, the ones who had been ridden hard and put up wet, found humor in the Manhattan mess. Farren brought some whiskey drenched pub rock irreverence to the mix and Bangs filled in for the absent Iggy Pop by blurting offensively hilarious shit to anyone who’d listen.
 

 
Terry tapped into the poetry of what Tom Verlaine called “life in the hive,” put it on vinyl and sent it out to an unsuspecting world. Most rock fans reacted like a nun seeing an erect penis for the first time. The number one bestselling song of 1975 was Captain and Tennille’s “Love Will Keep Us Together.” It would be another four years before Joy Division tore love apart. Ork was rock and roll’s turd in the punch bowl and he loved it. Punk was being born, rock and roll had lost its mind and music would never be the same again.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Forget that shitty ‘CBGB’ film, ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ from 1978 takes you inside the real CBGB


 
Three aspiring musicians: Richard Hell, Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd were looking for a place “where nothing was happening” for their band Television to play. If nothing was happening then the bar owner had nothing to lose. One day, down in the Bowery, Verlaine and Lloyd spotted a place initialed CBGB-OMFUG. They sidled across, went inside and talked to the owner a former singer and musician Hilly Krystal. As Lloyd recalled in Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain’s essential oral history of punk Please Kill Me, Hilly wanted to know what kinda music they played. They answered with a question:

‘Well, what does ‘CBGB-OMFUG’ stand for?’

He said, ‘Country, Bluegrass, Blues and Other Music for Uplifting Gourmandizers.’

So we said, ‘Oh yeah, we play a little of that, a little rock, a little country, a little blues, a little bluegrass…’

And Hilly said, ‘Oh, okay, maybe…’

 
01blitzramonebop.jpg
 
In fact, the only real stipulation for appearing at CBGB’s was to play new music, and although Suicide and Wayne County had already appeared at CBGB’s (after the demise of the Mercer Arts Center), it was not until Television, Patti Smith, The Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads and The Dead Boys started taking up residency that CBGB’s changed from something where nothing happened to somewhere it all happened.
 

 
If you were disappointed by the shitty CBGB’s movie made a couple of years back starring Alan Rickman, then you will get a better sense of the energy, talent and musical revolution that took place at CBGB’s in the mid-1970s with this hour-long TV documentary Blitzkrieg Bop . Focussing on The Ramones, Blondie and the The Dead Boys, Blitzkrieg Bop mixes live performance with short interview clips and a racy newscast voiceover. It’s recommended viewing.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Marquee Buffoon: Japanese fashion line features iconic images of Tom Verlaine and Television
10.29.2014
08:55 am

Topics:
Fashion
Heroes

Tags:
Television
Tom Verlaine

Undercover SS15 Spring/Summer 2015 colletion
 
I have issues with the latest line of punk-inspired clothing by designer Jun Takahashi and his label, UNDERCOVER. Many of the pieces in Takahashi’s Spring/Summer 2015 UNDERCOVER SS15 collection feature images of beloved 70s CBGB’s band, Television and artwork from two of their albums, 1977’s Marquee Moon, and 1978’s Adventure. While the clothes are clearly impeccably tailored and visually stunning to behold, I’m just not sure I really like seeing Tom Verlaine and the boys’ faces displayed in such a dramatic way on high-end clothing.

Certainly the clothes make a statement. That statement being, of course: “HERE I AM.” Who would wear these simultaneously splendid and yet terribly tacky togs? Maybe a higher class of “pickup artists” do their “peacocking” in these clothes?

When the line made its debut back in July for a small group of Takahashi’s friends and family at his showroom in Paris, Thom Yorke of Radiohead was the DJ (Takahashi designed t-shirts for Yorke’s project, Atoms for Peace in 2013 that retailed for a cool $77 dollars). UNDERCOVER’s t-shirts routinely retail for over $150 dollars, so start there and work your way up if you’re interested in sporting any of Takahashi’s Television inspired fashion creations. A new flatscreen would be cheaper.
 
Undercover SS15 collection Marquee Moon
 
Undercover SS15 Spring/Summer 2015 Marquee Moon
 
Undercover SS15 Spring/Summer 2015 Marquee Moon
 
Undercover SS15 Spring/Summer Marquee Moon
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Happy birthday Tom Verlaine of Television!
12.13.2013
02:53 pm

Topics:
Music
Punk
Television

Tags:
Television
Tom Verlaine


 
Tom Verlaine, the incalculably influential guitarist for the seminal punk band Television, turns 64 today. Born Thomas Miller on December 13, 1949, Verlaine nicked his nom-de-rock from a French Symbolist poet before he formed Television with bassist Richard Hell (later replaced by Fred Smith), drummer Billy Ficca and co-guitarist Richard Lloyd. Verlaine and Lloyd pioneered a tense and atypical style of interwoven guitar improvisations that discarded much of the rock rulebook - indeed, in a movement as obsessed with back-to-basics simplicity as punk, it’s amazing that a band as unabashedly committed to really, really long guitar solos as Television was embraced at all, let alone revered. The band released two indispensable albums, Marquee Moon and Adventure. I don’t imagine DM has too many readers who aren’t at least glancingly familiar with these albums, but just in case, feel free to listen to Marquee Moon in its entirety here. I’m pretty sure that with just one attentive listen, you’ll see what all the fuss is about.
 

Television, Marquee Moon, full album
 
Television called it quits in 1978, though there was a seemingly requisite reunion album in the early ‘90s, and occasional reunion concerts continue, even as recently as a couple of weeks ago - see below. Verlaine embarked on a sporadically edifying solo career shortly after Television’s demise, and his last two albums were Around and Songs & Other Things, both released by Thrill Jockey in 2006.

For a side of Verlaine that’s hard to hear in Television, check out this 120 Minutes interview from 1990, followed by a pair of lovely acoustic performances.
 

 
More Tom Verlaine (and Television, too) after the jump

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Punk roots: Television, with Richard Hell, rehearsing in downtown NYC, 1974
03.07.2013
01:56 pm

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Television
Terry Ork

image
 
Here’s some cool footage of an early incarnation of Television, with Richard Hell, rehearsing at Terry Ork’s loft in 1974.

Terry Ork’s loft was a safe house for unsafe music. With money he made working at my favorite store devoted to the movies, the long gone Cinemabilia, Ork funded one of the few really great DIY labels to come out of New York City, Ork Records. Releasing 45rpm records by Television, Alex Chilton, Mick Farren, The Feelies and The Marbles, among others, Ork had a great feel for what made Manhattan’s downtown music scene special.

I would go to Cinemabilia to thumb through the movie books, magazines and posters. I really loved the place and I grew to really like Ork. We’d shoot the shit on film. I knew him as, a film geek. Although I was a musician, with a decidedly punk outlook, I had no idea that Terry had an indie label until one day when I was in Cinemabilia he handed me a record with the Ork label on it. The record was a single by Television called “Little Johnny Jewel” and it occupied both sides of the seven inch vinyl. My already high esteem for Mr. Ork escalated into the stratosphere.

Update 3/8: longer, better.

Billy Ficca: drums    Richard Hell: bass    Richard Lloyd: guitar   Tom Verlaine: guitar
 

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Divine & Holly Woodlawn discuss ‘The Neon Woman’, 1979

image
 
Here’s something to make up for that Divine interview on The Tube I posted on Monday - a whole thirty minutes of Genn Harris Milstead discussing Divine’s role in the 1979 theater production of The Neon Woman.

The interview is hosted by TV personality Tom Snyder, and also on hand are The Neon Woman‘s director Ron Link and Divine’s co-star (and another stone cold legend of drag/gender-bending and Warhol’s Factory scene) Holly Woodlawn.

There’s still a bit of a naff “wtf?” tone to Snyder’s questioning, but it’s nowhere near as bad as Muriel Grey’s Divine inquisition on The Tube. In fact, Snyder does a decent enough job of eventually getting past his own preconceptions and treating Divine and Woodlawn not as freaks, but as human beings with something interesting and intelligent to say.

This interview was taped for NBC’s Tomorrow show in 1979, and appears on YouTube in three parts. The quality isn’t immaculate, but it’s not terrible either, and it’s just a joy to see these people in the same room together hanging out and shooting the shit:

Divine and Holly Woodlawn on Tomorrow, 1979, part one:
 

 
After the jump, parts two and three…
 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
 
Divine in highlights form ‘The Neon Woman’ from 1978
 
Awkward interview with Divine on ‘The Tube’, 1983
 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Awkward interview with Divine on ‘The Tube’, 1983

image
Glenn Harris Milstead, aka Divine
 
Or to be more precise, here’s a very awkward interview with an out-of-drag Glenn Harris Milstead on the British music television show The Tube, from 1983, which is followed by an excellent performance by Divine of her club hit “Shake It Up.”

While it’s understandable that straight-laced, square TV presenters might not know what to make of Divine (whose very raison d’être was to make people laugh by overturning preconceptions of gender and beauty), you would expect the producers of a supposedly hip, youth-oriented TV show like The Tube to be a bit more switched on.

Instead we get an interview by the bumbling Muriel Grey in which she suggests that Divine is insecure, repulsive, and somehow an affront to women. The hapless Grey comes across as the dullest of squares in this clip, which I guess is a danger to be considered when you go up against a glamor icon like Divine, but unfortunately Grey has previous form in conducting cringe-worthy interviews.

Thankfully, Milstead takes it all in his rather large stride, and reacts with the grace befitting a true star:
 

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Must see TV: Timothy Leary, Billy Idol, The Ramones and Television

image
 
While no one will mistake this for a historic meeting of the minds, it does have its odd charm. The Marshall McLuhan of punk Billy Idol chats with Timothy Leary about rock n’ roll, cyberspace and computers. “Pretty deep,” Joey Ramone observes while Television (the band) let old skool technologies like drums and guitars do the talking.

ABC In Concert, 1993.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Bringing peace to a universe near you, it’s the ‘Space Stallions’

image
 
If, like me, you were raised on a strict diet of American and Japanese cartoons as a child of the 80s, then you are in for a treat with Space Stallions, which comes across as THE best kids show that never existed. And that’s just on the strength of the intro sequence.

An homage to likes of Ulysses 31, ThunderCats and Bravestarr, Space Stallions was created by The Animation Workshop, and what a great job they did too. We’re particularly tickled by the sword-cum-keytar, and the convoluted plot dynamics that would only make sense to a sugar-rushing 8-year-old:
 

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Television rehearsing in Terry Ork’s loft in 1974
02.29.2012
03:57 am

Topics:
Art
Music
Punk

Tags:
Television
Terry Ork

image
 
Terry Ork in his punk rock bunker. Unlike most record execs, Terry was content with a cheap 14th street stereo system. The kind the people who bought his label’s records could afford.
 
Terry Ork’s loft was a safe house for unsafe music. With money he made working at my favorite store devoted to the movies, the long gone Cinemabilia, Ork funded one of the few really great DIY labels to come out of New York City, Ork Records. Releasing 45rpm records by Television, Alex Chilton, Mick Farren, The Feelies and The Marbles, among others, Ork had a great feel for what made Manhattan’s downtown music scene special.

I would go to Cinemabilia to thumb through the movie books, magazines and posters. I really loved the place and I grew to really like Terry Ork. We’d shoot the shit on film and that’s what I knew him as, a film geek. Although I was a musician with a decidedly punk outlook, I had no idea that Terry had an indie label until one day when I was in Cinemabilia he handed me a record with the Ork label on it. The record was a single by Television called “Little Johnny Jewel” and it occupied both sides of the seven inch vinyl. My already high esteem for Mr. Ork escalated into the stratosphere.

Television 1974:
 

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
A riot of their own: Fear blow up late night TV

image
 
John Belushi left Saturday Night Live in 1979 but agreed to appear on the show on Halloween of 1981 if one of his favorite bands, Fear, was hired as the musical guest. SNL, which was in a ratings slump, didn’t hesitate to agree to Belushi’s terms. Fear got the gig.

In order to create some excitement during Fear’s upcoming performance, Belushi contacted Ian Mackaye, who was fronting Washington D.C.‘s Minor Threat at the time.

“This is John Belushi. I’m a big fan of Fear’s. I made a deal with Saturday Night Live that I would make a cameo appearance on the show if they’d let Fear play. I got your number from Penelope Spheeris, who did Decline of Western Civilization and she said that you guys, Washington DC punk rock kids, know how to dance. I want to get you guys to come up to the show.”

Mackaye agreed to pull together some of his friends to go to New York. Little did he know that he would be in the center of one of television’s great rock and roll moments.

In an interview with Nardwuar, Mackaye describes what happened:

It was worked out that we could all arrive at the Rockefeller Center where Saturday Night Live was being filmed. The password to get in was “Ian MacKaye.” We went up the day before. The Misfits played with The Necros at the Ukrainian hall, I think, so all of the Detroit people were there, like Tesco Vee and Cory Rusk from the Necros and all the Touch and Go people and a bunch of DC people – 15 to 20 of us came up from DC. Henry (Rollins) was gone. He was living in LA at this point. So we went to the show. During the dress rehearsal, a camera got knocked over. We were dancing and they were very angry with us and said that they were going to not let us do it then Belushi really put his foot down and insisted on it. So, during the actual set itself, they let us come out again.

During the show – before they go to commercial, they always go to this jack-o-lantern. This carved pumpkin. If you watched it during the song, you’ll see one of our guys, this guy named Bill MacKenzie, coming out holding the pumpkin above his head because he’s just getting ready to smash it. And that’s when they cut it off. They kicked us out and locked us out for two hours. We were locked in a room because they were so angry with us about the behavior. I didn’t think it was that big of deal.

They said they were going to sue us and have us arrested for damages. There was so much hype about that. The New York Post reported half a million dollars worth of damages. It was nothing. It was a plastic clip that got broken. It was a very interesting experience and I realized how completely unnatural it is for a band to be on a television show – particularly a punk band – that kind of has a momentum to suddenly be expected to immediately jump into a song in that type of setting. It was very weird. Largely unpleasant. Made me realize that’s not something I’m interested in doing.”

Belushi was also among the moshers.

Fear’s SNL debut cost them future gigs with the show, clubs wouldn’t book them, and reputedly an offer from Belushi for the band to do the soundtrack of his next movie Neighbors was rescinded by the studio producing the film after Belushi’s death. All for the love of rock and roll.

“It’s great to be here in New Jersey!”
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
A girl’s best friend is her guitar: L7 on Letterman

image
 
One of the best bands of the whole “grunge” era, here’s L7 rocking the fuck out of Letterman (and his band) in 1992 with their stone cold classic “Pretend We’re Dead”. For no other reason than it’s very cool and they look like they’re having a blast:
 

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Television on MTV Brazil
09.20.2011
11:23 pm

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Television
MTV Brazil


 
Interviews with Television are few and far between. Here’s one which aired a few months ago on MTV Brazil

There’s an amusing bit where a visibly pissed-off Tom Verlaine responds to a clip in which a member of Gang Of Four condescendingly describes CBGB and the Seventies New York City rock scene.

The guy doing the interviewing is Chuck Hipolitho of Brazilian punk band Forgotten Boys. He’s clearly thrilled to be in the presence of musicians he obviously loves but the band is about as warm and fuzzy as a school of Coney Island white fish floating down the East River during the dead of winter. Comeon guys, give the kid some love.

Tom Verlaine, Billy Ficca, Jimmy Rip and Fred Smith together again. When’s the tour?

Paging Richard Lloyd.
 

 
Part two after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
American TV news segment on punk rock 1979
09.15.2011
03:53 pm

Topics:
Music
Punk
Television

Tags:
Television
Punk
2020
New wave


 
This piece on new wave and punk rock appeared on TV show 20/20 in 1979. It’s actually pretty level-headed and contains some nice vintage footage of Talking Heads, Blondie, The Clash and more.

The clip cuts off mid-way through a short piece on Klaus Nomi. You can see the rest after the jump.
 

 
Klaus continued after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Backstage footage of the Rolling Stones: Hampton Coliseum, VA, 1981

image
 
Video filmed backstage at a Rolling Stones concert, from the Hampton Coliseum, Virginia, in 1981.

Alway wanted to know about the backstage antics???
Here’s your chance to be with the Stones before they go on stage.
I guess the routine of touring has gotten to the point of ...well this!
Warming the crowd before they go on is George Thorogood & the Destroyers, on stage in the background.

Your Backstage pass says “ALL ACCESS”.
Please follow through this door and onto your left!

Taken from the December 18 performance, this was broadcast as The World’s Greatest Rock’n’Roll Party on pay-per-view and in closed circuit cinemas - the first use of pay-per-view for a music event.

It’s interesting footage, inasmuch as it belies the backstage tales of excess most associated with the “World’s Greatest Rock’n’Roll” band.
 

 
With thanks to Vince Giracello
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Page 1 of 4  1 2 3 >  Last ›