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Happy birthday Tom Verlaine of Television!
12.13.2013
11:53 am

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
10:56 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Television
Terry Ork


 
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


 
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


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


 
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’


 
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
12:57 am

Topics:
Art
Music
Punk

Tags:
Television
Terry Ork


 
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


 
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


 
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
08:23 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
12:53 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
Debbie Harry: Late on a Saturday Night, 1981
08.05.2011
04:04 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Pop Culture
Television
Debbie Harry
Rap

image
 
Highlights of Debbie Harry hosting a certain late Saturday night show from 1981. The clip includes what is now believed to be the first appearance of a rap act on national US TV - the Funky Four Plus One More.

The Videodrome Discothèque is pleased to present these excerpts from the rarely seen 10th episode of the ill-fated 6th season of a certain rather popular late-night weekend entertainment program.

Fronting a marvelous one-off band, Ms. Harry offers up fabulous versions of both “Love T.K.O” (made famous by Teddy Pendergrass) AND Devo’s “Come Back, Jonee”. Chris Stein plays on both, with Clem Burke joining in for “Come Back, Jonee”.

Also included: a sketch featuring Debbie & Joe Piscopo, as well as the performance of Debbie’s special guests, The Funky Four + 1 More.

 

 
Via The Videodrome Vault
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Superb documentary series: ‘Reggae - The History of Jamaican Music’

image
 
If you love Reggae, if you love music, then you’ll love this excellent 3-part documentary - Reggae: The Story of Jamaican Music. Originally shown on the BBC in 2002, parts of this documentary have been on YouTube over the years, but now some kind soul has uploaded the whole series for our delight. How wonderful. Enjoy.
 

 
Parts 2 & 3, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Nelson Sullivan films Quentin Crisp at the Flaunt It Club, 1988

image
 
Nelson Sullivan was a highly talented and prolific videographer, who documented New York’s art, club and youth scene of the 1980s. His filming style was fluid, raw and breathless, with jump-cuts and in-camera editing, all fabulously complimented the city’s dynamism, as it focussed on luminaries Keith Haring, Michael Alig, John Sex and RuPaul.

Just as he was about to produce his own cable TV show, Sullivan died of a heart attack in 1989. It was a sad demise to such a genuine talent

Back in December 1988, Sullivan filmed Quentin Crisp at the Flaunt It Club.

The Flaunt It Club was another brilliant publicity stunt created by Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey to promote their disco act The Fabulous Pop Tarts. It was was presented every Sunday night at LImelight NYC and gave other aspiring performers the chance to appear alongside established personalities in a talk show format broadcast, broadcast later that week on Manhattan public access television. Quentin Crisp was the celebrity guest this night, and the event was documented on video by Nelson Sullivan. Robert Coddington edited this from Nelson’s original videotape.

The brilliant Fenton Bailey once pitched a documentary on Nelson, where he described “Nelson’s epic canvas of Downtown” as an:

“...anthropological documentary that takes us beneath the fashionable surface and shows us the reality.

The reality is that Downtown is a tribe, a loose-knit collection of cultural refugees socially bonded by their rather anti-social ambition to make it. Although not an apple-pie Main Street nuclear family, it is an extended family much like a chorus line. Indeed Nelson’s work shows us, in addition to the glorious highs when the show goes on, the individual lows when its all over, the lonely moments of vulnerability. He was able to do this because most of those he filmed were his friends who trusted him, and who - given that Nelson’s camera went wherever he went and was for at least ten years as natural an extension of his body as his arms or legs - simply forgot that the camera was there.

And so the most captivating and poignant part of Nelson’s work is not the famous who have emerged from Downtown, but the people who are left behind and who strive in vain for the limelight. One of them himself, Nelson filmed the wannabees, the never-will-bees and the has-beens. While he captured the glorious orgy of self-invention of those seeking fame and fortune, he also captured the price it often exacted, the despair and self-destruction that followed repeated frustration and failure.

This is Sullivan’s film of Quentin Crisp at the Flaunt It Club, which reveals a delightfully at ease Mr. Crisp, enjoying the company of NY’s young things.

DM’s Richard Metzger writes about Nelson Sullivan here.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Inside Quentin Crisp’s Apartment


Quentin Crisp on Gay Kiss-In


Nelson Sullivan Pioneering Chronicler of NYC Nightlife in the 1980s


 
Part 2 of Quentin Crisp at the Flaunt It Club, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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