Tom Verlaine

Tom VerlaineThe great musician Tom Verlaine is 65 today. He was the founder of the early punk band Television. If that is the right word. Those early bands like Television and Ramones are hard to classify. But Television was an amazing band. Verlaine originally started the band with Richard Hell. But eventually Verlaine kicked Hell out of the band, supposedly for his poor musicianship and his odd behavior. I think it was actually just a personality conflict. For one thing, Hell was actually a rather good bass player. But more important, Verlaine is very laid-back on stage and Hell was spastic. It was probably for the best. Hell really needed to be a solo act, and his material didn’t fit in that well with Television.

Television didn’t stay together that long. I’m not counting how they later got back together like just about every other punk and post-punk band. They only released two albums during that period. But they are both classics: Marquee Moon and Adventure. And then, Verlaine went on to have arguably an even more successful solo career. In addition to his excellent songwriting, he is one of the great guitarists that rock has produced.

There isn’t a lot of great video of Verlaine online. There is currently the whole Marquee Moon on YouTube. But the best thing I can find is the same thing I posted last year of him solo performing in Madrid. But this is a playlist of the entire performance:

Happy birthday Tom Verlaine!

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