“We’re like blues from another planet… like rock music for aliens,” Richard Lloyd once said of his groundbreaking New York City art-rock group, Television.
“Ahmet Ertegun didn’t want to sign us to Atlantic Records because he claimed we didn’t play ‘Earth Music.’ I think he was right.”
The key to Television’s otherworldly approach was the electric guitar interplay between Lloyd and Tom Verlaine.
Lloyd called their relationship as guitarists “telepathic,” and indeed there is a conversation, if not an elaborate dance, taking place in their best work together: Lloyd’s trenchant, Hendrix-inspired serpentine solos, performed on his ’61 Fender Stratocaster, and Verlaine’s slower, blues-inflected lead work, onto which he applied his 1958 Fender Jazzmaster’s tremolo.
They met in the early 1970s while playing in Greenwich Village clubs. “I saw Tom play and I thought, He’s got it. And I knew I had it,” Lloyd said.
“But I was missing something, and so was he. What he was missing, I could supply. And vice versa.”
And so they did. Marquee Moon, Television’s groundbreaking 1977 debut, is stunning both for its songwriting and their guitar interplay.
“All the filigrees and arabesques on Marquee Moon are all mine,” says Lloyd, while Verlaine works more slowly and traditionally, building speed and harmonic interest as he finds his way forward.
Together they carried forth the notion of art-rock that fostered punk and, ultimately, the alt-rock movement that followed from it.
Buy Marquee Moon here (opens in new tab).
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