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25 Albums – Turn on that Television #13

With the sudden flow of interest in the New York punk rock scene, record companies seemed to be forming overnight to sign new bands. Hoping for some airplay on the radio and the possibility of building a fan base, albums by bands like The Dead Boys, Talking Heads, The Shirts, Richard Hell & The Void Oids were being released almost daily. I bought them all because I was hooked on this new sound. Every album by these bands offered something new and exciting.

The suburban rock fans absolutely hated the whole punk scene. It was like poison to them. They not only hated it, they wanted to kill every artist and hated everyone who listened to it,  or so it seemed. It was impossible to turn anyone into a fan. you either got it or you didn’t. Mad Jim stayed away from it. He never caught the bug.

Punk concerts were a danger. Many of these new bands would try to open for the mainstream rock bands, only to get booed and have bottles thrown at them. They had a home in a place in the Bowery called CBGB. A dingy little bar on the lower east side of Manhattan. It was a piss stained, sticky floored, smelly disgusting place that felt like a fire hazard. Wonderful. The other venue that welcomed the punks was Max’s Kansas City. An upscale version of CBGB but just as grungy, in a good way.

Nipo and the gang of punks at Record Stop were as puzzled as I was as to why this wasn’t catching on.

Another Thursday night and Nipo is excited, once again, about a new NYC band that have been around the scene since it’s inception and finally released their first album. The band was Television. The album was  “Marquee Moon”

This album was so good it had to break the scene wide open. Or so we were convinced. It had guitar solos, technique and long songs. Something that was clearly missing in just about every punk release. It had to be the bridge that would bring NY punk to the masses, right?

Nope. It failed, just like all the others. To this day I don’t know why.

Nowadays, Television are considered visionaries. Bands like The Strokes hail them as their biggest influence.

Tom Verlaine’s vocals and strange lyrics were the center of the band. Verlaine and Richard Lloyd shared the guitar work that was so unusual compared to the typical guitarists of the era. It had a street feel and a raw energy that hadn’t been explored. Television had a certain sound that the other bands lacked. The only one that came close was Patti Smith, who I plan on discussing at length later.

The Ramones and The Dead Boys were the dumb side of punk (on purpose), but Television, Talking Heads and Patti Smith supplied the sophisticated side. Smart, poetic, with an artistry that expanded the horizons of the whole movement.

“Marquee Moon” is an amazing album and should be in every rock fan’s collection. It’s interesting, musically innovative and one of the finest albums to come out in the 70’s.  They followed it up with a mediocre album called “Adventure” and sadly broke up shortly after.

Tom Verlaine came out with some solo albums but none matched that triumphant debut.

Television – Marquee Moon


About Stevie GB

60 year old stand up comedian from Long Island. My approach to comedy is telling the truth about being married, middle aged and living in the suburbs. I enjoy making people laugh without making them feel uncomfortable. My act is clean and clever. Featured in Newsday and on News12. Winner of the Huntington Arts Council Laff-off, 2006. 3rd place winner of LI Press Best of LI 2011, A regular on The Long Island Comedy Festival for 9 consecutive years. Opened for Dennis Miller, Louie Anderson, Kevin Pollak, Bobby Collins, Bob Nelson, Uncle Floyd, Kevin Meaney, and many more.

6 responses to “25 Albums – Turn on that Television #13

  1. Stevie GB

    Reblogged this on Suffocating In Suburbia and commented:

    Add your thoughts here… (optional)

  2. Gerard ⋅

    Sounds good, though indeed not like mainstream punk. The Stranglers were like that in the U.K. i’ll catch up with the next entries after i am back from the Kinks Konvention in London.

  3. Stevie GB

    Gerard..I appreciate all of your comments on my blog. Thank you so much for following. The Stranglers are coming up very soon. I enjoyed them as well.

  4. rocknrollnick ⋅

    Television seems to be the inspiration for every band of the almost revolutionary garage rock movement of the late 90s, you can’t hear something like the guitar solo in The White Stripes- Icky Thump or in the style of any song by The Strokes, ahead of their time

  5. Jim "Nipo" Antonucci ⋅

    The entire punk era was an amazing time. I can remember my first time at CBGB’s, there was a hand full of people and a pool table in front of the stage. to get to the bathroom you had to walk round the pool table to the back. The beer was cold but we worried about the French fries. I knew that I seeing something new and different and at the time it didn’t have a name yet. I really can’t remember the year but I think it was 1974. Being a N.Y. Dolls fan I had gone to see Johnny Thunders new band The Heartbreakers that I know was 1975. Richard Hell was in the band. I would rather go to Max’s Kansas City over CBGB’s for two reasons one, Max’s was cleaner and two the early days of CBGB’s scared me! The bowery was not a great place at the time and the early days of the club you could not just hail a cab outside. you would have to walk a few blocks for that. There were not a lot of people around at that time of night or going to the club at that time. By the end of 1975 the club was becoming known and more people were milling about, making it a little safer to go to. A band called Tuff Darts became one of my fave bands fronted by Robert Gordon at the time. By the time an album came out Robert left the band and the band lost their spark. Another band that I like was Milk & Cookies, they had a great pop sense and were fun. They did make an album the was released in the U.K. but was a bit disappointing, but retains some of charm of the band. I love this Blog, Steve, please keep it up. The memories keep popping into my head!

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