Friday, July 22, 2011

Sonic Transmission – Television, Tom Verlaine, Richard Hell – by Tim Mitchell

This band bio gives an overview of Television’s career, from the rebellious school days of Tom Miller /Verlaine & Richard Meyers/Hell (where they met as teenagers and even at one point ran away together) through the later reunions. It appears that a lot of the information is taken from previously released interviews, but it is compiled in an interesting, entertaining and informative way. Mitchell seems to have done his homework well and tells quite a tale of these true characters that essentially started the NY punk scene and “discovered” CBGBs and turned it into a punk haven.

The men began their new lives in New York as poets (having moved there from Wilmington & Lexington) before deciding to attempt to mix their art with r’n’r, as peers like Patti Smith had begun to do. While they were consciously trying to create something different, I’m certain they had no idea that they be the progenitors of a new musical movement.

Richard Hell’s solo career is given in a simple outline form, as is Verlaine’s later work. This could have been fleshed out more, but, of course, the focus of the book is Television, the band, so that is excusable.

I enjoyed this enough that I have already ordered Mitchell’s book on Jonathan Richman – There’s Something About Jonathan. Hopefully that is as good as this was is!