[sic] Magazine

RIP Tom Verlaine

He might not be a household name but we have lost a musical giant. Tom Verlaine was (and no disrespect to the other members) the main man in Television, a band brought to the attention of many of us when the NME raved about their debut LP, Marquee Moon. Forty odd years later it is still one of the greatest albums ever as far as many of us are concerned.

The follow-up, Adventure, was always going to struggle to match it – if anyone else had released it I would probably have been raving about it, but they had set the bar very high, ridiculously high in fact. I can still remember where I was when I discovered that they had split up later that year. In those days you found these things out via the music papers and you would often have a quick look at them in the shop before buying one. And there we were in WH Smiths in Rhyl when I saw the headline and told my Television-loving mate that they had called it a day. We probably spent the whole day talking about it. These things were important.

Whilst not a completist I bought most of Tom’s solo records, got excited when he was on The Tube circa 1987 and was pretty flabbergasted when Television reformed and finally released a third album in the early 90’s. As Mark Radcliffe said on the radio at the time, it sounded like you would have expected their third album to sound if they had released it straight after Adventure, stressing that he meant it in a good way. If you like the first two and haven’t heard this one, you really should check it out. I didn’t see Television live until 2005 when, as you can see from this photo, I watched Tom right up close. There was a lot of tuning up going on and a lot of the guitar work early on featured his cohort Richard Lloyd rather more than Tom. And then…there he was in full flight. It was almost as if he needed to warm up. There was new material on offer that night but sadly it has never seen the light of day. One gets the feeling that Tom would never ever be completely happy with anything – a man whose guitar playing was unique, angular yet emotional.

Like I said we have lost a musical giant.

RIP Tom Verlaine x