Music: Television

Left to right: Fred Smith, Tom Verlaine, Richard Lloyd and Billy Ficca.

Television were a cult Punk Rock/New Wave band from the USA, active between 1973-1978, 1992-1993 and since 2001. Its core lineup includes guitarist/vocalist Tom Verlaine, guitarist/vocalist Richard Lloyd, bassist/vocalist Fred Smith and drummer Billy Ficca. Early on, their line-up also included guitarist Richard Hell, who would go on to front the Voidoids, another influential punk group.

The band were famous for being more technically proficient than the punk scene they were associated with, with their Signature Style involving complex, interlocking guitars (influenced by Velvet Underground, Love and Buffalo Springfield) and extended Improvs and jamming.

Discography:

Tropes:

  • Album Title Drop: "Marquee Moon".
  • City Noir: The setting of most of Verlaine's lyrics. "Broadway looks so medieval", to quote "Venus."
  • Epic Rocking: "Marquee Moon", "Torn Curtain", "The Fire", "The Dream's Dream", "Little Johnny Jewel".
  • Meaningful Name/Red Oni, Blue Oni: According to one story, youngsters Thomas Miller and Richard Meyers ran away from a boarding school and set fire to a field. When questioned by the cops, Miller (who would later rename himself Verlaine after the 19th century French poet) said he just wanted to feel warm; Meyers (who would later rename himself Hell) said he just wanted to see it burn.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Lower than usual for a Punk Rock band, as befits their unusual sound (for the genre, at least)- Television's work ranges from a 2 ("Guiding Light", "Days") up to about a 5 on a few rare occasions ("Foxhole" is a good example, powered as it is by a Stones-y groove). Most of their work is in the 3-4 range, though.
  • Non-Indicative Name: They were a band, having nothing to do with TV at all.
  • Perishing Alt Rock Voice: Verlaine.
  • Re Cut: On the original LP release of Marquee Moon, the title track, right in the middle of the album, had to be significantly edited to fit on the disc. For the CD re-release, the song was restored to its full length.
  • Self-Titled Album: Their 1992 reunion album.
  • Shout-Out: The "F-R-I-C-T-I-O-N" in "Friction" is a Shout-Out to Them's "Gloria." Verlaine dated Patti Smith, who did a famous cover of the song.
  • Title Drop:
    • Every song on Marquee Moon drops their title at some point.
    • Verlaine stealth-drops the band's name in at least two songs - "Elevation" ("'Elevision, don't go to my head") and "Little Johnny Jewel" ("He just had to tell-a-vision")
  • Trope Codifier: Along with The Velvet Underground, for many an Alternative Rock band. Similarly, Richard Hell often counts as the Trope Codifier for Punk Rock.
  • Unbuilt Trope: For a band that's considered one of the very first punk bands, they don't sound very punky at all with the complex songs full of jams. If they had more keyboards, they probably would have been classified as a Progressive Rock band.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell were this for a long time...
    • We Used to Be Friends: ...until their personal and professional relationship fell apart. Factors included Verlaine gradually taking creative control of the band and Hell's heroin use.