Reports: Tom Verlaine Has Died

Founder of Television, and a vastly influential guitarist...

Reports are coming in from the United States that Television founder and guitarist Tom Verlaine has died.

Multiple sources have confirmed the news, include Brooke Delarco – who has worked with the guitarist previously – and studio engineer John Kilgore, who mixed studio projects featuring the noted musician.

There is no official comment yet, but the news seems to also have been confirmed by band mate Jimmy Rip, who posted a message on IG: “Unexpected trip to NYC for the worst possible reasons…”

Tom Verlaine was born Tom Miller in New Jersey in 1949, drawn to music and poetry from an early age. Steeped in jazz he came to rock ‘n’ roll relatively late, and began immersing himself in New York’s subterranean underground as the 70s dawned.

Helping to form vital proto-punk combo The Neon Boys with friend and competitor Richard Hell, the group soon split – Tom Verlaine formed Television, while Richard Hell embarked on numerous projects under his own steam.

Joined by drummer Billy Ficca, bass player Fred Smith, and second guitarist Richard Lloyd, Television blended Beat influenced poetry with a tight-but-loose feel. Debut album ‘Marquee Moon’ became a seminal art-punk document, hugely altering how a fresh generation of guitarists would approach the instrument.

Second album ‘Adventure’ is often viewed as a lesser project, but in truth it’s every bit as riveting as ‘Marquee Moon’, boasting some of Tom Verlaine’s most inspired work. The band then splintered, although sporadic re-unions would continue into the 21st century.

A solo career followed, including such fine records as 1981’s ‘Dreamtime’. Never quite crossing over into the mainstream, Tom Verlaine would be rewarded with huge acclaim, and a lingering influence on pop culture. In talks to produce Jeff Buckley’s second album before the songwriter’s untimely death, he also produced Grammy-winning work with Patti Smith in 2000 – the two were lovers in their youth, and remained friends throughout their lives.

His last solo record was ‘Around’ in 2006. Television last toured the UK in 2013.

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