TELEVISION – ORKS LOFT (1974) Excerpts


Ork lot rehearsals from 1974. Television emerging from whatever it was that shaped the way they made music and launching themselves into the unknown. It’s a very voyeuristic act to view these recordings. A guilty pleasure. We weren’t meant to watch them, so it would be unfair to comment negatively on the performance quality but it is obvious that Richard Hell had much further to go as a musician than the others. But I guess that wasn’t the point. When you look at the photos, you would think this was Hell’s band; when you hear the music, you know it’s not. There are several things in these recordings that are well worth hearing. It’s the sound of people inventing a style, a new musical vocabulary. Frantic scrubbing guitar scrapes and flurries, reaching for ways to say things that, maybe, haven’t been said before, or hadn’t been said in a way that was powerful enough, or plain enough. The beginnings of Tom Verlaine’s desire to twist the noise of the electric guitar into new shapes. “We don’t have to do that, we can do… this!” Here’s the look and the sound that would influence more people than will probably ever admit it. The exciting noise that runs through these recordings would soon turn up, for example, in the U.K. I’d bet that the fledgling Talking Heads were also standing close by around this time, taking notes. You can listen as Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd learn how to play guitar together, and that means together in the kinship sense of the word. You get the sound of a band doing things on their own terms and either you like it or you don’t. Though a little rough; no home should be without these tapes. “l was living downtown in Chinatown with this guy, Terry Ork, who worked for Andy Warhol… I had been playing guitar for a number of years. I never played with anybody. I wasn’t the kind of guy who ran around playing with everyone on the planet. So, one day Teny says, “l know another guy who does what you do” and I said, “What do I do?” He said, “Well, you play guitar.” So I went down to see Verlaine play. So Tom played these three songs. Instantly, watching this fellow, I just knew something was going to happen. Richard Hell was his manager, and we convinced him to learn the bass. In came Ficca, who had been a drummer in some blues band from Chicago. Terry offered us rehearsal space in his loft, and even offered to buy us the necessary equipment. It was an offer Tom couldn’t refuse. So we started the group. We called ourselves Goo Goo for three weeks, then we all went our separate ways to find a name. Richard Hell came up with Television. Tom liked it because TV was his initials. We were more like the Sex Pistols back then, in a way…” – Richard Lloyd