« Manic compression | Main | Television @ Central Park Summerstage - 16 June 2007 »

15 June 2007


Amanda Marcotte

What I love about Television is they are solid evidence that punk was more an attitude towards music than a specific sound. Now people tend to describe something as "punk" if it has a very specific pop punk sound to it. Which I like---you probably don't so much---but leaves out the entire wave of experimentation that came in the wake of punk rock.


Amanda, you are -- as usual -- totally on point. The early New York punk bands were actually an incredibly diverse bunch. I mean, musically, what the hell do Television, Patti Smith, Blondie, the Ramones, the New York Dolls, the Voidoids, and Talking Heads have in common, other than they all happened to be on the same scene at the same time? Even the occasionally overlapping personnel (Richard Hell, etc.) didn't seem to create much in the way of musical commonality.

You're also right that after the 1970's, what people meant by "punk" narrowed to a kind of aggressively stripped-down hardcore post-Ramones sound, and the more pointy-headed CB's bands like Television and Talking Heads don't really sound very "punk" by today's standards.

But you know where my loyalties lie...


Marquee Moon was definitely a huge album for my own personal music listening habits. I always wondered if their sense of layering and dropping parts in and out owed anything to dub and reggae, since lots of other bands around that time were absorbing similar influences. It's true that Lloyd had an incredible sense of arc and trajectory in his guitar solos. Many of them are sublime, epic even. I discovered them after I had already pillaged the Talking Heads' catalog, and I found their sound to be an interesting and integral puzzle piece in understanding that whole scene.

Enjoy the show Darcy!

Maggie Osterberg

I'm jealous as all hell of anyone who gets to go to the show. Television is probably my single biggest influence when it comes to thinking about and playing guitar. Alas, I've had to make do with records and YouTube.

It was a sad day when punk got co-opted into a fashion statement (both visual and musical) and its form ossified into the three-chord shouter we all know. But my oh my, what delights those glorious days of novelty, delight and TV Parties have left us. Hell, even Robert Fripp was part of the scene, along with his oft-hidden sense of humor.

Thanks for the fantastic post, Darcy. It warmed this fan's heart from halfway across the continent.


My understanding is that that early scene was cligue-y in the extreme, so it’s inevitable that there would be a lot of turf-protection, involving new nomenclature etc., as its influence spread and the number of performers increased, as certain styles asttained commercial success and others didn’t, and as performers continued to break whatever rules were instituted. But there was never really any decrease in the diversity of the music itself, whatever people chose to call it.


Um... Television made three records, not two. The third one is just called "Television" and it came out in '92. Worth checking out. The opening tune from the Summerstage show ("1880 or so") is from this record.


Um... Television made three records, not two.

Yes I know, which is why I said "Television only released two records back in the day" -- "the day" in this case being "the golden age of CB's". The band's reputation rests on those two 1970's recordings, Adventure and (especially) Marquee Moon.

The self-titled '92 reunion record is interesting, but it pretty clearly belongs in a different category than the albums they made before they broke up for the first time at the end of the 1970's. It's kind of like The Godfather Part I and II vs. The Godfather Part III. That comparison is a bit unfair to the third Television record, which is not a complete embarrassment like GIII, but you get the idea.

The comments to this entry are closed.