Saturday, July 25, 2015

40 Year Itch : Just Scratching the Surface

Television :  Little Johnny Jewel (live)

   On July 24, 1975 New York City's Television performed their first out of town gig, an oft bootlegged show at The Piccadilly Inn in Cleveland. It had been four months since bassist Richard Hell had departed the band. That leaping madman was replaced with Fred "Sonic" Smith, who gave the band a solid grounding for their twin guitar sonic explorations. Among the songs performed that night was "Little Johnny Jewel", which Tom Verlaine would select as the band's first single. Like Patti Smith's first single, "Hey Joe"/Piss Factory", it's more of a calling card than a shot at Top 40 radio.  Guitarist Richard Lloyd thought it was an awful choice even as a calling card and nearly quit over the decision.

  At the time I said "If that comes out, I'm going. Forget it." So I left, and laid around.


  For three days Rocket From the Tombs guitarist Peter Laughner, whom the band met at the Cleveland gig, rehearsed with Television. Then Lloyd had a change of heart and rejoined the band. Disappointed, Laughner went back home to Cleveland where he became a member of another influential band, Pere Ubu.

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