Tom Verlaine, Television Frontman & Guitarist, Dead At 73


Tom Verlaine, Television Frontman & Guitarist, Dead At 73

Tom Verlaine, frontman and guitarist for seminal NYC punk band Television, has died at 73.

The New York Times reported that the punk pioneer died Saturday in Manhattan. Jesse Paris Smith, daughter of Verlaine’s ex and frequent collaborator Patti Smith, told the outlet that Verlaine died “following a brief illness.”

Born Thomas Miller in Denville, New Jersey, he met Richard Meyers at a boarding school in Delaware, with the two moving to New York City and changing their names to Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell, respectively, to form the band Neon Boys along with drummer Billy Ficca.

That band didn’t last, but then reformed as Television, adding guitarist Richard Lloyd. Television quickly became the darlings of the budding NYC punk scene, gaining a following with performances at legendary clubs CBGBs and Max’s Kansas City.

Verlaine and Hell parted ways in 1975 (the latter going on to form Richard Hell and the Voivoids), and added Fred Smith on bass.

Television recorded two albums, 1977’s Marquee Moon and 1978’s Adventure before breaking up in July 1978. Neither album was a commercial success, but are now seen as sonic masterpieces that influenced numerous punk and new wave artists that followed.

In the subsequent years, Verlaine reformed Television on several occasions, with the band releasing their third album — the self-titled Television — in 1992.

Verlaine went on to a successful solo career in England, and also collaborated with various other artists, including David Bowie, Smashing Pumpkins’ James Iha and members of Sonic Youth.

Verlaine’s passing was met with numerous tributes on social media.

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