R. Hell Site Forum Message
Re: Wander... (Hell about NYC), pt. 2
|Posted by:||Roy Suggs (firstname.lastname@example.org)|
|Posted on:|| 15 Oct 1999|| |
[cont. from prev e-mail because it wouldn't all fit]
Tom Verlaine (named Tom Miller at the time; I was R. Meyers) was my best friend in high school and he came to the city a couple of years after I did. He brought his acoustic guitar with the vague idea of getting a recording contract. Meanwhile I was getting frustrated with the poets’ world. It seemed too isolated. I liked Tom’s songs, but I thought they were too quiet and he didn’t have enough desire to get through to people. Then the New York Dolls happened and it was exciting to see ballsy teenagers screaming about real life and making themselves heard even though they could barely play their instruments (well, they played great, they just weren’t the virtuosos the sappy bigtime bands of the day pretended to be). So I started prodding Tom and he said well why don’t we make a band together, it’s easy to play bass. So we changed our names to suit our ideas, and started a band that would be like the way real life seemed to us (dirty and pretty and psychotic)—and found a Hell’s Angels/wino bar on the Bowery that was desparate and good-hearted enough to let us play there.
CBGB’s in the mid-Seventies was a good place to be young. It was like a big, dark, dirty clubhouse for the kids. At the beginning, the clientele was a funny mixture of musicians and strippers and junkies and the stray uptown cognescente or advanced journalist. It was great to have a place to go where you could depend on finding someone you knew and someone interesting to talk to (or whatever it was you wanted to do with them). All the bands were made of baby dropouts—little baby waifs and hustlers and art-head musicians—and it was a place where that was a fine thing to be, in fact it was probably the only place where such people were treated as if they mattered. That mix and gathering that produced my bands: Television with Tom, and the Heartbreakers with Johnny Thunders & Jerry Nolan, and then the Voidoids with Robert Quine; and the Ramones, and Patti Smith, and Blondie, and the Dead Boys, and the Talking Heads, reeks of New York and what it stands for (the invention of worlds).
For me, as a musician, it was kind of downhill from there—once I got a record contract and was expected to go out on tour, it all got kind of tiresome. I didn’t want to leave New York.
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