New York band and television frontman, songwriter and legendary guitarist Tom Bahrain has died at the age of 73.
His death was announced by Jesse Paris Smith, daughter of Patti Smith, who said he died “after a brief illness.”
Born Thomas Miller in Denville, New Jersey, Verlaine began studying piano at an early age, but switched to the saxophone after hearing records by Stan Getz.
It was during his adolescence that he was inspired to pick up a guitar after hearing the Rolling Stones’ 1966 hit 19th Nervous Breakdown.
He adopted his stage name in reference to the French Symbolist poet Paul Verlaine.
He and his school friend Richard Hell, who shared a passion for music and poetry, moved separately to New York City and in 1972 joined together with Verlaine on guitar and vocals, Hell on bass and vocals, and Billy. formed the group Neon Boys. ficca on the drums.
The group lasted for some time, but reformed in March 1973, calling themselves Television and hiring Richard Lloyd as a second guitarist. Their first gig was in March 1974. In 1975 Hell left the band and they released their first single, with Fred Smith replacing Hell.
Verlaine, the band’s lead singer and most songwriter, dated and collaborated with poet and musician Patti Smith, who was part of the emerging New York punk scene, many times over the years.
Television released two albums, Marky Moon and Adventure, to critical acclaim, but poor sales. Marky Moon is considered one of his defining releases of the punk era.
The band broke up in July 1978, but Verlaine began her solo career in the 1980s and lived in England for some time.
Television reformed in 1992, releasing a self-titled third album and playing sporadically.
Waterboys Mike Scott tweeted: He was the greatest rock ‘n’ roll his guitarist of all time, and like Hendrix he could dance from space to garage he rock. It requires special greatness. “
Tom Verlaine … the most incredible otherworldly guitar playing I’ve heard for Patti Smith’s ‘Hey Joe’ and ‘Break It Up’ and Television’s ‘Little Johnny Jewel’. Jazz Blow, Fantastic, Inspiring. None was surpassed or matched except by himself. “
Susanna Hoffs, founding member of The Bangles, wrote a heartbreak emoji after “Peace and Love, Tom Verlaine.”
Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite tweeted, “I am devastated by this news. Tom Bahrain was truly great. His role in our culture and his straight-up excellence on the electric guitar is absolutely legendary.” Can you give me 10 minutes of music that can compare to Marky Moon.I can’t.It’s perfect.Rest in peace Tom.”
Music writer and author Corbin Leif tweeted: The patron saint of impossibly cool lead guitarists. RIP to only one.
Describing his unique guitar playing style, Verlaine told a Guitar Player interviewer in 2005:
“I know a 19-year-old guitarist who can play every note of a Danny Gatton solo. They don’t really know what notes they’re playing, but they play it perfectly.”