The guy was sitting at the bar by himself, working on a Coke; figured I’d invite him over to the table. Introduced myself, asked if he’d like to join me and my pal. Why sure.
So, Giant Swede, this is Richard Lloyd. Richard Lloyd, Giant Swede.
You have to get the fawning out of the way, so I tell him: first year of college, Rolling Stone says I have to get this album, and I do. It changes everything, as music is wont to do when you’re 19. Raw, searing, literate, unnerving, cinematic: it changed what I expected from music. Putting the needle in the groove was like creaking open a door and finding a small New York punk club on the other side.
Television had two guitarists: the off-the-beat wanderings of the weird-warbler singer Tom Verlaine, and the frantic fretwork and propulsive blasts of Richard Lloyd.
Who lives in Minneapolis.
Who was playing at this little bar / restaurant downtown that just opened.
Who lived in the house of a guy I haven’t seen in years, with whom I shared an art history prof at the U - who makes an appearance in “Graveyard Special.”
Who was sitting at the table eating pizza talking about the record and guitars and why you can throttle a Strat. I said I went from a Telecaster to an L6-S, which was a Gibson that had a 24-fret neck with sweet action all the way up and down, and it worked for me because I had small hands.
He stuck up his hand: like this?
I put up my hand for comparison. About the same. And thought: I am palm-melding with the Television guitarist.
“Jimmy Page’s hands are the same size,” he said.
Trust me: you’d never see him and think, oh man, Rock God. We went outside after a while for a smoke - I had a small evil cigar, and he had a pipe. Scarf, parka, pipe. He’s talking about being backstage at a Zeppelin concert, and discovering that a roadie was running the pedals when Page would hit the strings with the violin bow and point to the corner of the arena. I remembered that. Page’s sequence in “Dazed and Confused,” right? This leads to a discussion of pedals, and how he hates Chorus pedals, and insisted on doubling those cascading solos in “Marquee Moon.”
I say that I could never get those down. Ever. I could do Verlaine’s parts but never his. Doubled, eh?
“Sure - I put on headphones and had it in one ear and just played it again. There’s a part on the album where there’s eight of me.”
So. What about the Eno demos of the “Marquee Moon” album? Because they’re, well, terrible.
“He didn’t know what he was doing!” he laughs. “He said, ‘why don’t we put an amp facing down on the floor, and hang one from the ceiling?’” The demos almost went out as the album, but the band said: no. Wise move - the stuff is shrill, dense, an unlistenable trebly thrash. When they did it right it had presence.
But he’s done more since then. After he finished his pizza and our conversation, we listened to a band called the Baby Boys - pretty good - and then he took the stage for 12 songs. No Television songs; played from his solo catalogue. The same voice in the solos, the same style. The same guy.
After the set I shook his hand again and said it had been a pleasure. We're going to get together in December and talk for a newspaper piece.
Maybe jam a little.
Went home and called up some Television on iTunes. I remember the dorm room - 726 Middlebrook - and I remember sitting on the floor, leaning against the bed, looking at the pictures on the albums. New York and then some. I didn’t want to go there. I didn’t have to go there. Here it was.
And then, by a strange twist of the ways of the world, I was standing outside the bar thirty-plus years later with the album’s best guitarist, ignoring the cold.
And then the horses came.
Other weekend news: watched “The Avengers” on Friday night. I hate to say this about a film that made so much money and required the labors of so many people, but I enjoyed it, and look forward to the inevitable sequel. That’s about it.
Positives: Cap and Thor. Liked Hulk. Negatives: Robert Downey Jr., for whom I have great amounts of goodwill, given his Courageous Mastery of his Demons and his sharp take on Tony Stark in the first movie, is really wearing out his welcome, inasmuch as he brings the same flip insouciant Stark-snark to every scene. I felt somewhat bad for Hawkeye, who didn’t get a costume - probably just as well, given the original design - and felt really bad for Black Widow when everything was blowing up in New York, because she didn’t have any Powers. A situation like that, you want Powers.
Other accomplishments: I washed the windows. I cleaned the storage area under the basement stairs, which had to be done because the Floor Guys replaced the steps. Why? Because my wife was between jobs for three weeks, as I’ve mentioned, and the HATED CARPET had to come up like a rotten meal. When we got back from Florida all the boxes from under the stairs were in the furnace room. They’re my printed-off archives - my clips, my magazine pieces, my mentions, years of Bleats, reams of dot-matrix printoffs from DC columns. I intend to send it all to the University of Minnesota to store in their caves, after I have shaken off the mortal garments.
Let someone else digitize and OCR that stuff. Let someone else discover my work half a century hence and decide to carve out a niche resurrecting my name and reputation.
Yes, that’ll happen.
Burgess and S.J. Perelman are out of print, but hey, I’ll get my renaissance.
So which mechanical device failed me this weekend? Quite a few. The ice maker stopped making ice. This seems related to the floor sanding, somehow. Although they didn’t take out the fridge to finish beneath it, they noted there was a LEAK in the half-bath, and shut off the water. Since they didn’t know what to shut off, they just turned some handles in the utility room. I found the leak, all right - never noticed it because you had to run the water in the sink to get the leak, and no one ever does.
A quick spritz to wipe your hands, finis. On Saturday morn I was heading off to the semi-annual postcard show, and gave a valve in the utility room a twist to turn it on. It immediately commenced to leaking. Hmm. That’s new. Kicked a bucket under it and filed it away under “later.”
I’m six blocks away from the house; phone rings. Wife. There’s a leak in a pipe downstairs. Yes, I know; hence the bucket. There’s a leak in the walls - water is bubbling through the ceiling. No, I don’t know. Be right back.
Go home. Examine: The water on the ceiling is not a leak, but H20 that adhered to the ceiling when I turned on the leaky valve.
“Why did you put a bucket under it?” she asked.
“So the water wouldn’t get everywhere?”
“I mean why didn’t you fix it?”
“Because it was a medium-priority item, and I wanted to get to the postcard show before someone else who was looking for motels got there.”
Oddly enough, this is not a rational explanation. So I get out a wrench and tighten something and the leak stops.
Off to the postcard show. I bought 21 postcards of old motels for the site. You’re welcome.
Home to see about that ice maker. Turned everything off and on and off and on again. I have to water to the front dispenser, but not to the ice maker. It’s possible it died the same day the floor sanders came.
The printer is dead, or at least useless. The last time I printed something off, the Kodak POS0235u838453u845434 produced ugly sheets with lines through everything. This means the print heads need to be cleaned. I ran all the tests and cleaning programs (WARNING: THIS WILL USE INK) and diagnostics and alignments; in the end, it was worse.
But huzzah and hoorah, the Office Depot circular in the Sunday paper had a great deal on an Epson. It included a CD printer, which you know will break down after 30 runs. But since I have an upcoming . . . thing where I intend to sell “Graveyard Special” on disc, I bought it.
Lanky 20-something clerk. He takes my ID, peers at it.
“You’re . . . that guy,” he says. “I was just reading you in the paper.”
In the paper? And you were born in the last three decades. Bless you my son.
I go home, and decide to test the CD printer. I haven’t hooked it up, but I want to fine-tune the CD version of the book distribution. Pop a blank in the computer.
I poke around in some utility programs; the computer sees the CD, but it has no interest in talking to it. Perhaps it’s a bad CD. Try another. Same thing.
Busted drive in the computer? So soon? Well, let’s see about that. Take the same CD, put it in a portable burner drive, attach it to the laptop; it’s recognized instantly, with eagerness. Hey! You put in a blank? What would you like to do, huh? Huh? Huh? Can I help? This is fun! I like helping humans. Remove the burner, attach it to the main computer.
Main computer does not even see the burner.
Now it’s not a bad disk or bad internal burner issue, but a USB issue. Just for grins I pop in a DVD already burned. It sees it immediately.
Well, this is a helpful mass of data, isn’t it.
I shut everything down and turn everything on again.
Then it works.
People think it’s amazing that we got to the moon using only slide rules and rudimentary computers. No: that’s why we made it.
Also recently broken: the Oregon Scientific remote thermostat. Gave everyone new batteries - base station and remote sensor; hit the reset buttons, paired them, got a temperature. Put the base station outside, a distance of 16 feet. Four hours later: can’t find it.
So right now I can’t tell you what the temp is outside. We’ll have to do with this: