I can't presume to speak for the others, but I never felt anything negative from anyone when I was onstage with Television. When I played rhythm behind Lloyd, the only thing that concerned me was to push him as hard as I could so that he'd go beyond what he was capable of and come up with something new, and vice versa. That's the only thing that mattered.
There were a lot of things I listened to, but so-called pop music never killed me, you know, the type of stuff that always seems to make it on the radio. The whole radio thing seems so... it's like they've accepted the whole "new wave" thing only because this kind of pop element came into it. In Europe they really love emotion, but here it's like, "let's stay away from it because we might cry or something".
Johnny Jewel is how people were maybe two hundred years ago. Back then, when people got up in the morning, they knew what they had to do to get through the day - there were 100% less decisions. Nowadays, we have to decide what we want to buy in grocery stores, what job to take, what work to do. But not Johnny. For him, it's all right there - it's a freer state, and that's what my music is looking for... ... To understand Johnny, you should think of William Blake. He was the same kinda guy.
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I can't remember ever being really bored. I find life very interesting, actually. I think some other musicians are always looking for something to give them an idea, but I find I have to reject 90 percent of my ideas because they don't live up to some self-imposed standard. That's also why I don't make a record once a year. I throw so many things out, and I have to have something to say.
I write a lot of more instrumental music than I do vocal music. It's because I come out of a background of playing piano and then playing sax for a number of years. I kind of got into rock backwards. A lot of guys go into rock and then get sick of it and then go into something else. I came the other way, so I've always just had a lot more stuff lying around.
Yeah, I'd say there's probably about a couple of hundred people I admire - but that has nothing to do with what a person does themselves. That's why I never mention these things. You can read a detective novel you really like, but it had no bearing on what you do yourself, you just think, "God, how this guy wove this together!" Or you get into the energy of it. Or you see a poem which makes a great statement about sentiment, but it's not sentimental.
I always like junkyards. All this metal piled up - they're filled with pathos, those places. Much more pathos than most of the music I've heard. You look at it, and there's more feeling, even though it's depressing, than there is in a lot of music I hear these days. A junkyard is what it is, whereas listening to a record by, say, Styx, is something else.
I have a real soft spot for flying saucer songs and Frenkenstein songs. When I was a kid the first record I ever really liked was called "The Mummy", and the flip-side was called "The Beat Generation" which Richard Hell later re-wrote as "The Blank Generation". I thought it was the greatest thing I had ever heard. I didn't like Elvis much then, but I was very young. When I was a kid I used to play that monster all the time!
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People ask me this a lot, what a song's about.... I do think analyzing a song can be interesting, although it doesn't necessarily get to the point. It's a whole other side activity. I do like making a thing into pictures. If I get an abstract idea and all the words in it don't represent tangible things, I might try to take the idea and make it into a picture, create a little scene there, an image.
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I recently realized that Television has influenced a lot of English bands. Echo and the Bunnymen, U2, Teardrop Explodes - it's obvious what they've listened to and what they're going for. When I was sixteen I listened to Yardbirds records and thought, "God, this is great." It's gratifying to think that people listened to Television albums and felt the same.
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