I’m reading Everything is Combustible, a memoir by Richard Lloyd, the guitarist from Television, possibly the original new wave band from New York in the 1970s. He’s one of my favourite musicians* and it’s a madcap read. Lloyd can tell a tale. At first I was thinking, here’s another litany of drugs and addictions, but, as I’m nearing the end of the book, I’m growing to like him.
At one point he describes the slow demise of the band under the leadership and chronic prevarication of singer and lyricist Tom Verlaine. In a fifteen-year period they only managed to record eight songs, and Verlaine couldn’t bring himself to write lyrics or, if he did write some, he couldn’t bring himself to record them. What time they did spend in the studio was spent fretting over and testing different microphones.
Lloyd had his own studio but despite that, Verlaine never got round to doing anything until, eventually Lloyd left the band. As Lloyd said, they got nothing done, but by the end, “We both had quite a collection of microphones.”
And as metaphors go, that’s a good one.
* the solo from See No Evil is one of the greatest guitar solos ever recorded.