Tom Verlaine, saxophonist of impactful music group Television, ends up dead at 73.

Tom Verlaine, a  founding father of American punk and a fixture of the  1970s New York rock scene, died Saturday in Manhattan  as the  result of a  brief illness. He  was 73.

His  death  was  confirmed to NPR in a press  release from Jesse Paris Smith, the daughter of Verlaine collaborator Patti Smith, who  also  once dated the artist.

“I met Tom  when I  was a child,  not  long after my dad  passed away,” Jesse Paris Smith wrote in a  statement to NPR. “In him, I felt the  energy of a father,  a man to hug, to  laugh with, to  share in mischievous jokes and wild imagination.”

Verlaine  was  best  known as the singer and guitarist with the influential rock band Television. Television’s first  two albums, Marquee Moon and Adventure,  were met with  great  critical acclaim, if  not  soaring sales. These albums laid  the foundation for  alternative rock.

Verlaine  was  known for his jagged guitar  playing  style  involving heavy vibrato and distortion and off-kilter lyrics, like “Life  in the hive puckered up my night / A kiss of  death, the  embrace of life” from the  chorus of Marquee Moon’s titular track.

During a musical  career spanning  five decades, Verlaine  also  achieved  success as a solo artist. He collaborated with the likes of David Bowie and Sonic Youth.

Younger musicians  looked  up to him,  such as the Dream Syndicate’s Steve Wynn and Nels Cline of Wilco. On its  last album, the Canadian indie pop band Alvvays titled a  song after him.

Born Thomas Miller in Denville, N.J., Verlaine grew up in Wilmington, Del. and  developed  interests in  music and poetry at a  young age.

He  adopted the  stage  name Tom Verlaine in honor of the French  19th century Symbolist poet Paul Verlaine after  moving to New York City  in the  late 1960s.

Verlaine  developed a cult following  throughout his career,  but  never  quite  achieved mainstream  status and eschewed the limelight. “When  asked how his  own  life  should  appear in a biography,” a 2006 New York Times article wrote of the artist, “Mr. Verlaine  thought for a  moment  before  offering his  preferred self-deprecating epigram: ‘Struggling  not to have a  professional career.’ “

“Playing, recording and  simply being Tom’s  friend for over 30 years and  until the  end has been a  wonderful  journey and a privilege,” Verlaine’s longtime engineer and collaborator Patrick Derivaz  told NPR.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *