Tom Verlaine, the frontman of New York City-based rock band Television, has died. Jesse Paris Smith, the daughter of singer Patti Smith, told the media that Verlaine died after “a brief illness”. Verlaine was 73.

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Who was Tom Verlaine? 

Tom Verlaine was born on December 13, 1949, in Denville, New Jersey, US. He is best known for being the frontman of the New York-based band Television.

Verlaine attended Stanford School, where he met Richard Hell, the celebrated punk icon. He escaped school midway and moved to New York City to pursue music. Originally, named Thomas Miller, he became Tom Verlaine ( a reference to the French symbolist poet Paul Velarine) inspired by Bob Dylan’s name change.

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He and Hell enlisted Billy Ficca as their drummer to become The Neon Boys – their first venture. But after failing to find a second guitarist despite Dee Dee Ramone and Chris Stein’s auditions, The Neon Boys broke up.

A few months later, they regrouped as Television, recruited Richard Lloyd as their new guitarist, and started performing at important punk venues like CBGB and Max’s Kansas City.

Verlaine supported several guitar recording and playing methods, such as close miking, delay, reverb, slap echo, phasing/ flanging, tremolo, etc.

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In “Little Johnny Jewel,” the first commercially successful recording for television, Verlaine, defying convention, plugged his guitar directly into the mixing desk without any amplification. Verlaine often didn’t use strong distortion.

The Bangles founding member Susanna Hoffs tweeted a photo of Verlaine with the caption: “Peace and love, Tom Verlaine.”