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Marquee Moon & Protopunk etc.

July 25, 2008

Friction came on my iPod today while I was at lunch, eating a big plate of Chinese food (sometimes when you skip breakfast you have to have a super-big lunch in order to compensate–Chinese food always hits the spot for size and cheapness) and it occurred to me that this might be a good place to start my first blog post: at the beginning of one of my favorite musical genres.

While I wouldn’t call Television a protopunk band, it definitely existed within a similar time-frame as such protopunk notables as MC5 and The Stooges. Now, these other two bands were actually disbanding close to when Television was forming, and they’re credited with having some of the most immediate influence on the first punk rock bands (see Kick Out the Jams and Raw Power) because of their stripped-down sound, but Television shared this sentiment while retaining the fairly lengthy songs and jams that were distinctive of the late 60s sound. As a result, they don’t quite sound like a jam band, and they have the rough, untrained yet seemingly talented manner that so closely resembles the early pioneers of punk rock. Furthermore, you can hear some inklings of the Glam/Prog rock that was beginning to form in the late 60s and 70s (I included their song, Venus on my mix for our “Gods & Goddesses” party recently–nothing reeks of prog rock like songs about greek or roman mythology). Richard Hell (the lead singer and most notable personality of the group) would later go on to form Richard Hell & the Voidoids–a very important band in the initial punk rock movement with its song Blank Generation.

Give this band a chance, for sure. The album, Marquee Moon, is one of the most important to come out of the 70s and remains an incredible listen to this day.

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