BY TIM HINELY
Wow is all I have to say. If you’ve read Television co-founders’ book you may come away with the same reaction. The guy has lived a hell of a life and it’s all here in black and white in the nearly 400 pages of Everything is Combustible.
Lloyd was born in Pittsburgh but moved with his family to NYC in the 1960’s and, well, he got into all kinds of trouble living in the big city. After some rough patches (drugs, arrests, mental hospitals, etc) Lloyd slowly began finding his way and among many of Lloyd’s friends, mostly freaks and burnouts, he met a young man namned Velvert Turner who not only helped Lloyd’s guitar playing, but also introduced him to Jimi Hendrix. Lloyd tells of spending time in Hendrix’s company (usually with Velvert) and has some interesting stories (no spoiler alerts here) while later he met Anita Pallenberg and her then boyfriend, Keith Richards ansd spent plenty of time in their company (he met and hung with another famous Keith too, Mr. Moon and also some guys in another band called Led Zeppelin).
Through his roommate Terry Ork (Ork Records) Lloyd went down to a bar one night to see a songwriter perform named Tom Verlaine. Ork introduced Lloyd to Verlaine and the beginnings of Television were sewn that fateful evening.
Throughout the book Lloyd dishes on Verlaine (umm…seemingly not the easiest guy to get along with) and talks about the early day of the band, including their days at the legendary clubs like CBGB’s and Max’s Kansas City. He also tells how the classic picture on the cover of Television’s classic debut, Marquee Moon, came about (and why drummer Billy Ficca’s face looks vaguely orange).
From the initial Television breakup in 1978 to their reappearance in 1992 (and Lloyd leaving the band again in 2007 to concentrate on his solo career) Lloyd’s life has had more ups and downs than the streets of San Francisco. After finally getting clean for good Lloyd ended up touring in the 90’s with Matthew Sweet and John Doe as well as others, and to say that Lloyd been huge influence on just about every worthwhile guitartist working today would be an understatement.
The story is told in Lloyd’s no-holds barred style. He holds nothing back and tells it exactly like it happened (to the best of his memory) in his very, very philosophical (cosmic) style. The guy is an excellent writer and Everything Is Combustible is at times hilarious, sad, and terrifying. The guy is a survivor who is still out there doing his thing. This book is a must read and one of her best rock bios I have ever read. Again…wow.