‘One of the greatest’: Flea leads tributes to Television guitarist Tom Verlaine, who has died at 73

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Flea has led tributes to Tom Verlaine, the frontman for rock band Television, after his death was announced on Saturday (29 January).

Verlaine was the guitarist, songwriter and lead figure of the New York City band, which was mainly active in the mid-Seventies.

The band is most known for the 1977 album Marquee Moon, which is highly regarded as one of the foremost punk releases.

Verlaine frequently collaborated with musician Patti Smith throughout his solo career, and they once dated while they were part of the emerging punk scene in New York.

His death was announced by Jesse Paris Smith, the daughter of Patti Smith, who said that he died “after a brief illness”.

Since the news broke, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bassist Flea is one of several musicians to have paid tribute to Verlaine online, sharing that he’d been an influence on his and bandmate John Frusciante.

“Listened to Marquee Moon 1000 times,” his tweet began. “And I mean LISTENED, sitting still, lights down low taking it all in. awe and wonder every time. Will listen 1000 more. Tom Verlaine is one of the greatest rock musicians ever. He affected the way John and I play immeasurably. Fly on Tom.”

Mike Scott of The Waterboys also shared his thoughts on the late musician, writing on Twitter: “Tom Verlaine has passed over to the beyond that his guitar playing always hinted at. He was the best rock and roll guitarist of all time, and like Hendrix could dance from the spheres of the cosmos to garage rock. That takes a special greatness.”

Tom Verlaine (Getty Images)
Tom Verlaine (Getty Images)

Susanna Hoffs, founding member of The Bangles, wrote “Peace and love, Tom Verlaine” followed by a broken heart emoji.

Actor Josh Androsky also paid tribute on social media, telling his followers that Verlaine didn’t invent punk music, but “perfected it”.

Androsky continued: “He, more than anyone, took Lou Reed’s mantle: he was funny, a poet, and had an insanely weird voice. His old schoolmate Richard Hell was the aesthetic and attitude of punk, but Tom was the brains and the storyteller. RIP.”