Guitar legend this weekend in Spa City

SARATOGA SPRINGS – It’s Friday afternoon. A sky of silvery steel sways above a tarmac field that cradles an automobile emblazoned in gunmetal gray.

Inside the car, the beautiful fragments of sound emanating from Richard Lloyd’s guitar burst from the speakers. The group is Television. The music is “Moon Marquee.”

“I remember, how darkness doubled. I remember, lightning struck.

I listened, I listened to the rain. I heard, I heard something else…”

Just then, the phone’s ringtone cuts through all the sweetness and melancholy, and makes its way through the Bluetooth, echoing over the car’s speakers.

“It’s Richard Lloyd,” said the voice. “Looks like it’s going to rain here. Is it raining where you are?”

The wonderful season is coming to Saratoga early this year. Richard Lloyd performs Saturday May 14 at Putnam Den with his four piece band. “Kevin Tooley, David Leonard and a new guy, Steve Geller. Two guitars, bass and drums,” says Lloyd. Local favorites Family Tree opens the show. Lloyd says the show will feature songs from throughout his career. And it’s a rich career.

He has more than half a dozen solo albums to his credit, laden with anthemic guitars and melodious gems that, in a just and more welcoming country, would have returned countless radio hits. His expertise as a six-string practitioner is showcased on a popular YouTube site, someone highlighted guitar drone theory and “using the mixolydian scale to create a Richard Lloyd-style solo “.

Then there is television. The four-member ensemble has produced two albums – “Marquee Moon” and “Adventureduring their initial search in the late 1970s – and created a presence whose influence to this day cannot be overstated.

“Marquee Moon” in particular is widely hailed as a musical masterpiece. You have to wonder if he’s tired of talking. “I’m just glad it’s still selling,” Lloyd replies with a chuckle. “Forty-five years later, and I’m still getting paid.”

He was born in the fall of 1951 in Pittsburgh, six years after the end of World War II and the start of the Cold War. “People at that time were in a strange state halfway – between the elation of post-war recovery and the threat of nuclear annihilation,” he explains in his 2017 memoir “Everything is Combustible.” .

Lloyd was a New York child at a time when the city was tearing itself apart. He hung out at Max’s Kansas City and remembers going to see the New York Dolls at the Diplomat Hotel.

“I was surprised by the audience,” Lloyd says. “Everyone was dressed to their nines – and they cared more about each other than the band. The band facilitated that scene, but it wasn’t like a normal concert where people pay attention to what happens on stage. This was a time when bands were beginning to play in front of large crowds in large arenas. “It was very simple. Performer. Spectators. Performer. Spectators. All of a sudden there was a break. And that was also like that at CB’s, because if you played there regularly, you got in for free , so there were always a lot of talented people there – not just musicians, but journalists, photographers, actors and writers. It was a very interesting time in New York.

Lloyd and Television were instrumental in determining what was to happen at CBGB. The Mercer Arts Center — the city’s only showcase for creatives in 1973 — had collapsed in a pile of rubble an August afternoon.

“He fell, while I was on the way (there), in a car driving from Los Angeles to New York,” Lloyd said, as he sat in a car traveling from New York to New Haven. .

“And you’re in a car now. I hope nothing goes anywhere,” was the sequence of words that escaped my mouth before I could stop them.

“I. Hope. No,” he replied.

Lloyd lived in Chinatown with Terry Ork. Assistant to Andy Warhol, Ork may have been inspired by Warhol’s sponsorship which had initiated the blossoming of the Velvet Underground a decade earlier and committed to doing something with a group in a similar way. It was their visit to a Manhattan club on an audition party that produced Lloyd’s first meeting with his transplanted Delaware classmates, Richard Hell and Tom Verlaine.

“It was a cabaret club. People like Liza Minelli and Peter Lemongello have played there,” says Lloyd. Verlaine performed three songs on her audition night. This 10-minute set led to the collaborative formation that eventually became Television.

Looking for a place that would allow them to perform on a public stage, they found a dive on the Bowery and approached the owner – as the story goes – as he stood on top of a stepladder playing with the canopy in front of his bar, convincing him that he should perform original music live in his bar. That owner was Hilly Kristal. The club was the CBGB. Despite the nickname describing what Kristal had imagined his bar to feature (the acronym stands for Country, BlueGrass and Blues), a new wave of creatives would discover the venue as a place to showcase their talents – Patti Smith, Talking Heads, Blondie and The Ramones, among dozens of others.

“It was like throwing a New Year’s Eve party for three years. It was awesome. We made a rule that you had to play original music. No covers. Maybe one, if you did two , you’d never play there again,” Lloyd says. “We weren’t very good at the start. Technically, we were pretty shitty. But there was momentum there.

In the spring of 1975 and a few years after Lloyd went to see new york dolls carry out, The television was on for the group.

“It seemed like time represented a sort of changing of the guard. What do you remember from those shows? I asked Lloyd.

“Well, somebody has to start first, so yeah, we did,” he said.

“Memories sticking out? »

Malcolm McLaren wanted to direct us, and we said no,” he says of the British impresario who worked with designer Vivienne Westwood and worked with the Dolls at the time.

“So he went back home to England to start his own band.”

“He put together a band based on everything we were doing,” says Lloyd. That band was The Sex Pistols.

“Do you ever mind?”

“Ah, it was only when it was written as history – that it started in London. And it doesn’t. It all started in New York,” says Lloyd. “America is so big that you disappear there, whereas if you’re in England and you’re making a splash, you’re in the Crissakes dailies.”

In early 1977, Television’s debut album ‘Marquee Moon’ was released and reached the UK Top 30. But America was asleep. The second album, “Adventure”, was released in 1978. Later that year, I smuggled myself in (no one was checking IDs at the time) and an Instamatic camera the size of a palm in the Bottom Line club to watch the band play. Lloyd wore a black button-up shirt, which I don’t know from memory, but in a fuzzy, ghostly image that somehow survived to this day. Patti Smith sat across the table, transfixed by the music coming from the stage. We all were. The group was fascinating. The next day, the group was no more.

“We broke up. That’s right. It was our swan song,” Lloyd says. “We didn’t tell anyone, but we already knew we were going to break up.”

The band members embarked on their respective solo careers and there were a few encounters that resulted in a studio album. He puts little chance that the group will reunite in the future.

“It’s amicable, but we’re not going to play together anymore. I don’t see that happening. Tom is semi-retired, or fully retired,” says Lloyd.

Lloyd estimates he worked about two weeks during the first two years of the first wave of the pandemic, but is now back on stage. So far, so good. He says he continues to take to heart the work of the philosopher and mystic GI Gurdjieff.

“He was a very interesting guy and worth looking for,” says Lloyd. “It was about being aware. Being aware. Inhabiting your life more fully. I don’t go to church, so that’s my spiritual interest.

An interest in the visual arts led him to produce his own works. He has sold a few hundred of his paintings in recent years.

” I color. I love rich, vibrant colors,” says Lloyd.

“The same could be said for the sound.”

“You bet. Sound and light – they are linked. They are only a few octaves apart.

Richard Lloyd performs with his band on Saturday, May 14 at Putnam Place, 63A Putnam St., Saratoga Springs. Also appearing: Family tree. Doors open at 8 p.m., show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets: $15, putnamplace.com.

Richard F. Gandhi