Even if we are probably looking at it even more now, the little box, well let’s say the flat screen, has long inspired musicians. The proof with these five groups whose television inspired the name.
1) Television Personalities
The British are famous for their humor, Dan Treacy is no exception. It takes a fair amount of self-irony to call yourself Television Personalities for forty years when his group has never had enough success for a television to really care about it. Accompanied by a slew of collaborators coming and going according to the albums, Dan Treacy and his hoarse voice are the only masters on board of this formation born from punk and influenced by the mods of the 60s, author of many discs always a bit noisy and uncertain but endearing. Cult par excellence, interested only a handful of journalists and enthusiasts, Television Personalities had a career break when Dan Treacy, heavily addicted to heroin, was imprisoned from 1998 to 2004 for shoplifting. Returning to business in 2006, the group has nevertheless been handicapped since by the degraded health of its singer following a brain operation.
2) Psychic TV
Probably the most curved television of this selection. Formed in 1981 by Genesis P-Orridge and Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson on the ashes of Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV has never ceased to oscillate between nice seemingly harmless pop songs and disturbing experiments, with a pronounced taste for multimedia adventures . With mutations, collaborations and a labyrinthine discography marked by dozens of live recordings, Psychic TV was also one of the pillars of English acid house in the mid-90s. Worrisome and difficult to tackle, like all bloated production of the late Genesis P-Orridge, who died in March, the discography of Psychic TV nevertheless includes some essential albums like Dreams Less Sweet in 1983.
3) Head on Television
The late Patrick Le Lay, former historic boss of TF1, will forever remain the man capable of measuring the famous “Available brain time” assigned to the communi hominum to the practice of the small screen. With his nickname, this Parisian duo may enter head first on TV, he devotes since 2014 most of his activities, not to zapping excessively, but to the production of a kindly pop electronic music, like l ‘EDM doped with stevia. Relatively tubesque. Finally, especially for those who like to spread their cracker with a large layer of Nutella. In this case, the hopping Out of Body Experiences guarantees the absence in the next few hours of hypoglycemic disorders. At least until the lunch break, naturally with Jean-Pierre Pernaud in the background.
Television is the story of an essential New York post-punk group from the late 70s, which will become a major influence for generations of artists, but also a childhood friendship, dented between the brilliant Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell. In their native Delaware, the two dream of being poets and join the creative broth of New York. In 1972, they set up the group Neon Boys with drummer Billy Ficca, then became Television and hired a second guitarist, Richard Lloyd. Despite promising beginnings, tension is at its height between Verlaine, applied to the extreme, and Hell, always on the razor’s edge, the first even accusing the second of jumping too much on stage. Hell eventually left the group to found The Heartbreakers, becoming one of the first punks and the main source of inspiration for the Sex Pistols. Television, for its part, will publish in 1977 the masterpiece Marquee Moon, followed by a sequel a year later, Adventure, before separating in July 1978.
5) TV on the Radio
While in 2020 it is no longer rare or surprising that the radio is filmed, in 2004 the Americans TV on the Radio proposed to cut the image and keep only the sound. And what a sound! Led by singer Tunde Adebimpe, guitarist Kyp Malone and producer David Sitek before becoming a quintet, TV on the Radio flourished at the crossroads: neither totally arty, nor entirely accessible. Based on Brooklyn, like all the scene of the 2000s, but faithful to the creative effervescence of the New York megalopolis, TV on the Radio signs from its first album, Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes, hybrid music, fireworks of jazz, rock, electronic loops, soul and punk, where the Bad Brains and Prince scrapped with Trent Reznor and David Bowie (among others). Perfectionist but productive, the group, marked by the death in 2011 of its bass player Gerard Smith, released five albums in a decade, before going into hibernation in 2014.