Patti Smith remembers her friend, Television guitarist Tom Verlaine, who passed away on Jan. 28th.
He lived twenty-eight minutes from where I was raised. We could easily have sauntered into the same Wawa on the Wilmington-South Jersey border in search of Yoo-hoo or Tastykakes. We might have met, two black sheep, on some rural stretch, each carrying books of the poetry of French Symbolists—but we didn't. Not until 1973, on East Tenth Street, across from St. Mark's Church, where he stopped me and said, "You're Smith." He had long hair, and we clocked each other, both echoing the future, both wearing clothes they didn't wear anymore. I noticed the way his long arms hung, and his equally long and beautiful hands, and then we went our separate ways. That was, until Easter night, April 14, 1974. Lenny Kaye and I took a rare taxi ride from the Ziegfeld Theatre after seeing the première of "Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones," straight down to the Bowery to see a new band called Television.
The club was CBGB. There were only a handful of people present, but Lenny and I were immediately taken with it, with its pool table and narrow bar and low stage. What we saw that night was kin, our future, a perfect merging of poetry and rock and roll. As I watched Tom play, I thought, Had I been a boy, I would've been him.
Read the rest in The New Yorker.