RICHARD LLOYD ... EXACTLY WHO HE WANTS TO BE

Words & Photos by Doug Dresher

September 18, 2021

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It is not often you get to meet your heroes. It's even less likely that when you meet your heroes, they don't disappoint. Richard Lloyd is one of my heroes, at least one of my guitar heroes anyway. If you know anything about Richard Lloyd you'd know that he was instrumental in the post-punk movement of the late 1970s. Camping out with the likes of the Talking Heads, the Ramones and Blondie, Television was the kind of band that made the future of post-punk possible. His angular sharp guitar, and that just slightly distorted sound that he got from that guitar, is ingrained in the DNA of anyone who likes post-punk music.


I had the opportunity to see Richard Lloyd at The Saint the other night. The songs were a little slower, the guitar playing perhaps not as sharp as I remember from the records, but the spirit and the passion were there on display for everyone to enjoy.

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What is post-punk? The art scene in the United States after putting Modernism to bed redefined itself as postmodernism. And that's where art became lifeless, theoretical, and at times too grandiose for even its own ego. Music in the early 1970s was very similar. Huge bands like Led Zeppelin and The Who filled venues of screaming fans. The music was loud, the excessive lifestyle was an indicator of the values and real interests of the musicians who made music at that time. The punk movement was born out of the 1960s by the children of Woodstock generation. The punk movement was fueled by the kids who did not have any understanding of how to play their instruments. Their whole goal was to differentiate itself from the arena rock, the self-aggrandizing rock, the excess, the flame thrower and smoke machine stage filled with screaming women throwing their bras on the stage hoping to hang out with the band. But as the punk movement, and even the hardcore movement grew, the musicians themselves who made up punk and hardcore started to practice their instruments. They wanted to learn how to take that unbridled energy and the punch you in the face gestalt of what they considered to be their voice, and put their music out. By chance a new club called CBGBs with his opening and that's where post-punk got its start.


Television as a band and Richard Lloyd as a performing musician embodied the disaffected feeling of the kids making music in the late 1970s. Their songs aren't love songs. Their songs are about the grind, their songs are about the drug addicts who lived in downtown New York City and the junkies and prostitutes who lived in the Bowery. Taking their cue from the Velvet Underground, and the music of Lou Reed, bands like Television took the punk ethic and added an agile artistry of the performance of their music.

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Richard Lloyd's performance, was backed buy a fabulous rhythm section - and although I don't know their names I'd like to give a particular shout out to the drummer of Richard Lloyd's touring band; my God he was fantastic. Their performance was fantastic as they took us back to a time where bands would go on at midnight, where the live music would play until 4:00 AM, where the musicians on the stage tried to represent the attitudes of the times. The musicians of post-punk thumbed their noses at the Woodstock generation, particularly because the audience at Woodstock eventually became bankers, and lawyers, and politicians. Don't forget that in the 1980s someone had to have voted for Ronald Reagan, and do not doubt that some of those people were the very ones marching on the college campuses around the country to stop the war in Vietnam. But the Woodstock generation became greedy. They lost their focus, and without the Vietnam War to be the singular issue to pull them all together, they went in much different directions. I do not doubt that some of the Woodstock generation became progressive attorneys, liberal politicians, and the kinds of people that we would hope could fulfill the promise of the civil rights movement and the peace movement. But those people were hard to find in the Bowery of New York City in the late 1970s and the early 1980s. In that void we found Television, (early) Talking Heads, Blondie, and the Ramones.

If you've never had the chance to listen to Television, now is a great time to fire up your Spotify account and enjoy the authentic sound of disaffected youth. And if you know about that music, add you're still in love with that sound, then make sure you check out Richard Lloyd on tour. Richard Lloyd is exactly who he wants to be, playing the music he wants to play. As we all grow up, and our heroes fade away, time listening to his performance is well worth the investment. Here – have some pictures.

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Born from an existential argument between the modernists and postmodernists, I have found my home with the post-punks and those who love a good slice of pizza. I live in a world of art in the age of mechanical reproduction and the ever-elusive decisive moment. Punctum and Stadium aside, I like to take photographs of people and things to see how they look photographed. While I miss CBGBs, I think Asbury Park is as close as we are ever going to get to making punk whatever we make it to be. The future is unwritten and I owe it all to Mr. Bradley and Mr. Martin. Let us now praise famous men and ask the little prince for his thoughts. Sometimes I'm on the road, but If it wasn’t for the honor of the thing, I’d rather walk. My loving wife supports this albatross of an obsession and my kids put up with me well. BA, MFA, M.Ed., BCEA, Tri-X, and Nikon.

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