We were all over the map. Especially in singing, when Tom would want a three-part harmony. Neither he nor Hell can hold a goddam pitch. I’m no Frank Sinatra, but I can sing in pitch. We got into these huge arguments about who was off.
Meanwhile, Billy would do these drum solos...The way I look at Billy is, he’s been doing a drum solo since 1973, occasionally interrupted by songs.
Tom kept saying, “I wanna make a live record. On the quick.”
Now, the only problem with that is, when Tom Verlaine says that, what he actually means is, “I want all the rest of you to do your parts in two days, then I want to diddle around in the studio spending all our money for six months.”
One day at lunch, Tom was complaining about being short of breath when he was singing live. Of course, Tom smoked like a chimney and drank coffee all day long. That’s all he did. But I said, “Well, maybe you could take a couple of vocal lessons, just to get some breathing techniques –”
And my god, that was it. Suddenly, Tom was screaming his head off at me. “I need singing lessons!?! Hey: my voice is peculiar and that’s that! Hey: Dylan sells!”
Now, this is the same guy who, when I told him I thought Marquee Moon was going to be an important record, said, “Nah. My vocals are too weird.”
Tom stood up, leaned over and screamed at me: “I’m not making a pop record! And I’m not making a rock record!” And I’m sitting there, thinking, “Jesus. What business does he think he’s in? Flamenco?”
He did his little meandering music for silent films thing, with one of his best buddies Jimmy Rip, where they would go around and be paid outrageous fees by museums to play music to these silent films. And that took nothing out of Tom. He sat on a chair. He didn’t have to sing. He could just fool around on the guitar. But why should he do Television if his bank account is full?