RIP Tom Verlaine
It has been confirmed that influential guitarist and songwriter Tom Verlaine has died at the age of 73. Tom guested on two songs on Luna’s LP Penthouse - on the Life of The Record Podcast in 2020 Dean Wareham talked about how this came about.
“Moon Palace” is one of my favorite Luna songs. It features a great guitar solo by Tom Verlaine. Mario said he could get Tom in to play on the record if we gave him some of our studio time so that was the deal that we did. Tom liked to work late so it really didn’t matter. He’d come in at 10pm and work for hours. He plays on “Moon Palace” and he plays a long guitar solo on “23 Minutes in Brussels.” It’s great listening to him play. He doesn’t use any pedals or tricks, just his fingers and the Stratocaster or Jazzmaster, whatever he’s playing. He uses the volume knob, he sort of swells. Whatever he’s doing, you know it’s him immediately. He’s a unique player, which I think is the highest compliment you can pay a musician really, not that they can shred. Well that’s a different kind of compliment, not that they can do incredible things at high speed but that they have a sound that only they have.
So I play a solo at the start of [23 Minutes in Brussels], and maybe, well I guess play one in the middle too, a shorter one, but mostly it’s Tom Verlaine. He’s got that little tease and you can tell him again, it’s sort of that sound that he’s using, the volume knob with his pinky. Just sort of swelling into it. It sounds like him. He pays a lot of attention to guitar tones, he sort of had a little suitcase full of tubes or whatever, he knows about old different tubes and their characteristics.
Dean Wareham - Life of The Record podcast
In 2016 Dean was curating a show of rare Andy Warhol films and asked Tom to be involved “I was given the title Guest Musical Curator and asked to come up with a list of performers. I first asked my musical heroes Tom Verlaine and Martin Rev (who made two of the most important albums of the late 20th century, Marquee Moon and Suicide respectively)”
In 2020 during the COVID lockdowns Luna recorded a version of Television’s classic Marquee Moon:
During the current pandemic, with Luna members spread around the globe, our former bassist Justin Harwood suggested that we record Television’s epic track “Marquee Moon.” We recorded the song one instrument at a time in four different locations; Lee Wall recorded his drum track in Austin, Sean Eden tracked the guitars in San Francisco, Justin played the Fender bass in Auckland, New Zealand, and Dean Wareham sang and added guitar in Los Angeles. Britta Phillips sat this one out but does appear in the video. Justin Harwood mixed the song and assembled the video from iPhone footage made by the band members.
RIP Tom Verlaine.