Tom Verlaine RIP

In the summer of 1978 Television played two shows at the the Bottom Line. MARQUEE MOON had been the best LP of 1977 for us at CBGBs. The first one I missed, because I was working uptown at Hurrah. For the second at the end of July I took off the night and left my apartment on East 10th Street an hour before the announced time of the show

Fifteen minutes later I arrived at the nightclub on Bleecker Street only to discover the show was sold out and there were no admissions.

I explained to the doorman that I was his counterpart at Hurrah on West 62nd Street.

“I know who you are. I’d love to help you, but the two FD are standing inside the door with clickers. They said one more and they’ll shut down the show.”

“A shakedown.”

“Of course.”

Every cop and inspector on the city payroll looked to nightclubs as an easy touch. Obviously the Bottom Line’s owner wasn’t playing that game tonight.

“What about the back door?”

“FD there too.”

“You go around the corner and the stage backs up to the wall on Mercer Street. You should be able to here it okay there.”

And he was right. I could feel the bass through the bricks.

They opened with FIRE ENGINE followed by GLORY.

I knew every song and wished I had a beer, but I wasn’t leaving my listening post. Not for nothing.

As the band played AIN’T NOTHING a young woman appeared from the alley.

Maria Duvall.

I knew the ingenue from Divine’s show WOMEN BEHIND BARS at Hurrah. The Latin beauty was in her teens, but lived a rockers’s life. Billy Flicka from Television was her boyfriend and a rich man paid for her acting lessons at Stella Adler. Those didn’t come cheap. She glanced down the sidewalk at me and tilted her head with a smile. I thought she had seen something funny, but she walked up to me and said, “I know you. You work the door at Hurrah. Why are you out here? Waiting for someone?”

“No, I couldn’t get in. Sold-out.”

“Great show, but I’ve seen them a lot and needed some air.” She stepped closer.

16? 17? She played her body older. Stella Adler was a great acting school. “Why are you pressed against the wall.”
“I can feel the music. the bass, the guitars, the drums. The vocals I hear in my mind. Try it.”

I stepped away and Maris pressed her back to the bricks.”

“I feel it too.”

The actress pulled me close. The music pulsed through her flesh

MARQUEE MOON and we were one.

I shut my eyes and enflamed my soul with the simple raw elements of rock.

I shuttered against Maria. She slid from underneath me. I struggled to regain my breath. She smiled and walked towards the alley, turning to say, “I have to go, but I’ll see you again.”

And I knew that was not a lie.

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