Richard Lloyd: 'Scuse Me While I Hit This Guy
After Jimi died in 1970, Velvert signed a record contract with Family, a division of Paramount, and recorded an album in 1972 as the Velvert Turner Group. He was marketed as the new Jimi, nobody cared, and he crashed and burned in the sea of Seventies rock decadence, emerging sober after some years and becoming a drug counselor. He died in 2000 of hepatitis C.
Richard Lloyd subsequently was institutionalized a couple times for mental problems and founded Television, which released its classic debut album, Marquee Moon, in 1977. It has been continuously in print for 32 years and is near the top of many lists of best albums ever. He was crucial to the early success of CBGB, helping to book the now-defunct club in its glory years. His solo albums are pretty amazing too, especially 2001’s Field of Fire and 2007’s The Radiant Monkey. Like many people with bipolar disorder, he pissed away many chances at success by self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. He now limits himself to drugs prescribed by his psychiatrist.
After Madison, we went to Chicago, where Richard threw a colossal tantrum onstage and in the dressing room afterward. In Detroit he threw an even worse tantrum in the car after the gig, causing us to swerve all over the freeway. He continued the tantrum at our hotel, and the front desk clerk called the police to evict him. Billy, Keith and I rented a car and drove back to New York the next day. Richard did the last four dates—Cleveland, Dayton, Rochester and Boston—by himself. Somebody beat the crap out of him in Boston after the show and sent him to the hospital with a black eye. Somebody beat the crap out of him again in New York a week later and sent him to the hospital with another black eye. Those of us who know Richard spent a lot of time on the phone trying to figure out what the hell to do.
“I see a freight train of success heading toward me, and I’m going to let it hit me,” says Richard, who plans to tour again in the fall with another band. “Every other time I’ve ducked or jumped to the side. I didn’t allow for personal success because I was loyal to Television. No more. I wouldn’t be doing this if I weren’t at the height of my personal powers, but I am. Whatever comes my way now is mine.”
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