icymi: new ’77 Music Club oral history of the Urban Verbs

Hi! I edited this dope oral history of the late-70s/early-80s Washington D.C. new wave band Urban Verbs and co-produced it with Carly for our podcast, ’77 Music Club.

Over the past few months, we interviewed founding members Rod Frantz and Robin Rose, as well as early promoter and later bassist Bill Harvey, and producer Mike Thorne. The resulting podcast episode is an hour long edit of nearly six hours of fascinating conversations, and I’m extremely proud of it.

There are so many holes or shallow, glossy footnotes in history; right now feels like such an exciting time for journalists, historians, and storytellers. We can go back and tell these untold stories or fill out these sketches and recognize people who might have been overlooked the first time. We hope we were able to do that with this episode. Give it a listen.

Oh, and we have an exclusive, never-before-seen, lengthy letter that Brian Eno wrote the band in 1978 offering to produce them, if that’s any additional incentive to click on through.

Okay thanks bye.

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’77 music club’s latest: marquee moon

On March 31, 1974, a young band called Television played their first gig at recently-opened Bowery dive CBGB. Not long before, they had helped Hilly Kristal put the CBGB stage together; now, they were performing in the club that they would help to immortalize. Television, comprised of Tom Verlaine, Richard Lloyd, Richard Hell (replaced by Fred Smith in 1975), and Billy Ficca, soon became the de facto house band at CBGB, appearing regularly and becoming a staple of the growing scene that would come to include the Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads, Dead Boys, and Patti Smith, to name a few.

With their popularity growing, the logical next step would have been to record an album, but Television bided their time. They chose to hone their sound, to develop and grow as a band, so by the time they were signed to Elektra Records in 1976, they were more than ready to begin work on what would become the seminal Marquee Moon. Released in early 1977, the album is regarded as one of the greatest of the punk era, containing songs that continue to be referenced today in covers and samples.

We chose this album as the first to be covered from our show’s namesake year because of its grit, its timeliness and timelessness, and its particular way of getting under your skin and making you feel more electrically charged than you were when you began the album. In this episode, we explore how Television’s and CBGB’s beginnings are inextricably linked, dive into Marquee Moon’s darkness and dreaminess, and outline the continuation of the band’s sound, proving that their legacy still thrives today.

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