Tom Verlaine Threatens Rock NYC With Violence

Written by | September 30, 2017 7:36 | 49 responses

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Tom Verlaine

 

Most bands appreciate videos and photos I took during shows, some repost them on their Facebook or Instagram page and even thank me, but other ones, as I experienced it last night, have an entire different attitude to say the least.

I was attending Television’s show at the Teragram Ballroom on Friday night, and I was in a good mood. I had already seen the fabulous New York band at the same place years ago and I wasn’t expecting anything else but good and timeless music. I was first disappointed to learn at the door of the Teragram that the band was requesting a no professional camera policy for the show. It was strange because I had been able to take photos when I saw them 2 years ago, but I abided, and asked the Teragram Ballroom staff if an iPhone was okay, and they said it was.

The show was going well with the band playing their classics like ‘Elevation’, ‘Venus’, ‘Prove it’ off their ‘Marquee Moon’ debut album, and being front row I was in the perfect position to film, so I did capture a few minutes of songs with my iPhone, as I always do at shows…. However this took an unexpected turn.

At one point, and this must have been just after ‘See No Evil’, Tom Verlaine came close to me, kneeled down and put his arm around my neck, to tell me: ‘What are you doing?’… What was I doing? I was filming, he obviously was aware of that. At first, I thought he was going to preach another verse of the eternal theme, ‘you should not be filming because you can’t enjoy the show at the same time’, but it turned out he had something a bit different in mind. ‘What are you doing?’ he repeated. I was smiling thinking this was a joke, although I didn’t think he was joking. I honestly don’t remember what I mumbled, something about saving memories in a safe place, but he didn’t seem to care and added, ‘if you are selling this, I will chop your head off’. Chop my head off? Isn’t it a bit extreme?

This instant was so surreal that I decided to write about it right away once home, because if I had waited for the next day, I may have thought it was just a strange dream. Verlaine was visibly not amused, but how could he have thought I was gonna sell videos recorded with an iPhone? Isn’t it 2017 and isn’t everybody doing this same exact thing at concerts?

I don’t know how long it lasted, a few seconds probably, and he was so close to me that very few people heard what he said, I don’t think many people actually realized what happened. When he got up, he even brushed my hair with his hand in a not very nice way, and I could tell he was mad. I didn’t touch my phone for the rest of the concert, I didn’t want to upset him more, but I didn’t erase the videos either. That would have been ridiculous. At the end of the show I wish I could have talked to him, I would have told him that I review shows and that videos help a lot to go back to the ambiance of the night, but they left the stage quite fast.

It was a strange and almost upsetting experience, I have to say that I could not really enjoy the rest of the show as my mind was always going back to Verlaine’s angry voice asking me what I was doing.

(Editor’s Note: what an asshole)

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49 Responses to “Tom Verlaine Threatens Rock NYC With Violence”

  1. Dicky Lloyd

    Good for Tom. “No Cameras”. an iPhone has a camera, hence, it’s a camera.
    Enough of your bullshit. If you need a recording to “review” the performance, perhaps you should just review videos and not lives shows.

    Reply
    • Can You Fucking Read?

      Can you fucking read? “[I] asked the Teragram Ballroom staff if an iPhone was okay, and they said it was.” She asked, and was given permission from the venue to record with an iPhone.

      Reply
  2. Bill

    Without Richard Lloyd it isn’t really Television anyway…just a cover band like the current “Dead Boys’

    Reply
  3. joey johnson

    There was a stated no phone policy. And you are amazed at his reaction? If you act like an asshole, dont be surprised when people treat you like one.

    Reply
    • Alyson

      No, they did not want me to use my professional camera, that’s different. As I said, I asked if iPhones were okay and they said yes. I was very probably not the only one using my phone in the room. Plus if in 2017 you feel threatened by someone and an iPhone, it just shows your age.

      Reply
      • Skar

        Stupid twit- holding your stupid phone up to block others peoples view is obnoxious and makes people want to punch you… glowing screens owned by assholes is NOT what one goes to a live show for….we go to see the band

        Reply
        • Alyson

          For your information, I was in the front and had no reason to hold the phone very high, I was not blocking the view of anyone, I was holding the phone at my chest height… so tired of all these judgmental people actually

          Reply
          • NewYorkJoe

            Not nearly as tired as your whiney, self-entitled little rant is, dearie. If you think Verlaine was rough on you, you would never have survived a day in the NYC of your beloved Marquis Moon’s conception and recording. Get a grip.

    • Aeron M

      did you even READ what she wrote? she ASKED if her iphone camera would be ok, and they said YES! so blame the door people if anyone…

      Reply
    • Can You Fucking Read?

      Can you fucking read? “[I] asked the Teragram Ballroom staff if an iPhone was okay, and they said it was.” She asked, and was given permission from the venue to record with an iPhone.

      Reply
  4. Johnny

    Dickey and Joey- couldn’t agree more- Alyson, you’re lucky you didn’t get kicked in the teeth.

    Reply
    • Alyson

      Kicked in the teeth for using my phone? You are kidding right? I would have sued for that

      Reply
  5. Jens

    I think I read somewhere that Television were always strict about not permitting cameras, photos, sound recording at their gigs, even way back when they started. I do feel that bands that have this kind of policy rob themselves, as well as the fans, of a record of their progress, and even their high points.
    I mean, sometimes when you find decades old videos of bands on YouTube etc, it can be so precious to actually see a live performance, an original lineup, a pivotal moment, a lost venue. The no-video policy puts a stop to that. So I disagree with that policy, and I find it shortsighted and petty.

    Reply
  6. Nigel

    Rules don’t apply to the author, apparently. Perhaps Ms. Camus should consider offering herself for a position on Trump’s cabinet? Laws and rules are to her sole discretion as to whether she cares to follow them or not

    Reply
    • Can You Fucking Read?

      Can you fucking read? “[I] asked the Teragram Ballroom staff if an iPhone was okay, and they said it was.” She asked, and was given permission from the venue to record with an iPhone.

      Reply
  7. Didier Esteban

    You know surely Tom is a purist and if he asks for no camera the people in the concert have to respect that… It is what I’m thinking .

    Reply
  8. IanG

    100% with Tom on this. I hate people waving phones about in front of me when I’m trying to watch a gig.

    Reply
  9. Jason

    If it says no photography, it doesn’t mean, everyone except you, because usually no one cares and sometimes they appreciate it. It means they took the trouble to ask nicely and you responded by sticking a camera in their eyeline. You get what you deserve, an admittedly hyperbolic verbal thrashing.

    Reply
    • Can You Fucking Read?

      Can you fucking read? “[I] asked the Teragram Ballroom staff if an iPhone was okay, and they said it was.” She asked, and was given permission from the venue to record with an iPhone.

      Reply
  10. Woodstock

    Tom is obviously not in touch with modern day bootlegging… back in the 70’s-90’s – there was a market for bootleg footage that was readily available for sale at your local record convention or in the back of Goldmine magazine. Television indeed was one of the “anti-bootleg” bands that preferred not to have their material sold on the bootleg underground. (Even though there is much live material and video around) My friends and I used to sneak video cameras / recorders into concerts to record bands for posterity and many of those tapes found their way into bootleg record stores and private dealers hands.. Tom should thank his lucky stars he’s still a relevant and an admired artist that his fans want a memento of his performance. As far as “selling”… commercial bootlegging has died out with the rise of Youtube and social media sharing.

    Reply
  11. Danny

    You should have represented yourself as media before the show and not just a regular concertgoer. If you were using the camera light esp.in a club, it’s a huge distraction for performers (and there’s no reason for it if it’s in HD). It’s no different than if you aimed a laser pointer at him, esp.that close. Old school musicians are a different breed of performer and are usually knuckledraggers when it comes to technology. And yeah if Michael Stipe was there with his iPhone, he wouldn’t have gotten the “buddy hug” for fiming a few minutes.

    I think it’s fine to write this because it serves as a warning going to see him in concert, but I’ve seen people stop their shows and told people to stop filming or get out (mostly comedians though).

    Reply
    • Alyson

      okay but I have been to tens of concert at this place (Teragram) and I have always been able to use my pro camera without a photo pass. I saw QOTSA there and used my camera. As a matter of fact I saw Television there a few years back and could use this same camera. That’s why I didn’t bother to ask in advance. And there was no camera light. i don’t use flash and wasn’t using one on my iPhone

      Reply
  12. Billy Click

    I’ve been shooting concerts since I was 15. It’s a hobby. Used to be that aspiring photogs would try and sell their work to fans (I know of one successful guy who started his career out of a flea market stand). These days, people barely spend money on the music, let alone photos to stick on their bedroom wall, so nobody is gonna get rich like that. The reasons that performers give for prohibiting photography are myriad, but they all boil to two basic factors: greed and vanity/ego. Merchandising is one of the few good revenue streams left, so they don’t want you getting for free what they could sell you at $20-$30 bucks a pop. Besides that, they don’t want you passing around pics of them all sweaty, with their wig on crooked at the end of the set. That’s why when there is a photo pit, even the pros sometimes get tossed after the first three songs. To the best of my knowledge, however, nobody’s career has been killed by unflattering concert photos – and if I’m paying $150 or better to sit close, I’m hardly taking food off their table.

    Reply
  13. Arden49

    Well I personally know Tom and I think the “chop your head off” line is just a sarcastic NY kind of figure of speech. It is somewhat outlandish that you would whip up this rhetoric about violence and publish it. I also find it hard to believe that he would wrap him arm around your shoulder as well! He doesn’t like to touch people much!

    Reply
    • Alyson

      I can assure you he touched me, he brushed my hair in a very weird way at the end. I have witnesses and I know the person who was standing next to me. Obviously, he didn’t want to kill me, but his tone was not very nice.

      Reply
    • Alyson

      From someone who was standing next to me: ‘He was very aggressive, really put me off.’ you can check the comment on my Facebook page

      Reply
  14. Junkanoooo

    So sick of this entitled generation who do things just because they can without any regard for maybe they shouldn’t.

    Reply
  15. Kyle

    I recently went to a show on this tour, and was told clearly by the house along with signs everywhere in the venue to refrain from ALL photography. SO I DID! Did I want to take a picture? Yes! But I respected the artist’s wishes. I find it hard to believe that you thought you were totally within your right to take photos, videos or even hold up your phone when the artist asked you not to. This is art, and just as in a museum, if photography isn’t allowed, it isn’t allowed. Pretty simple. If your professional status excludes you from the rule, you should have made that visibly clear. The concert I attended had no photography period, even professional. The age of the artist, nor the newness of the rule (you mentioned being able to at concerts prior) doesn’t excuse you breaking it. It’s laughable that you felt strange and put off when confronted after you clearly didn’t respect the boundaries asked of you. No means no.

    Reply
    • Alyson

      Kyle, I was NOT told that pictures were not allowed, that’s my point, I clearly asked if iPhones pics were okay and I was told they were. There were no signs at all. As I said a million times now, my pro camera was not allowed but they allowed phones and regular cameras, so it’s not about me transgressing the rules. If the staff made a mistake and didn’t clearly understand the demand of the band, it’s not my fault. In any case, this was not an excuse to act like he did and threaten me!

      Reply
    • Can You Fucking Read?

      Can you fucking read? “[I] asked the Teragram Ballroom staff if an iPhone was okay, and they said it was.” She asked, and was given permission from the venue to record with an iPhone.

      Reply
  16. Elizabeth Smith

    Oh God, Alyson I’m afraid you don’t get around great artists that often. Age has nothing to do with it really. When one displays no manners or common sense, then these reactions should not be a surprise! If I were you I’d be embarrassed to post this nonsense. Grow up.

    Reply
    • Alyson

      I have been around a few great…. they all behaved like gentlemen, and I am not the one who should be embarrassed

      Reply
  17. Jake

    I’m sorry but fuck Tom Verlaine and ANYONE who is defending him right now.

    Plain and simple, he physically intimidated AND groped a woman without consent.

    That’s a giant problem and if any of you old rock clowns don’t see that, well, fuck you. Welcome to 2017… the fucked up debauchery of the 70s New York that you romanticize is dead! Just like you’ll be soon enough.

    Reply
  18. Paul Williams

    “Plus if in 2017 you feel threatened by someone and an iPhone, it just shows your age.”

    Yeah, it does…

    Your statement just proves you are an entitled ageist asshole.

    Your iPhone videos suck even though you *think* no one behind you can see the screen. Reality is you’re standing at the very front vibing out the artist and EVERYONE behind you can see and is distracted by your stupid phone no matter how close you claim you hold it to your chest.

    You’re a whiny ageist millennial blogger and you have zero respect for the artists because clearly you know better.

    Reply
  19. Paul Williams

    “…so tired of all these judgmental people actually”

    You seriously wrote this as a response?!

    Do you realize what an incredible hypocrite you are?

    Reply
  20. Mark Warner

    You said that the venue gave you permission to take photos. So then why were you filming? Big difference. That is why he got angry. Because you got away with filming other bands in the past doesn’t mean it is allowed. They told you that you could take pictures. End of story.

    Reply
  21. planetalien

    I experienced a FAIRLY similar situation with Tom back in 2013 when I saw Television for the very first time here in Chile, South America. It is probably (and was then) my favorite band to this day and during the gig Tom got really agressive with me, kneeled down and grabbed my neck too. It really put me off during the whole show. I was holding my phone up, of course. I wasn’t the only one, and my phone certainly had no flash and was far away from the buncha professional cameras that were around me, but still. I’ve seen Television twice and I know pretty well now Tom can’t stand cameras and will pick up on the first person that crosses his eyesight on the subject. I respect that no photos policy, and always will cause I truly love Tom and TV, but that doesn’t mean I back him up on the way he REACTS to that. I would understand him saying it, verbalizing it, but physically threatening a fan? No way. Someone said above he doesn’t touch people, YES HE DOES. When angry at least. Anyway, I spoke to Tom that same night and we kinda made peace and he was apologetic in his own way cause I guess he figured I was a young girl who meant no harm, and I’ve seen him offstage years after that and he was certainly cool and down to earth and funny and even willing to get photographed with me. But with Television during shows it’s a NO CAMERAS AT ALL policy or nothing. It negatively surprises me to read people’s reactions about your case tho, of course it’s TV and it’s the rules, I understand that, but what Tom did is certainly unreasonable, we have to admit that, no matter how much we enjoy the band, no matter whatever nyc tradition is behind the whole issue (which I bet he doesn’t give a shit about), fuck that.

    Reply

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