Talking with Richard Lloyd is like being on a verbal roller coaster. Pick up the phone and hang on.
"Human laughter is so powerful that it's exported to other worlds as a precious commodity; like Vaseline, it's a lubricant. What produces laughter and guffaws ... is when both conflicting positive and alternate or negative impressions strike you at the same time, ones you're expecting and not expecting, you're overloaded with this strange energy you don't know what to do with and you laugh to balance yourself out again. That's the metaphysical mechanism of laughter. But let's get to the interview or we'll never get anywhere. I have touchpoints I'm supposed to reach ..."
We never quite get to those touchpoints — the who, when and where of Richard Lloyd. Instead Richard gives a tour of his universe — and maybe glances off a planet or two that you might recognize.
Richard was a founding member of Television, one of the most critically acclaimed acts of the 1970s, and later had a solo career and acted as a sideman with Matthew Sweet, John Doe and other artists. Television's debut album, "Marquee Moon," is regularly listed as one of the best albums of all time. In 2004, England's Mojo Magazine gave the disc the Classic Album Award.
Lloyd and Television drummer Billy Ficca, along with Danny Tamberelli ("Little Pete" from the classic television show "The Adventures of Pete and Pete") was set to perform on Thursday, June 21, at the Pilot Light with the Tim Lee 3 and The Strand. However, he had to cancel his show due to health reasons
Lloyd says he never had doubts about his future.
"Let me tell you this, at the age of 15 or 16 I made a determination about what the next 40 years of my life was going to look like. So I had these weird statements. People would ask me 'What are you going to be when you grow up?' and I would say 'I already am what I am going to be when I grow up ... I am a world-class renown in the pantheon of greatness league of guitarists and I, perhaps with others, will have an impact on the history of rock 'n' roll that will be irrevocable and indelible.' About a year ago a friend from back then wrote me and said 'Holy cow. I just remembered what you said back then and everything you said came true exactly.'"
He remembers when Television was first playing for Atlantic Records heads Jerry Wexler and Ahmet Ertegan and he overheard Ertegan tell Wexler: "I can't sign this band. It's not earth music!"
"I thought that was great!" says Lloyd. "I thought of us as alien teenage hoboes just dropped off on this planet!"
While Lloyd has won acclaim for his work, he says he isn't quite in control of what he creates.
"I don't play the guitar. The guitar plays me. I jostle the electrons in the electricity that travels to the amplifier. And when I come off the stage I sometimes think 'How did that happen? I'm not capable of it ... Three people can't do that.' Every breath you inhale (Richard inhales deeply) pulls the future towards you. You don't move, because you're always here and you're always now, aren't you? There's that famous (line) 'Wherever I go, there I am.' And if you ever achieve in meditation where you have gaps in your ahamsa or ego, the famous phrase is 'There I am, wasn't I?' Because as soon as you think again you're no longer in the state that you wanted to achieve in the first place."
He's had some ups and downs through the years, but Lloyd sees good in the future, including a collaboration with an unnamed music star.
"I had a rough time last year, like everybody. This year it's almost like the entire solar system took a U-turn and I am being showered with graces and opportunities. I don't know why. It's not my fault."
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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