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At the end of March 1974 Television played for the first time at CBGB, a seedy club on New York's Bowery – and punk rock was born. Before long they would be followed on to the stage there by Patti Smith, the Ramones and Blondie, while Malcolm McLaren would see them play and return hotfoot to London with the blueprint for the Sex Pistols.

Sonic Transmission presents the complete story of Richard Hell, Tom Verlaine and Television, from the very beginning to the present day, and includes two photo sections.


'A blow-by-blow history of the band – meticulously distilled ... with behind-the-scenes looks at the dynamics that fuelled Television, including the dicey relationship between Hell and Verlaine and the colourful NYC milieu the band operated within... To his credit, Mitchell also includes a selected timeline for both Hell's post-Television endeavours and Verlaine's solo activities... a solidly constructed report...' – HARP

'Mitchell does a damn fine job tracking the origins of Miller and Meyers (aka Verlaine and Hell) down to painting grey word pictures of their hometowns. He also outlines the number of lyrical references TV could be making... to his ex-significant other... Patti Smith. Fascinating in its own right... Mitchell makes some very astute judgment calls... The author's musical dissassembling of Television's songs is pretty sharp too' – 1-94 Bar

'It's awesome to read the early accounts of these dudes, how they came to NYC as itinerant lads at loose ends with reality and their subsequent involvement with the poetry scene as well as the New York Dolls heyday... if Verlaine and Hell had any significance in your life as poet/musicians then you kinda gotta get this' – Arthur

'After a few weeks of obsessive listening to the sterling slab of guitar-driven unbridled passion that is Television's debut album, this thin volume was just what the doctor ordered... author Tim Mitchell, a muso himself, has done a worthy job... of recounting Television's ascendancy, demise, and resurrection... Mitchell [has] researched founders Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell's early years and hometowns... and provides vivid descriptions of these two punk pioneers as literary-minded teenage '60s outcasts that set the scene nicely. He's also studied their obscuro early writings and does a worthy job of interpreting their themes, relating them to the authors' developing personae. He documents the evolution of the two friends' relationship and how it was reflected in their band's music until Hell's 1975 departure. He takes a non-sensationalistic approach to Verlaine's romantic-creative relationship with Patti Smith... Interesting insights abound' – 1-94 Bar

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Due to a publisher’s error, Sonic Transmission was printed without its twelfth chapter, ‘Little Johnny Jewel’. It can be read here.


Sonic Transmission should have been published with the following corrections:

p.1, ‘Wilmington, Delaware’ should be ‘Morristown, New Jersey’

p.9, the superscripted '65' should be '157'

p.12, 'Carson McCullers' should be ‘Cormac McCarthy’

p.21, the first superscripted '65' should be '157'

p.60, the superscripted '133' should be '58'; the superscripted '162' should be '79'

p.71, 'Golson' should be 'Gholson'

p.128 ‘Greek’ should be ‘Geek’

p.141 each superscripted '133' should be '58'.

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