Thursday, May 29, 2008
10.16.07: THE TELEVISION PERSONALITIES
Britain's Television Personalities enjoyed one of the new wave era's longest, most erratic, and most far-reaching careers. Over the course of a musical evolution that led them from wide-eyed shambling pop to the outer reaches of psychedelia and back, they directly influenced virtually every major pop uprising of the period, with artists as diverse as feedback virtuosos the Jesus and Mary Chain, twee pop titans the Pastels, and lo-fi kingpins Pavement readily acknowledging the Television Personalities' inspiration.
The Television Personalities were the brainchild of singer/songwriter Dan Treacy, who grew so inspired by the nascent punk movement that he recorded a 1977 single, "14th Floor," with his friends in the group O Level. The BBC's John Peel became a vocal supporter of the group, which was soon dubbed the Television Personalities. With releases on Rough Trade, Illuminated, and Fire they spawned a new breed of psychedelia throughout the late 70's and all throughtout the 80's.
In 1981 Dan Tracey and Ed Ball launched their own label Whaam!(named after the Roy Litchenstein painting). Both Dan and Ed were leading figures in the contemporary psychedelic revival, and the influence was evident. By 1983 a legal dispute with a pressing plant prohibited Dan from putting out the record on his own Whaam! label so Dan set up the Dreamworld label as the successor to Whaam!, initially to reissue the early TVP albums. He soon began releasing recordings by other bands, including the Mighty Lemon Drops and Hangman's Beautiful Daughter.
By the mid-late 90's Dan Treacy appeared to retire from actively recording and touring. Apart from occasional meetings with record labels for reissues and compilation albums, he kept a low profile. Rumours of depression, heroin addiction and homelessness surfaced from time to time until finally in 2004 Treacy wrote a letter to Iain Baker, an old friend and DJ at London's XFM. In it he disclosed that he was incarcerated on a prison boat in Dorset. Following his release in June of 2004, Treacy set about resurrecting the TVPs, playing some gigs and posting a hilarious web journal. Finally, in March of 2006 a new album, My Dark Places, was released on the influential Domino label.
Tonight on WE'RE GONNA BE TIMELESS we will be taking you on a tour through the world of the Televison Personalities, Whaam! and Dreamworld Records, its various members offshoot bands: Missing Scientists, O'Level, Teenage Filmstars, the Times, Gifted Children, Slaughter Joe, Jowe Head, and artists who we're on Dan and Ed's label: the Pastels, Page Boys, the Mixers, the Direct Hits, Marble Staircase, The Impossible Years, Go! Service, Le Mat, Marine Girls, and the list goes on and on.