Wag the dog

Musical virtuoso and former guitarist for legendary prog-punk band Television Richard Lloyd hasn't gotten where he is by letting his guitar control him.

His best friend as a teenager, according to a legend Lloyd himself has recently fostered, was a young kid named Velvert Turner, whom Lloyd claims is the only authenticated protégé of Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix, the story goes, gave Turner permission to teach Lloyd everything he knew.

The Hendrix saga is the backstory for Lloyd's upcoming album of Hendrix covers, called The Jamie Neverts Story; "Jamie Neverts" was the code name Lloyd and Turner used to refer to Hendrix so the other kids didn't know who they were talking about.

When asked by Creative Loafing to explain the cover art of his latest album, 2007's The Radiant Monkey, Lloyd answered, "Mankind is in a juncture. He's in his puberty and if he doesn't eliminate tribalism and face his own inner animals and create his own Noah's ark and face them with affection and compassion, he won't turn into the Radiant Monkey."

In other words, Richard Lloyd is on a level that his fellow land mammals would find quite unfamiliar. Still, there's his history: He helped New York's CBGB club get off the ground, took part in one of the greatest albums of all time (Television's Marquee Moon), created a successful solo career and now he's channeled his energies into teaching a new generation.

On his website (www.richardlloyd.com), Lloyd offers guitar lessons in a way that's patently his own. He encourages musicians to break in their guitars, to punish their instruments when they get out of line with, say, "a somewhat angry musical flourish." He goes on: "If a man is walking a dog and the dog is so well-trained that it heels at all times, it is hardly to be noticed. But if a man is walking a well-trained dog and the dog strays from its discipline, and the man brings it back to heel with a sharp snap on the leash, the relationship between the man and his dog becomes plainly visible, and is brought into a stronger awareness."

Got that, kids?

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