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Published on Mar 5, 2013
Richard Hell is one of the founding fathers of Punk Music. Born Richard Meyers in Kentucky, after dropping out of school he moved to New York with literary ambitions. In 1972 he formed the band 'The Neon Boys' with his schoolfriend Tom Miller and drummer Billy Ficca. The following year the band became 'Television', with Meyers and Miller assuming the names Richard Hell and Tom Verlaine, and they recruited young guitarist Richard Lloyd.
Television discovered the legendary CBGB, the club out of which American Punk music developed, in 1974. During his time in Television, Hell also developed a unique look, wearing battered and torn clothing, which was the key visual inspiration for the Sex Pistols. He left Television in 1975 and joined former New York Dolls Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan in 'The Heartbreakers' for a year, before forming his own band 'Richard Hell and The Voidoids'. After recording two albums, the band split, and Hell went into partial retirement, although since the late 1990s he's returned to writing.
In this interview Hell discusses his various influences, Andy Warhol and pre-punk pioneers The Velvet Underground, watching The New York Dolls at Mercer Arts Centre, Television, CBGB, heroin, The Heartbreakers, The Voidoids, and the UK Punk scene.