5 Things You Might Not Know About Richard Hell

Thursday, December 7, 2017
5 Things You Might Not Know About Richard Hell

Richard Hell is one of the key members of the original New York punk scene, having been part of Television and The Heartbreakers (the one that didn’t back Tom Petty), and he also fronted his own band The Voidoids. But how much else do you know about this punk legend? Well, soon you’ll know five more things, provided you just keep reading.

1. He met his future bandmate Tom Verlaine when they were both attending the Sanford School in Delaware.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given their future professions as a punk rockers, neither Hell nor Verlaine took well to the structure of a private school. Indeed, they absconded from the school together at one point and made their way to Alabama, where they were arrested for arson and vandalism. Does it get any more punk than that?

2. He published poems under the pseudonym “Theresa Stern.”

Stern’s 1973 book Wanna Go Out? featured a photo of the author which was actually a combination of Hell’s face and Verlaine’s faces in drag.

3. He inspired the look of the Sex Pistols.

Not that he did so intentionally, but Malcolm McLaren, the band’s manager, went on record and confirmed that it was Hell who gave him the inspiration for both the Pistols’ look and attitude.

4. One of the first reviews of Hell’s band, Television, was written by Patti Smith.

Actually, that’s more of a fact about Smith than it is about Hell, but it’s still a pretty interesting piece of trivia, if you ask us.

5. He sang on a track for the lone album by The Heads, the post-Byrne incarnation of Talking Heads.

Appropriately, the album was called NO TALKING, JUST HEADS, and Hell’s contribution was entitled “Never Mind,” for which he not only provided vocals but also lyrics.

P.S.  Richard Hell And The Voidoids - Blank Generation (40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition), a
2-LP limited edition of 4,500 copies on 140-gram black vinyl, is now available at your local record store.