Richard Lloyd’s not big on surprises.
Rather than keep fans guessing, the former guitarist of the lauded New York band Television has posted the entire repertoire for his current tour on his Web site, right down to a set of Jimi Hendrix covers he’s performing under the alter ego moniker of Jaime Neverts.
“I was going to print it out and hand it out at the shows, but I thought maybe that’s too much,” says Lloyd, 56. “Do you want it to be a surprise when you go see us play? I have mixed feelings about it, but I have better mixed feelings about not having people yell out song titles. And I have better mixed feelings about people sort of knowing what to expect.
“And I feel good about people not going into shock when I tell them we’re gonna begin with Sanskrit chanting and prayers in Aramaic.”
He’s kidding. We think. Lloyd laments that “nobody gets a chance to check out my humor and my wit,” particularly when interviewers (ahem) edit his expansive comments into shorter quotes. Take, for instance, his discussion about his upcoming studio album, “Radiant Monkey,” which is due out this fall. “You may not speak the term! We refer to it as ‘RM,’ ” declares Lloyd, even though he’s posted the title on his Web site. But, he explains, his first release since 2001 is so good that he doesn’t want to let too much of the monkey out of the cage — yet.
“It’s a perfect record,” says Lloyd, who earlier this year released a deluxe edition of his 1985 solo album, “Field of Fire.” “As a personal statement, (‘RM’ is) as strong as (Television’s) ‘Marquee Moon’ or (the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s) ‘Axis: Bold as Love’ or (Patti Smith’s) ‘Horses’ ... anything you can think of.
“Maybe I’m overconfident. Maybe I’m telling the truth. Maybe I’m gonna become a social phenomenon, a household word. We’ll just have to wait to see.”
Lloyd, who plays every- thing but drums on “RM,” says he’s being secretive right now because he’s in the midst of formulating a “really hot” campaign to promote the album.
“There’s philosophy involved in ‘RM,’ “ he says. “There’s religion involved in ‘RM.’ There’s a board game and a dance.
“I can’t tell you about it all because that would spoil the surprise. And everyone likes surprises, don’t they?”
One thing that did come as a bit of a shock for some fans was Lloyd’s decision earlier this year to leave Television, which he co-founded in 1973 and helped to reunite in 1992 after a 14-year hiatus. He plans to play one final show with the band, on June 16 as part of New York’s annual Summerstage series, before devoting “my own magnetic force and supernatural powers on my own career” — particularly “RM.”
“It’s amicable,” Lloyd says of the split. “I love all four of the guys — including me. But I can’t ride two horses. I took a vow in ’73 to be invisible so that Tom (Verlaine) could be the leader so there’d be no challenge in public, and I’ve held to that. But the new record I have is too good to give a half-assed effort.”
Richard Lloyd & the Sufi Monkeys and Oscillating Fan Club perform Monday (May 14th) at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 10 p.m. Tickets are $10. Call (313) 833-9700 or visit www. majesticdetroit.com.
Send your thoughts and comments to