The Tomorrow Show With Tom Snyder: Punk & New Wave is now available on DVD. The Tomorrow Show With Tom Snyder began it’s extended run in 1973 and ended in 1982. The Tomorrow Show With Tom Snyder: Punk & New Wave edition two disc DVD features eight episodes of the show. The episodes feature the full shows and performances. This DVD collection is a piece of history and is valuable not only for it’s musical content but to absorb the views and opinions shared by Tom and his guests.
The two set DVD opens up with the October 11, 1977 episode of The Tomorrow Show. In this episode Tom is joined by Joan Jett, Paul Weller, Bill Graham, Kim Fowley and Robert Hilburn. Tom, dragging on a cigarette, discusses this new thing called “punk music,” and what they perceive to be new wave. He is quite serious in his statements about the music form and even tells one of his male make-up wearing guests that he looks ridiculous. It’s a great discussion about what was then an emerging form of music.
This set is wonderful for fans of historical television and for punk/new wave fans. I’ll include the program list for those who are interested since it’s not with the Amazon description
October 11, 1977 – Joan Jett, Paul Weller, Bill Graham, Kim Fowley and Robert Hilburn in a roundtable discussion on the emergence of punk
February 3, 1981 – Elvis Costello & The Attractions
“New Lace Sleeves”
“Watch Your Step”
February 12, 1981 – Iggy Pop
“Five Foot One”
May 20, 1981 – The Plasmatics
May 11, 1978 – Patti Smith
June 25, 1980 – John Lydon
May 27, 1981 – The Jam
September 1, 1981 – The Ramones
“We Want The Airwaves”
“I Wanna Be Sedated”
“The KKK Took My Baby Away”
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As a host, Tom Snyder was hopelessly square and clueless when it came to interacting with these people but God love him he really tried to understand where they were coming from and what made Punk Rock music work. Looking back now, the roster of acts he had on – Iggy Pop, the Plasmatics and the Ramones – would never have been on any other national talk show (except maybe The Mike Douglas Show and even then).
On February 12, 1981, Snyder had Iggy Pop on his show. Iggy tears it up with three songs, “Dog Food”, “Five Foot One” and “TV Eye,” flailing around in his trademark fashion. He actually sits down with Snyder (something that rarely happens on talk shows now) sporting a missing tooth and a bloody nose, cracking jokes and speaking quite intelligently about his music.
Arguably the highlight of the entire set is the June 25, 1980 episode with a post-Sex Pistols John Lydon now with Public Image Limited. Lydon does not disappoint, being his usual sarcastic, snarky self, much to Snyder’s chagrin. As anyone who’s seen Lydon in action, he’s a tough interview even under the best of circumstances.
The two-disc set ends, rather fittingly, with the most enduring punk band, The Ramones who appeared on September 1, 1981. The crowd was packed with their enthusiastic fans as they rip through “We Want the Airwaves”, “I Wanna Be Sedated” and “The KKK Took My Baby Away.” They are as tight as ever and sound great.
These episodes are fascinating snap shots of another time, like when it was fashionable to smoke on camera. Snyder always seems to have a cigarette in his hand and even gives John Lydon a smoke in an attempt to gain his trust. It is something you would never see today.
Would like to propose marriage to Shout! Factory as one of the coolest reissue houses ever. Punk + New Wave + one of the best late night talk show hosts ever, the sorely missed, due as much to his multihued helmet hair, Northern Midwest delivery and Jim Henson’s Creature Shop worthy eyebrows, as his guests (If you caught any of Harlan Ellison’s appearances on TS’s shows, you know what I mean), T.S., Tom Snyder with you on the colorcast this evening.
Yes, the Clash and the still respectable-at-the-time U2 are MIA, but let’s focus on the positive. The Ramones, even w/o Tom there, are absolutely brilliant, tight, and not rushing things (guess Dee Dee had some heroin and Marky threw back a few before taping). The Plasmatics are great and I have to find their albums now. Elvis Costello is his usual eloquent, “could listen to the man read the phone book” self (Tom admits how enjoyable interviewing Mr. MacManus was). Best of all, NO RONA BARRETT, which led to the show’s demise.
Is it perfect? Well no. The roundtable episode was kind of useless. Not enough airtime given to Joan Jett and Paul Weller. Iggy was creepier than usual, missing a tooth. The PiL episode weren’t nearly as bad as legend led me to think (Keith was quite open when John shut up). And two of my favorite songs (The Jam’s “Funeral Pyre” and Iggy’s “TV Eye”) are edited versions played out over the end credits.
Still, it’s amazing that these episodes exist. I hope more episodes come out as Tom was surprisingly cutting edge for such a square middleager from the Midwest. Made the rest of us look good. We miss you, Tom! Please come back and bring Harlan with you!