Tangent on Antonioni — and Tom Snyder

I don’t want to continue a debate over Ingmar Bergman here, but there is an odd connection between the late film director Michelangelo Antonioni and another famous person who passed away in the last few days, late-night talk show host Tom Snyder: They were both players in two strange tangents in rock history (for those who find that kind of thing interesting).

Antonioni’s Blowup includes a nightclub scene featuring the Yardbirds, the band where guitar legends Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, and Eric Clapton first honed their chops — in the only widely distributed film footage of Beck and Page playing together as Yardbirds.

A little over decade later, Tom Snyder, on the late-night “Tomorrow Show” attempted to interview John Lydon (a.k.a. ex-Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten) and Keith Levene of Public Image Ltd. The result was one of the most bizarre moments in television history, as Snyder grows increasingly frustrated at his guests’ flippant nihilism. The tension is so thick you can cut through it, though Lydon’s stated disdain for music in favor of commerce is amusing (“We ain’t no band; we’re a company”).

Both of the events above may be footnotes, but they’re still memorable in ways no one thought of at the time.