Robert Christgau called the man's work "Supremely self-conscious, utterly unschooled," but said he "writes like nobody else, sings like nobody else, plays like nobody else. His lyrics sound like his voice sounds like his guitar, laconic and extravagant at the same time."
Dave Marsh wrote that the man was "an interesting Jerry Garcia influenced guitarist who lacked melodic ideas or any emotional sensibility."
U2's the Edge cited him as "the only guitarist I heard who was saying something musically" and as a major influence -- "not stylistically, but in terms of approach and tearing up the rule-book."
Tony Parsons and Julie Burchill (whom Pete Townshend took to task in "Jools and Jim") dismissed him as a "fish-fingered axe-hero."
Of course, they're all talking about Tom Verlaine, frontman for the classic punk band Television and ongoing solo artist in his own right. Today in The New York Times, journalist Ben Sisario provides a nifty profile of what the 56-year-old singer-songwriter has been up to lately. In "The Return of Tom Verlaine: A Reluctant Guitar God Makes Up for Lost Time," the man who wrote "I fell right into the arms of Venus de Milo" is quoted as saying, "It's nice when people say nice things about you," he said, "but I don't always know what they're talking about."