Wednesday, September 16

Fall Tourdates!

Visit to see Jonathan's tour schedule for fall 2015.

Tuesday, July 28

N.Y. rocker article

Check out this interesting article and questionnaire from the 70's: article

Thursday, June 18

When We Refuse to Suffer (cover)

As long as were posting covers. I would like to venture another one.  This is from the Baby Were a Richman tribute which seems to have somehow totally disappeared from the web  (did not even know that was possible).   It is Dustin and the Furniture.   He doesn't stint to add/change lyrics to address the particular perpective of a twenty-something.

Dustin's career seems to have fizzled unfortunately (judging by web activity).  That is unfortunate because he seemed to be an inspired lad.

Tuesday, June 16

Interview with KLCC

via Debbie Gulyas of Blue Arrow Records

Interesting interview with Eric Alan from KLCC, NPR for Oregonians:

Here's a transcript of the interview:

Interview starts with excerpt from the released Single version of "Oh Sun"

I'm Eric Alan for KLCC.

Jonathan Richman continues to pursue his unique musical path long after his band the Modern Lovers helped define the punk era in the 1970's, a band whose first incarnation included Jerry Harrison of the Talking Heads and David Robinson of the Cars.

Jonathan Richman and drummer Tommy Larkins are touring behind new songs issued on 7" vinyl singles and they'll perform at the Axe & Fiddle in Cottage Grove on Monday evening June 8th.

In a conversation from his northern California home Jonathan talks about the initial influences that inspired his entry into music.

Before I sang I drew and painted all day long as a teenager so when I heard music first actually it was the Lovin' Spoonful that grabbed me the color and their sound and then the Velvet Underground and when I heard them I heard the colors and the sound and I went "my gosh, this is it this is like painting and sound and with electric guitars like that you can paint moods and atmospheres and rhythm and color in front of the audience"

That entry in music was made easier by parents who supported his teenage decision to pursue music professionally and that parental trust inspires one of his new songs an ode of gratitude called "They Showed Me The Door to Bohemia".

An excerpt from the single version of "Bohemia" is played...
Well, my parents didn't laugh at me and my pretentious artwork when I was sixteen. They knew I had to start somewhere so they just dropped me off at Harvard Square. They knew that, well, Jonathan has to find his way somehow to Bohemia. That's how it goes, he's one of them. They didn't mind. It wasn't...they didn't mind.

There I was in Harvard Square. Pretentious artwork in my hand. The hipsters saw me standing there they could see this young man had to find his way to Bohemia.

You knew the second my parents were loose about it really made it easier it was one less thing for me to have to fight against. That they trusted my judgement made it much easier for me to learn the things that I had to learn. Once they realized I was serious about it that I wasn't just an "entertainer" as my father put it...that didn't thrill him...once they saw that I cared about the music then they were in.

The Modern Lovers had their song "Roadrunner" covered by the Sex Pistols and Joan Jett among others and Jonathan Richman's career has since included numerous solo albums, a major on-screen role in the hit movie "There's Something About Mary", and many appearances on Late Night with Conan O'Brien.

At this point in his career Jonathan Richman is still looking to one of his other influences for inspiration namely Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones in a new song called "Keith".

An excerpt from the Single version of "Keith Richards" is played...
Oh Keith Richards,
No one plays guitar like you,
Oh Keith Richards,
No plays guitar like you
Not exactly the blues
Cause its sorta European too

Jonathan Richman has a noted distrust of digital technology...he adamantly doesn't have a website, doesn't participate in on-line culture and much prefers issuing music on vinyl over CD.

When I express admiration for his ability to keep distant from addictive electronics he tells me that it wouldn't be so hard for me to follow the same path.

There's nothin' to it you got a window?

I do.

Ok, you got your technology right in your hand near ya?

I do.

You see the window?


You see what's comin' next? See where I'm headed with this?

I do!

Anybody can do this you know...the window is there...and there's the big old dirt outside waiting for a big bunch of big plastic technology.

His preference for vinyl is a sonic one echoing the thoughts of many who prefer the warm tone of records in comparison to CD's or digital files.

It also resonates with the young audiences he says he's finding.

I like the way it sounds a billion times better and a lot of our fans are in their twenties and teens and as me and Tommy my drummer travel around we notice a lot of record stores. Who are they owned and operated by? People in their early twenties. What do they sell? Vinyl. They're into vinyl and I think they're right. I applaud their decision. It shows they've got good ears cause you can hear the difference.

Over the course of the years Jonathan Richman has sometimes sung in other languages besides English and that trend continues with the new song called "Wait Wait" inspired by the poetry of Juan Ramón Jiménez.

One of my good pals from Madrid who also sings backup on it, David Menendez turned me on to this guy Juan Ramón Jiménez. He send me a little booklet that he made of his stuff and when I got to that poem from Eternidades I went "oh my god, that's totally musical.

An excerpt from the Single version of "Wait Wait" is played...

When I express my appreciation for the beauty of the Spanish language and it's rhythms in comparison to English he defends the beauty of English and I have to concede the point.

Oh c'mon English is great! English has got big one syllable words like "I love". You can like say it in two syllables in English. You can say like with Cole Porter "I get a kick out of you". All of those one-syllable words? English is a fabulous language for songs. Like, um Robert know those songs...English is great for this stuff, it's just a different vibe, a different rhythm it just rhymes real differently. So some sentiments come out better in some languages and some in the other, that's why I do the different languages. A lot of times the sentiment comes out better in one language than the other for me.

Perhaps I'm just too hard on my own native language I suppose it's easy sometimes to be hard on our own culture.

Well look at all the variety. James Joyce which language did he write? English I do believe, no?


Gerard Manley Hopkins, W B Yeats, English all. The list is endless. I'm just warming up! Shakespeare I do believe. English no? English si? Fabulous.

Jonathan Richman expresses how much more comfortable he was early on in live performance as opposed to making albums and his approach to current concerts remains one of being in the moment; according to the situation with which he's presented.

You sniff the air. I don't have one idea, like "Oh I want to create x mood". You get in the room, you make up some of your songs, some of the songs you sing that you already know, and the mood that you want starts to be created by the room itself, the vibe of the room, and who shows up most importantly and you can't predict that.

Do not come to this show expecting what most folks my age do which is retrospective and a little of this and a little of that...No! You might hear nothing older than six months old at one of these shows.


The interview ends with Eric plugging Jonathan's upcoming show and involvement with Blue Arrow Records.
Another excerpt from the "Bohemia" single is played as an outro.

Friday, May 15

Jonathan Does Casablanca

Check out Jonathan's latest activity on the stage...
A huge casting coup for this local adaptation was in the role of Sam—a black piano player in the movie—who is played here by world-renowned singer/songwriter Jonathan Richman (listed in the program as Michel DeMenilmontant but properly credited on the cast’s wall photos). Richman, who now lives in Chico, provides low-volume incidental French-accented guitar music throughout as well as one featured number sung in French, in addition to a touching rendition of the film’s iconic theme song, "As Time Goes By".

Wednesday, May 13

You’ve got mail, from Jonathan Richman! Also Summer Tour 2015

Debbie Gulyas of Blue Arrow Records recently contacted us to request questions Jonathan Richman might answer on Jojoblog!  We are honored that he agreed to this arrangement and happy to see he chose to illustrate his handwritten communication with drawings! 

For years Jonathan faithfully replied to his fan mail, taking it seriously and delighting countless fans with “old school” letters that would be mailed from wherever he happened to be on the road.  This letter to Jojoblog readers continues the tradition in the same genial spirit:  an echo of the past, present in the now.

Blue Arrow Records released the recent vinyl records "O Sun" backed with "Wait Wait Wait" and "Keith" backed with "The Door to Bohemia."  Have a look around their web site and read their story here:

Nugrape sent a numbered list of questions and Jonathan responded to number 5, which is why the letter begins with the number 5.

This is the email Debbie sent to go with the letter:
Greetings to everyone! I am pleased to send you the first answer to one of your questions that I received in the mail today from Jonathan. It's perfect timing, since he and Tommy will begin their summer West Coast tour in June! I am also attaching the poster Jonathan made for this tour.

You are free to post these on the blog as long as you let people know that Jonathan does not use the internet or own a computer and these are being sent through me to reach his fans.

Enjoy! I will send another answered question in a month.


As you can see, the other big news is summer tour for Jonathan Richman and Tommy Larkins beginning in June for West Coast USA and Vancouver.  The itinerary with details is on High Road Touring:

The tour poster artwork (see down below) by Jonathan is like a song in progress, you can envision the energy and feel the beat, dark of night and spotlit stage- it’s wonderful.


This is the content of the letter from Jonathan Richman, for those who need to run it through a translator:

5. How has touring changed?

Ya still throw the gear in the back and drive just like when I was 19. The U.S.A. isn’t the same place so that’s changed.

Highways used to look like this:

Here a great mural type drawing, intersections of a bustling highway with crowds of people, cars and lots of one-of-a-kind neon)

Whereas they now look like this:

Here a sort of sterile depiction of modular interstate scene/vanishing point that could be Anyplace, USA)

But playing the shows is sometimes more fun (
here something marked out straight through) than it ever was, anyway.

Tommy and I both love the way things have been going with the audiences these last most recent years. I wouldn’t trade. I have also changed. I don’t have the chip on my shoulder I once had. (
here a passage scribbled out in coils like a Jackson Pollock painting).

So I just like “now.” The past is past: give me “now.”
The past was cozy and had color everywhere. “Now” is bleak, but even so, give me “now.”

Tommy drives about 70%. Me the other 30%.

But I’m the one who always pumps the gas, for some reason.

Click images to see original size.

Sunday, April 19

Not Yet Three

Another fun and inspired cover video from Eytan Mirsky. Subscribe to his YouTube Channel for a ton more...

Monday, April 6

New Single: "O Sun"/"Wait Wait"

Check out Jonathan's new single!
Also, a review from

Checkout Jonathan's High Road Touring page to hear "Wait Wait"