Friday, December 31

Jonathan Richman, Citizen

from OC Weekly

The modern lover lives in the modern world

by Jim Washburn

Jonathan Richman has been listening a bunch to Aqnazar, a one-named, timeless-voiced singer/accordion player from Tajikistan. It’s not the easiest stuff to find, so he thought you might want to know the website for Aqnazar’s French distributor:

more backstage

How I Became a Modern Lover

image from

I went into this when I was sixteen and one of the reasons I started was that I knew I had no standard voice. I just wanted top show in a way that anyone could do it. Anyone. It didn't matter how pretty your voice was. All you had to have was feeling. People said it took courage to do what I did when I was performing alone and only knew two chords on the guitar, but it was just something I wanted to do so badly, no one could have stopped me.

-- Jonathan Richman, in Yakety Yak by Scott Cohen

Friday, December 24


her mystery not of high heels or eye shadow

vintage 1999

From: Tim
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 1999
Subject:: Santa Day Tunes

At the moment, my fave Christmas song is Buck's rewrite of "Santa Baby" on their Christmas In My Heart 7" (Sympathy for the Record Industry). ('Think of all the groupies that I haven't kissed' comes to mind as one of the better altered lines)

But I'm also partial to Mary Margaret O'Hara's take on Blue Christmas on her Christmas EP (Koch).

By the way - does anyone else think that Rudolph's acceptance on the basis of his red nose for foggy Christmas eves means that he is generally rejected on clear Christmas eves (not to mention that he should be liked holistically, not just for one physical trait...of course, this brings to mind the question of why he isn't liked...I know all sorts of very popular people with physical oddities/what have you...or might I be overreading just a tad? :) )?

-- Tim

Note: This is a vintage post from the old list.

last look

Jim's Guitar Shop is shutting down, have a look at it before it goes away. Gorgeous pictures of naked guitars...

Thursday, December 23


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vintage 1998

From: geoff
Date: Fri, 4 Dec 1998
Subject: Re: Guitar answer and another ?

On Fri, 4 Dec 1998, ANTHONY wrote:

way he does? I mean, alot of the songs are simple chord progressions, but he makes them sound SO COOL! Anybody have a better read on this than me, 'cause I'm just blown away. - Tony

I'm afraid the trick is really just Imagination. Most of what he does abides by the most basic rules of pop songs - seven note scales with carefully chosen blue notes, plus some of the chromatics that surf/flamenco music allows.

The other trick, I suppose, is that Jonathan has chosen to stick within basic song structure and master it, which is not an obvious choice for a musician. Many people bang their heads against the wall trying to come up with their own challenges to tonality, structure, rhythm etc, thinking they've got to break some kind of new ground before they come up with something good. It *is* hard to make something out of the 1-4-5 progression with the ghosts of Wild Thing and Louie Louie and Hang On Sloopy and Little Doll and Leavin On A Jet Plane and Hey Good Lookin all looking over your shoulder, and I thank Jonathan for proving to me that there is still a lot to be mined from the primordial rock veins... as long as you've got the style and class to refine the ore.

-- Geoff

Note: This is a vintage post from the old list.

tour dates

Update: Current known tour dates are listed in sidebar (look to the right). If you know of any upcoming Jonathan Richman show dates that are not listed there, please let us know!

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PO Box 8024

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vintage 1997

From: rosebud
Date: Fri, 26 Dec 1997
Subject: More Beserkely

goran.k wrote:

There was no volume 2, but there was a "Beserkley's Back" album in 78 with a number of Jonathan songs picked from Beserkley albums included.

There was also "Great Ideas from Beserkely-5000 Watts" in 1977 with Ice Cream Man.

And a live German TV concert released as a double album in 1978 called "Bezerk Times: Beserkley Gruppen Stürmen Deutschland" featuring the Rubinoos, Earth Quake, Tyla Gang, and Greg Kihn but no Jonathan Richman.

-- rosebud

Note: This is a vintage post from the old list.

Alive & Kicking – Jonathan Richman

December 13 & 14, Tractor Tavern
By Chris McCann

In one of the songs on his newest album (Not So Much To Be Loved As To Love), Jonathan Richman sings, “He gave us the wine to taste, not to talk about it.” On one level the lyrics tell the story of a wine tasting, but they can also be read as a gloss of Richman’s three-decade career making music that begs for empathy, not analysis.

more backstage

Monday, December 13

Review: Not So Much to be Loved

By Darryl Sterdan)

Puberty eminent

Some guys never change. Thankfully — and somewhat amazingly — Jonathan Richman is not one of those guys.

On his latest disc Not So Much to be Loved as to Love, the eternally naive troubadour finally sounds as if he's — get this — maturing.

Sure, he still strums that acoustic guitar and warbles with all the earnest simplicity of a camp counsellor at a cookout.

And he still writes songs about painters and Sunday afternoons.

But during the course of this 15-track set, the 53-year-old singer-songwriter also explores more grownup and weighty topics like Mumia Abu-Jamal and mortality.

You could say it's not so much a shock as it is a pleasant surprise.

Track Listing:

• 1. Not So Much To Be Loved As To Love
• 2. Sunday Afternoon
• 3. Vincent Van Gogh
• 4. Cosi Veloce
• 5. He Gave Us The Wine To Taste It
• 6. Salvador Dali
• 7. My Baby Love Love Loves Me
• 8. In Che Mondo Viviamo
• 9. Behold The Lilies Of The Field
• 10. Les Etoiles
• 11. The World Is Showing It's Hand
• 12. Abu Jamal
• 13. On A Du Soleil

Sun rating (out of 5 stars)
3 1/2

Thank you to Adam for this.

Friday, December 10

December 9, 2004

Bernard Perusse, Montreal Gazette

"A question about what kind of music he's listening to these days rekindled the enthusiasm, drawing high praise for Tajik vocalist Aqnazar, Argentinian pop group El Simbolo and singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt. And, as often happens when Richman tackles that topic, conversation turned to Neil Young. The voice on the other end of the line began to croon Are You Passionate?

"I still play that on guitar. Ah, what a great melody," he said. A suggestion that Young is an underrated melody writer almost had him shouting: "Damn right!," he said, singing Lotta Love to support the argument. "What a guy! What melodies he makes!"

Another bona fide legend, David Bowie, covered Richman's Pablo Picasso last year, but a query about Bowie's version committed the fatal sin of bringing the talk back to Richman's music. "I haven't heard it yet," came the credibility-straining answer. "But it's always nice when people do stuff.""