Friday, February 25

I'm not obsessed with her *

I’m not obsessed with her, is something wrong,
Does that mean that I don’t feel love for her so strong?
I’m not obsessed with her, why should that be,
Does that mean that it’s not love, between her and me?

I don’t worry about her past boyfriends,
I don’t seek out her past addresses,
Which is all strange for me, who usually obsesses,

There’s no real crush on her, no mistrust of her,
I’m not obsessed with her… is something wrong?

I don’t press her for more detail; I don’t care what’s gone on before,
Which is all strange for me, who wanted more and more,
There’s no real crush on her, no mistrust of her,
No, I’m not obsessed with her… is something wrong?

I don’t worry about her past boyfriends,
I don’t seek out her past addresses,
This is a strange feeling for one, who usually obsesses,

I’ve no real crush on her, no mistrust of her,
I’m not obsessed with her… is something wrong?

Performed lots during 1999 & 2000

* Unreleased song

Tuesday, February 22

Robin Wills and Jonathan

Robin Wills, lead guitar from The Barracudas, kindly agreed to answer a few Jonathan related questions I asked him a few days ago.
The Barracudas are a band which I like a lot, they started in 1979 and are still active to this day. As Jonathan, they evolved through the years. From the revamped energetic surf/garage type of music they did at their beginnings, they switched to a Flamin’ Groovies/Byrds kind of style. They have always kept their uprightness, never compromising. They are obviously cult heroes in France. Though “Drop out with the Barracudas” and “Meantime” are genuine classics, I highly recommend all of their albums. So here’s Robin :

Hey Jacques...voici les reponses...

- What is the first Jonathan song you ever heard ?
It must have been Roadrunner on the UA issue of Bezerkley Chartbusters...

- were you familiar with the "Boston scene" (Willie Loco, the Real Kids, the Lyres..) ?
Yeah..It must have been in 76' when Philippe Garnier did a great piece on Boston in Rock'n'Folk. The stuff on The Rat and the Real Kids really perked up my interest. We then met up with Marc Thor in the early days of the Cudas and played Smoketrack and Circling LA with him as a special guest in London...great songs. Willie Alexander also made a huge impact on my psyche with Kerouak.

- Favourite period , ante or post Modern Lovers ?
Early Modern Lovers for sure.

- Favourite album ?
The first album...A perfect mix : Lou Reed meets The Stooges on Bubblegum

- Favourite song ?
Government Center, Hospital, New Teller

- Any anecdote related to Jonathan ?
Met Jonathan in 77. He was standing at the entrance of The Marquee for a Rubinoos show. He was reading Zen in full view of everybody entering. We talked about guitars and the best ones to use for Surf music. When The Rubinoos came on, he covered his ears and complained that they were too loud!

- What do you think of his cameo appearance in "Something about Mary"?
Just thinking that he still looked so young

- Were/are there other members of the Barracudas who are fans.
I'm sure Jeremy dug him...but we were too busy focussing on trying to be The Standells!

- I imagine quite well Jonathan covering "Grammar of misery", is there any Jonathan song you could imagine the 'Cudas to cover ?
Well Hospital could be fun idea.

Thanks a lot Robin. I am looking forward to listen to the new 'Cudas release, due in April.

Friday, February 18

Jon Richman part 8

Jonathan expresses a love for Ogden Nash, as the rhymes in "Abdul and Cleopatra" bear out. He also likes Robert Burns and ancient Persian poets. I mention that St. Thomas Aquinas said God had a discernible purpose for all things except mosquitos and Jonathan cracks up; his "I'm Nature's Mosquito" deals with that.

"I said, 'There must be a reason for this, too, if there's a reason for all those other things.' That's why I made up that song."

Is he religious?

"I'm religious in the way that I think God had a purpose for mosquitos. To me that makes me religious."

Jerry Harrison commented that "Jonathan always sees himself as the free spirit. Everyone else is constrained, not willing to go to the edge where he is and therefore he has to move on. I'm sure he sees it as a continuous process of moving on. Those who can, follow him. He has this belief system and this whole thing about trust and honor and being an honorable person all through his songs. But it sort of wore thin. There was somewhat of a difference to me between words and actions at some point."

to be continued

by Bill Flanagan Trouser Press November 1979

go back to part 7

Thursday, February 17

Beth Harrington

I have always been fond of the Ellie and Beth Modern Lovers line up. Ellie Marshall is still in Boston, singing, but Beth is now living in Oregon and has become an acknowledged film maker/producer. In 2002, she shot a documentary about the women of rockabilly and here is an interesting part of an interview concerning Jonathan by Carla A. Desantis ..

Enjoy !

The world may not have been ready for the likes of rockabilly queens Wanda Jackson, Brenda Lee, Janis Martin, and Lorrie Collins back in the '50s, but their inspirational stories - both individually and collectively - will surely strike a chord with female artists today.

Sassy and tough, the women profiled in the PBS documentary film WELCOME TO THE CLUB - The Women of Rockabilly were ahead of their time as players in rock's earliest days, and all are still making music today.

Narrated by Roseanne Cash, the film recounts the challenges and joys of these unique and un- sung heroines of rock. We asked Portland, Oregon-based producer/director/writer Beth Harrington (a former singer with Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers) how she came to film this inspiring tribute.

Tell me a little about your life in The Modem Lovers.

I was one of two original female members of the Modem Lovers. The other was my friend, Ellie Marshall. We toured with Jonathan Richman and the band from 1980 to 1983 all across the US and Canada, and made an album on Sire Records entitled Jonathan Sings. I was 25 years old when Jonathan asked me to join and it was a funny time. I loved rock & roll and I loved to sing. I had been a fan of Jonathan's for many years. We are both from Boston and I used to go see his band.

I'd always secretly wanted to be in a band, but there weren't a lot of opportunities for a woman to be in a rock band. It never occurred to me that I should go out and do it myself. I guess this underscores the value of role models.

The real trailblazers like Patti Smith and Deborah Harry were out there, but there weren't a lot of utility players (which is how I view my singing).

Jonathan heard a certain naive quality in the way Ellie and I sang together, and it really worked for the kind of music he was doing. It was a great opportunity.

The three years I toured with the band were amazing. They were interesting, fun, tiring, exhilarating, annoying, and gratifying - the whole gamut of emotions and experiences. One day you're featured in Rolling Stone and the next day you're in some cheesy motel in the middle of nowhere eating cold burritos.

How did you become interested in rockabilly and the women you featured in particular?

Jonathan encouraged Ellie and me to find early rock, doo-wop, and pop songs to perform in the band. Most of Jonathan's material is original, but it's written for his delivery, so finding old songs to sing seemed like a good way to go. I stumbled upon Wild, Wild Young Women, an anthology of women rockabilly singers put out by Rounder Records. Though I consider myself to be a student of rock music most of these women were unknown to me. I was dumbfounded. I remember thinking, "Why don't I know about these women? And who else don't I know about?"

I was getting into filmmaking around this time and thought, "Someday I'm going to make a film about this." It only took me 21 years to do it!

When I finally made the film I realized I couldn't do an encyclopedic thing with every single woman who had ever recorded a rockabilly record. There were quite a few women rockabilly performers. It might have been valuable historically to include them, but I thought it would make the viewing tedious. So I focused on the ones whose work I loved and whose personal experiences captured something universal in all the women's stories.

Monday, February 14

happy valentine's day

modern lovers

hugs and kisses to all the modern lovers

Saturday, February 12

Tour Dates... February 2005

A few new dates have been announced by Pollstar & High Road Touring: -

Sat 02/12/05 Costa Mesa, CA Detroit

Sun 02/13/05 San Francisco, CA Rickshaw Stop

Mon 02/14/05 San Francisco, CA Rickshaw Stop

Tue 02/15/05 San Francisco, CA Rickshaw Stop

Wed 02/16/05 San Francisco, CA Rickshaw Stop

* always confirm shows locally*

Wednesday, February 9

List of favourite songs

Here is an interview Jonathan gave recently to a French rock mag in which he tells about his favourite songs …(translated from French after Nikola Acin’s text).

What would be your favourite song describing a particular place ?
Ah, this is not easy. Maybe Charles Trenet’s “Nationale 7” (starts to sing) “Les oliviers sont bleus, ma p’tite Lisette/ L’amour joyeux est la qui fait risette/ On est heureux, Nationale 7” (laughs). I have a Charles Trenet compilation, I love it.

Song which hurts because she is gone
“The wind” by Nolan Strong & the Diablos. A genuine R’nB marvel which was released in 1954, I think. I discovered it more than twenty years ago on the radio, it is beautiful, a soul classic. When you hear it you will understand.

Song for rainy Sunday mornings
“Heart is a melody of time (Hiroko’s song)” by Pharoah Sanders. I don’t know what I am listening to usually on a rainy Sunday morning, but this one would be perfect for this kind of atmosphere.

Road song
“Born to be wild”, Steppenwolf, it fits perfectly.

Cow boy song
When I was three years old, I used to have a Roy Rodgers record. I do not remember exactly the title, maybe “The happy hungry Chuck Wagon song”, but I can be wrong. My parents had bought it for me, as was the case for all the American kids who had a record player then. And I like also “El paso” from Marty Robbins.

Hippie song
(starts to sing again) “For those who come to San Francisco” this one. “San Francisco” by Scott Mc Kenzie. Twenty five years after I had heard it, I have settled there in San Francisco. This song brings tears to my eyes. I heard there is a French cover by Johnny Halliday but I have never heard it.

Despising song
What would you think of the Stones’ “Under my thumb” ? (laughs). It surely is not a sweet merry melody, but you wanted despise, didn’t you ? (laughs).

Political song
Let’s say “This land is your land” by Woody Guthrie. I have hardly been exposed to folk music during my youth, I must have found it much later. There is also “Deportees” also from Woody Guthrie. This one kills me, gives me goose bumps, it is absolutely awesome.

Teenage song
Ah, I think the number one is (sings again) “weeeell… come on everybody” (laughs). Eddie Cochran, it always works. Or maybe “Party lights. I see the party lights” : Claudine Clark, “Party lights”, 1962. Awesome. She gets mad like a rebel teenager, she is angry, “but you won’t let me make the scene, mama dear”.

Gospel song
Oh this one (takes a deep breath) “Jesus, I’ll never forget what you’ve done for me”, I think the title is “Jesus, I’ll never forget” by the Soul Stirrers with Sam Cooke.

Punk rock song
No doubt , “Sheena is a punk rocker” by the Ramones.

Disco song
My favourite must be “Saturday night fever” by the Bee Gees, I love it. And also “Bad girls” by Donna Summer, a marvel.

Song for having girls dancing
What do you think of “Who’s that lady ?” by the Isley brothers ? That’s what I would put on the stereo at a party.

Song for crying in one’s beer
But, I never cry in my beer (laughs). “Que c’est triste Venise” by Charles Aznavour, in that mood it is the best one. Oh and there is another one, at the same level. “The long and winding road” by the Beatles. When hearing this one, I truly cried in my beer. Though it was not beer but I cried nevertheless. I was nineteen and this song was like a true cheer up. I have not heard yet the violin less version of “Let it be naked” , John Lennon is supposed to be heard playing rather badly the bass.

Naïve song
I don’t know any naïve song. What is a naïve song ? “Louie Louie” ? There are all naïve. I do not know what a naïve song stands for.

For tour info...

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Review: Athens, GA 14 February 2002

Update: Read about this show here

I was going through some old boxes last night and found this set list I apparently jotted on an index card. I never did write a review, but a couple of notes follow.

40 Watt Club

1. Couples Must Fight
2. Give Paris One More Chance
3. Let Her Go Into the Darkness
4. 19 in Naples
5. I'm So Confused/ Springtime in New York
6. Yo Tengo Una Novia
7. Me and Her Got a Good Thing
8. Her Mystery Not of High Heels and Eye Shadow
9. I Had to Change a Lot Before I Could Be With Her
10. I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar
11. Pablo Picasso
12. French Style
13. Con El Merengue
14. You Can't Talk to the Dude
15. Winter Is Over for Me
16. Vampire Girls
17. You Must Ask the Heart

18. Arrivederci Roma (a capella)

Black suit, ecru shirt, lace up leather shoes
Nylon string guitar/ greek key guitar strap
Drinking water

Silver drum kit
Drinking Budweiser

Mostly male
Vic Chesnutt

Tuesday, February 8


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Monday, February 7


jonathan jonathan
scroll to almost the bottom of the first page ...

Thursday, February 3


Cool daydreams going on at Vivonzeureux!
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Adam Green
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drop51: "The Saddest Boot" (Johnny Cash 'Hurt' Vs Craig Armstrong 'Piano Solo') at MusicBuilder
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grapeJuiceplus (yum! tasty ...)
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Mojo mag has a Roots of the Sex Pistols CD with Roadrunner first thing
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MOJO Message Boards
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Mark Doyon's Bonneville Stories reviewed at The Absinthe Literary Review
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"Grandpa" at Vacuum Kitty Productions
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