Monday, March 28

Music Video Archive at Download Recordings

this kind of music

Yes, more music. The anecdote below about an evening at the Boston Music Awards reminds me of seeing Jonathan on Conan O'Brien's show in the mid-'90's. I know tv audiences are prompted to be enthusiastic about everything, but it was always entertaining to see JoJo come out before a group that had no idea who he was. There would be a certain moment when the crowd's perfunctory, fake acceptance would shift into real enjoyment. By the end of his performance, they'd be hollering.

read the rest at Modern Kicks

thanks to jim for this!

stuff Jonathan likes

I'm an apprentice to a stonemason here in Northern California. About three years ago I told him, "Hey Pete, I'll carry around a bag of cement if you let me watch you work." The next thing I knew, he was handing me trowels and saying, "OK, you mix this batch."
[Toshiro Mifune] starred in all of those Japanese samurai movies by Kurosawa -- Rashomon, The Seven Samurai, Yojimbo. He also did movies with this guy Inagaki. He did over a hundred movies from the Forties to the Seventies and was pretty much considered Japan's Number One movie hero.
I like to dance and sing and stuff. That's what my favorite thing to do on a Friday or Saturday night, but I usually end up outside the clubs, where it's at a volume I can deal with. Every once in a while, I dance out in the street. I can hear everything a block away.
I'm playing this Spanish guitar called an esteve. It's one of them classical guitars -- it's just that simple. I just went into this music store in Miami, and I just sniffed the air and tried a guitar and said, "Hey! I think I'll buy this!"
I just tour, period. We just don't care, we just play. When we play on the road, it's a vacation.

--Jonathan Richman, quoted in Rolling Stone September 1998, compiled by Noah Tarnow

Sunday, March 27

She's a once in a Lifetime Girl *

Well she’s a once in a lifetime girl, and we can do anything and have fun,
And she’s funny… that too, and she’s soulful… that too,
So doesn’t it sound for like I’m talking myself into her?
Am I still scared or is something else wrong?

Or does it sound like I’m talking myself into her… with my song,
Talking myself into it… why should that be,
When it’s natural… her and me,

And she finds joy in all of her labours,
And she makes friends with all of her neighbours,
Talking myself into it… why would that be?
Talking myself into it… why so, when they love her wherever we go.

And our minds seem to work in the same way,
And most times we’re thinking the same thing,
Talking myself into it… why so?

Strange is the way this feels…whoa-oh,
I can’t tell you what is love, and I used to be so sure,
but now I don’t know my stuff,
Talking myself into it… why so?

Talking myself into it… why so?
She’s a once in a lifetime girl, we can do anything and have fun.

Performed at Shubas Tavern, Chicago, 3rd October 1999

*Unreleased song

Friday, March 25

The Bostonians: Willie "loco" Alexander

Willie "loco" Alexander is a veteran from the Boston music scene. In the sixties he was in a garage band called the Lost, then joined the last incarnation of the Velvet Underground in which Moe Tucker was the only original member left.

Willie and Kenne Highland on Saint Patrick's day

Eventually Willie Alexander and the Boom Boom band became Boston heroes towards the end of the seventies, the single Kerouac/Mass Ave being a classic to this day. Willie has been involved in many projects since then, he is a pure artist, a poet, some say a genius. I managed to ask him my usual stupid questions about Jonathan and he kindly answered me, sending me a letter.

the letter

As Jonathan, Willie is a bit reluctant concerning the internet. Here is the transcript of what he wrote me:

- Did you see the Modern Lovers live, how was it ?

The first time I saw JR perform was on the Cambridge Common during a series of free concerts, ealy 70's. He was alone, singing with a baseball glove on his hand, no guitar. People thought he was nuts, very intense.
Then with just a guitar and Lou Reed songs, then with the Modern Lovers, David and the two curly mops of hair Jerry and Ernie. Hot band on the Common. Saw him at a coffee house with John Felice, moved. he was a real captivating performer and looked totally anti rock and roll with short hair and regular clothes. Then off to "Records of fame" and the band broke up.
Came back and "didn't want to hurt baby's ears", singing Happy birthday and campfire songs.
Andy Paley wanted me to join his band but it wasn't my kind of music.
I'd go see him because he is an original and follows his own heart. It's been a while since I've seen him perform.

- What is the first song from Jonathan you ever heard ?

don't remember the first song, just his earnestness.
I dug that everyone in Boston was waiting for the big record for JR, it seems like he abandonned the big sound and the big beat of the Modern Lovers. He was ahead of his time in the 70's. People have caught up with him. He's a good business man.
I loved JR, that he was like Edith Piaf or Judy Garland and hilarious. Loved "Roadrunner" and "Hospital" and "Picasso", early 70's.

- Any Jonathan related anecdote ?

He came to my mum's appartment once and sent me postcards from California. He ended up with my friend Jeff Wilkinson's wife and son. She died recently, the boy is in a rock band.I sang and played piano on that record with him of Lou Reed's "I'm sticking with you".
Didn't see him for a long time. He came to see Jeff and brought his son when Jeff was in hospice and gonna die.

- What is your favourite Jonathan album ?

I only have a couple of his early records

- Beth Harrington and Ellie Marshall sung with Jonathan and also did
sessions with you ("the Boston incest album", I still cherish it), what
could you tell us about them ?

Singing with Beth and Ellie was great. "Real girl" back up vocals. I did a version of "lonely avenue" with them in Ellie's brother, Barry Marshall's band. I thought it was kinda fun singing that old do wopp song.

- An anecdote about your stay in the Velvet Underground

Was less fun in the VU. I perfected chewing lots of gum on stage, the ugly american yo. Oh , and I don't know the Barracudas, send me some..

vintage 1996

From: William
Date: Sun, 7 Apr 1996
Subject: Maxwell's Saturday Night

Last night Jonathan played a sold-out show in the warmth of cramped Maxwell's. The rumors of him touring with a band were untrue. It was Jojo and Tommy. The audience seemed to be in awe of him or they just didn't know the songs. They were a tame bunch, but there were some very loud yentas (and you know who you are) who stole away attention from Jojo as it is a very small venue and you can hear everything.

Jonathan was in much better spirits than his fall performance here. He did some rare favorites such as 'Egyptian Reggae' and 'Shirin and Farad.' He played for a good hour and forty five minutes strapped with his electric acoustic. The show included almost everything from You Must Ask the Heart, he also performed a lot of great new songs such as 'Surrender' and 'French Style' plus his classics 'Pablo Picasso,' 'Everyday Clothes,' 'Give Paris One More Chance,' 'Lesbian Bar' and 'Summer Feeling.' I was very disappointed that he once again performed 'Rock N Roll Drummer,' it's not even close to my favorite, although I do enjoy his sweet movements as he performs this song. For such a long set he really didn't interact much with the audience, but when he did it was very funny. It definitely was a set chock full of songs.

All in all it was a great show and I am looking forward to his return. I wonder why he doesn't play in NYC anymore. Any insight?


From: Christopher
Date: Sun, 7 Apr 96
Subject: another maxweller on sat night

Yes, it was a very good show. He seemed very much into the low volume thing, actually taking earplugs out of his ears just prior to the show. He did more Spanish-guitar type stuff than usual, and jumped in and out of a lot of songs. One of the most precious moments was a song he made up about how you can't just be happy, you have to be sad too. Cuz if you're just happy without being sad, that just won't work. Afterwards someone was discussing with him how jonathan was famous for dancing at a Ramones concert in 1976- when someone asked who that was dancing (because supposedly you're not supposed to dance at a Ramones concert) someone said, that's Jonathan Richman. Jojo remembered this and said, "yeah, well, I didn't know you couldn't dance at a Ramones concert."

Note: These are vintage posts from the old list.

Thursday, March 24

Jens Lekman

Jens Lekman

Secretly Canadian is throwing young Jens Lekman a coming-out party, and all your old friends are invited. Modern Lover Jonathan Richman will be there, strumming his acoustic in the corner for a huddled, hushed group of attentive coeds; Stephin Merritt too, feigning boredom and bitching about the dearth of cute boys. You'd heard Morrissey? Moz RSVP'd, but, then again, he usually does.

Here, on this proper debut that amounts to nothing less than a debutant ball, Lekman channels each in announcing his sizable presence to the music world outside of Stockholm: There's the boyish Richman on the opening track, "Tram #7 to Heaven," joyously counting his way up to the titular train ("Tram #3 has misery/ Tram #4 knocks at your door"), and again lamenting his unrequited love for a girl who made him chili on "The Cold Swedish Winter" ("I met her in a snowstorm/ I was outdoors plowing/ She just walked up to me and said/ 'Hey, boy, how's it going?'").

-- Noah Bonaparte

read the rest of this review at Neumu

listen to Jens Lekman MP3s here

Tuesday, March 22

Erica Glyn

Erica Glyn

Erica Glyn is opening for Jonathan in Ankara and Istanbul in Turkey this week. You can listen to some of her MP3s here.

Sunday, March 20

Tour update- Spring 2005

Poster from "Jonathan Richman in Turkey" (Turkish Daily News)

Tues 3/22/05 Ankara, Turkey Locus Solus
Thurs 3/24/05 Istanbul, TURKEY Vox
Sun 3/27/05 Belgrade, SERBIA Dom Omladine
Tue 3/29/05 Zagreb, CROATIA Mochvara
Wed 3/30/05 Ljubljana, SLOVENIA Orto
Sat 4/2/05 Munich, GERMANY Feierwerk
Sun 4/3/05 Frankfurt, GERMANY Kunslerhaus Mousonturm
Mon 4/4/05 Cologne, GERMANY Gebaude 9
Tue 4/5/05 Brussels, BELGIUM Ancienne Belgique Box
Thurs 4/7/05 Bordeaux, FRANCE La Lune Dans Le Caniveau
Sat 4/9/05 Pamplona, SPAIN
Thurs 4/14/05 Madrid, SPAIN
Sat 4/16/05 Murcia, SPAIN
Tues 4/19/05 Cadiz, SPAIN
Thurs 4/21/05 Huelva, SPAIN
Fri 4/22/05 Utrera, SPAIN

Jonathan Richman and Tommy Larkins

From Vapor Records:

How do you say, “Not So Much To Be Loved As To Love,” in Turkish?!

We will find out soon enough as the latest news is that Jonathan and Tommy will travel to Turkey, Prague and Serbia in late March for what will most certainly be a special tour! Check back for more exciting details!

Download "Not So Much to be Loved as to Love" from Vapor Records

Watch videos (Requires Windows Media Player v.9):

I'm So Confused

I Was Dancing In a Lesbian Bar

Tommy Larkins

Tommy Larkins in High and Dry

This image of Tommy Larkins is a still from the documentary High and Dry: Where the Desert Meets Rock'n Roll

You can view a trailer from the film here

Tommy Larkins and Jonathan Richman have been joined at the hip now for about ten years and we here at Jojoblog love the scruffy deadpan drummer with his surprising (to some) focus and dead-on beat. Perhaps we should change the name of this blog to the Jonathan Richman and Tommy Larkins Unofficial Fan Blog. What do you think?

Friday, March 18

Jonathan Richman Grows Up

Addicted To Noise Philadelphia correspondent Chris Nelson reports: The last time Jonathan Richman played the Theatre of the Living Arts in Philadelphia, he left the stage for intermission, only to return a few minutes later. Squinting into the spotlight, he asked, "Would anybody mind if we moved these chairs?"

-- Music News of the World Addicted to Noise 10 April 1996

read the rest of this story

Tuesday, March 15

Yesterday's Music Is Still Alive

...This is rock and roll, no matter what music history books will tell us. What, you can't write a rock n' roll song about how much you love New England? Or dedicate a rock song to an insect? Or base one around the idea that when Martians come to earth, the first thing we need to ask them is what flavor of ice cream they like the most? The vision of life on Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers is as unconventional, within the contexts of rock music, popular music in general, art, and life, as those of beloved eccentrics like Syd Barrett and Captain Beefheart - and it's just as subversive and rebellious, perhaps even more so. Not just because of the creative stories and images, not just because the songs are about topics more typical of kids' fables than rock anthems, or for that matter even because they brilliantly subvert the very notion of 'adulthood and 'childhood'...but because of how much closer to honest, raw emotions they get that most rock songs. Even unbridled rock songs that shatter societal conventions and spit in the face of authority seldom feel as real or as unique as these songs, which in their own way stand even stronger against convention. Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers embraces nonconformists (what's more punk than an abominable snowman disrupting a supermarket?) and encourages all listeners to bare their hearts, speak their minds, and engage themselves with the world. This is music that breaks down barriers between audience and listener, that says 'forget what you've been told is important in life, here's what's important to us' in a bold and unforgettable way.

-- dave heaton

read the whole thing at erasing clouds

Jonathan Richman > Overview

Moods: Light, Giddy, Carefree, Earnest, Exuberant, Quirky, Amiable/ Good-Natured, Cheerful, Naive, Sweet, Playful, Precious, Passionate, Angst-Ridden, Exciting, Fun, Wistful, Intimate, Innocent, Whimsical

From Video Vision, Channel 29 San Francisco - April 11th, 1997

Jonathan Richman: Troubadour....

VV: From your Modern Lovers time, I've read that you were the first person to say "Corporate rock sucks". Is that true?
Jonathan Richman: (JR): No, I never said that..

VV: Something associated with your rejection of a couple of record deals...?
JR: No. Never implied it. I love corporate rock. I always loved Top 10 hits, a lot of my favorite stuff is, you know, stuff they play in discos that I don't even know the name of, but I'm sure it's music from big corporations.

VV: Where were you born? What's your family background?
JR: Massachusetts. I'm Russian Jewish on all sides.

VV: Le gusta cantar a espanol? (You like to sing in Spanish?)
JR: Si, y italiano tambien. (Yes, I like to sing in Spanish and Italian) I like to sing in French too. I like the romance languages.

VV: How did it go? Do you like recording in Spanish better than English?
JR: (shakes his head, no) It went well. The reason I shook my head "no" was because no one was interested in it overseas. But I liked the idea, thought it was a good idea.

VV: On your new album, you also mix in some Spanish in your lyrics as well?
JR: Yeah, you know, I just sing whatever comes to mind, and sometimes I want to sing in Spanish so...

VV: So what do you like to do when you're not performing?
JR: Nothing much. Hang around. Ride my bike. Hang around.

VV: Do you follow sports at all?
JR: Some. I'd rather play them than watch them..VV: What's your favorite sport? JR: I always liked baseball. They're all good.

VV: What do you think about when you wake up in the morning? Or the afternoon?
JR: Depends if I'm hungry. Sometimes you wake up and want something to eat, and sometimes I just think of other things. Hard to say what. Varies every day.

VV: What do you like to eat?
JR: Kinda a bread and olive oil fan. I like Japanese food. We're about to go to Japan, you know? I like Thai food, Mexican food, Greek food, middle eastern food, food from Lebanon

VV: The song you were doing during sound check, El Farolito, that's the same name as a great Mexican restaurant here in San Francisco. Since we're in San Francisco, I have to ask the obvious question. What bar were you in that inspired the song, I Was Dancing in a Lesbian Bar?
JR: I was in a bar in Las Vegas. I don't remember which bar. Not on the strip though.

VV: How do you like to record?
JR: Pretty much live usually.

VV: You prefer analog to digital in the studio?
JR: Yeah I do. Do people in this audience understand what that means?

VV: Yes, they do.
JR: Well, why don't you explain it to your audience anyway. 'Cause I don't know how to explain it even though I like it better. I would just say that analog is the older stuff rather than the new stuff.

VV: Things on records versus compact discs. Live recording versus isolating everyone.
JR: Yeah

VV: Do you guys usually get it on the first take, or do you often go back and overdub?
JR: A lot of times we get it on the first take.

VV: What's a typical day recording for you?
JR: Oh no. I'm not going to talk about that. You want to put your audience to sleep? If I start talking about that, I'll fall asleep. Everything will start spinning on their axes and ...No. You don't want that.

VV: How do you like working with Neil Young?
JR: Don't know. Never met him. For those of you in the audience, the record company I work with, Neil Young is involved with it.

VV: How do you like working with Video Vision?
JR: So far it's mixed. Some of the questions are a bit vague so they're bugging me. And some of the questions I like. I got time for one last question.

VV: Have you ever been in a cult?
JR: No.

Interviewer: Peter Rossi

Saturday, March 12

Grunion Run

the toothless silvery grunion fish is a relatively unremarkable physical specimen ...

Tuesday, March 8

European Tour Dates -- Snail Mail News

Hi everyone,

This is what we found for European tour dates so far:
05 April 2005, 20:00

07 April 2005, 20:30

39 Place des Capucins

Tel. : +(33) 5 56 31 95 52

There's still ONLY the Brussels show mentioned at Pollstar,
but yesterday I got Les Gripkey's 'snail mail' postcard that gives MORE dates.

Here's what's on Les' postcard:

(Note that the Bordeaux show that we found IS NOT MENTIONED on the postcard!)


24 Istanbul, TURKEY -- Vox
27 Belgrade, SERBIA -- Dom Omladine -- 381-3220-127
29 Zagreb, CROATIA -- Mochvara -- 385 (0)1 615 9667
30 Ljubljana, SLOVENIA -- Orto -- +386 1 2321 674

2 Munich, GERMANY -- Feierwerk e.v -- +49 (0)89 72 48 80
3 Frankfurt, GERMANY -- Kunstlerhaus Mousonturm -- +49 (0)69 4058950
4 Cologne, GERMANY -- Gebaude 9 -- +49 221 814637
5 Brussels, BELGIUM -- Ancienne Belgique Box -- 0032 2 548 2400
9 Pamplona, SPAIN
14 Madrid, SPAIN
16 Murcia, SPAIN
19 Cadiz, SPAIN
21 Huelva, SPAIN
22 Utrera, SPAIN

-> "Always check show info locally" <-


Istanbul, Belgrade, Zagreb, Ljubljana!
Has Jonathan ever played there before?

Have fun, everyone :-)

Bye, Jan

Thursday, March 3

tour dates

Tue 5 April 2005 Brussels, Belgium Ab Box@Ancienne Belgique

Thu 7 April 2005 Bordeaux, France la Lune dans le Caniveau
39 Place des Capucins, 33000 BORDEAUX, tel: 56 31 95 52

*always confirm shows locally*

These are the known shows so far for the upcoming European tour. If you know of further details please let us know so we can post updates. Thanks for your help!
Jonathan Richman: Hopeless romantic

Thanks to Adam for this!
copyright 2005

Jim Fields of Mountain View went to the Tsunami Relief Benefit at the Great American Music Hall in San Jose, California on 28 Jan 05 and