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.
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?
Interviewer: Peter Rossi