Saturday, April 16

The Bostonians #3: Alex Piandes

Alex Piandes has been DJing on WFMO the free-form radio of Tufts University in Medford, MA for nearly 10 years now. His show called Coffee'n smokes is featuring " new & vintage garage/punk, surf, psychedelic, rockabilly, pop obscurities ".
You can find all the infos needed at

I encourage you to listen to his show, you are not going to be disappointed. Alex is a true "garageolist", his knowledge in music amazes me, and he has perfect taste. I started to get in touch with him the day I heard on his show "Foggy Notion" from the Velvet Underground followed by "She cracked" from the Modern Lovers. The link was so obvious between both songs. He has also to say things about Jonathan...

First time you saw JR live , when and how was it ?

First time I saw Jonathan Richman live was banging away on an old guitar on the Cambridge Common as a 14 year old while skipping school.

Did you ever attend a concert of the original Modern Lovers ?

No. It wasn't until years after seeing those times on the Common when I saw the Modern Lovers with the lineup that would go on to have the U.K. hit "Egyptian Reggae" at the Paradise about 7 years later.

What is the first Jonathan song you heard ?

On the radio it was the original demo of "Roadrunner" which can be had on the Kim Fowley-produced "Original Modern Lovers" LP which I believe has been reissued.

What is your favourite album ?

There's a few but I'll go with the classic self-titled Modern Lovers album with the Dave Robinson/Jerry Harrison lineup and the1986 release "It's Time For..." with the Andy Paley/Asa Brebner lineup and Barrance Whitfield on background vocal. Both are stellar examples of Jonathan's rockin' side.

Are you familiar with the songs he is doing today ? and if so what do you think of his evolution through years

Regrettably I'm not quite as familiar with his new stuff but his art has become visible to a wider audience in recent years what with his extensive contributions to the hilarious Farrelly Brothers' film "Something About Mary", the children's TV show "Sesame Street" and TV advertisements for Target Stores among others.

Any anecdote related to Jonathan ?

None, though in 1988 I saw him play solo at The Mean Fiddler in London and flying back home to the 'States the following week to see him do the same show at Nightstage in Cambridge and both night I had the pleasure of speaking to him a few minutes after the shows.

How do you see his influence on the Boston music scene ?

Huge. So many local musicians from The Real Kids' John Felice to DMZ/Cars' Dave Robinson to powerpop legends The Paley Brothers among others had served time as Modern Lovers and they would go on to influence others on their own. During the 80's I would meet many kids from abroad and to them Jonathan Richman was the Boston Music scene so to me his influence was felt far beyond the city limits and paved the way for other Boston-based musicians to make their mark around the world. Jonathan was Boston's original D.I.Y. (do it yourself) Punk.

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