Thursday, June 16

The Bostonians #5 : Blowfish

Paul "Blowfish " Lowell is in the Boston rock milieu since 1975 as he explains it on his web page ( .

Blowfish and the Count

He is also contributing to the famous Boston Groupie News, the ultimate punk rock fanzine which has been edited since 1977 by the dangerously attractive Miss Lyn. Nowadays the BGN is still existing in an on line format , it is of course the page to read to get the most sophisticated news about Boston music nowadays and also be able to read the vintage interviews from the golden age. Blowfish has many interesting stories about Jonathan as you will read on his own page, but for now here are his answers to my questions :

Hi Jacques,
These questions have been fun, first off you should read this.....

- What was the first Jonathan song you heard ?

Roadrunner. Just like many people in Boston. Probably on WBCN. It was way before the LP was put out. It was just a tape for many years before it got on vinyl.

- Did you ever see the original Modern Lovers on stage ?

No. Wish I did.
- When was your first Jonathan concert and how was it ?

I actually didn't see Jonathan until the early 80's. Just missed a few quest shots he did a few times.
It seems to me that Jonathan's concerts have been pretty consistent for many years. He puts forth his personality and songs and it just never misses. The crowd is always receptive.
- Your favorite album and favorite songs ?

Album: Outside of the original Modern Lovers LP which is hard to beat and obvious pick, I would say the Rock and Roll Lp then the Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers
Songs: Girl Friend, New England, Abominable Snowman, Summer Morning Vincent Van Gogh, That Summer Feeling, Back in Your Life, New Kind of Neighborhood, Affection, Chewing Gum Wrapper. know I just love tons of them.
- When Jonathan plays today in Boston, do you go to see him ?

I try. I don't catch him as much as I want. Last time he played the Somerville Theater and a union strike happened in the interim and screwed up the whole affair.
- Are you familiar with his recent CDs ? Do you like the way his music has evolved ?

I missed the last one I think. But I have liked him all along. The big change happened way back with him letting go of the ROCK thing. I love the fact that he has made his own space. He's in his own universe. I like the way he writes his songs and his guitar playing and the feeling he gets in his songs and playing live.
- As you have been part from the Boston rock scene from its very beginning , how do you judge Jonathan influence on the local musicians then and nowadays ?

BIG influence early on. Direct influence on the musicians he played with that stayed in town..John Felice. Asa Brebner, Andy Paley, Beth Harrington, Ellie Marshall, and David Robinson.
Let's go back into the way back machine...before 1974. Those who would be punkers latter were around town and were very aware of Jonathan and his gigs on Cambridge Common. He was a musician they looked to and thought I want to do that or we could do that and play. Regular outlets (like rock clubs) only wanted cover bands or wishy washy rock. All the early punkers would site Jonathan as an influence...Rassler, Willie, Monoman...just everybody.
Now, I don't see much influence at all with the current crop of musicians. Does anyone else see his influence? I would love to be corrected.
- In his songs, Jonathan often refers to Boston , do you recognize that Boston or do you think that Jonathan memories are only fed by nostalgia for a lost city..

I think he captured the city pretty good. Roadrunner really gets that Rt 128 thing to a T. That's part of his genius to me. He soaks up the ambiance around him. Chewing Gum Wrapper does this. It's an existential grasping of the quotidian. In this song he partakes of the time and space around him. The mundane subject matter helps you to get the point. The whole universe is in everything even the lowly gum wrapper. He does this time and again. I wish everyone could get this point.
- Have you got any anecdote related to Jonathan to tell us ?

Again I would go with

- What cover of Jonathan songs could you imagine done by the Downbeat 5,Lyres, or Kenne Highland ?

Number one of course is the fact they could ALL do Roadrunner (and probably have) and do it great, but that's too obvious so.......

Kenne Highland : To hear him do Ice Cream Man or Abominable Snowman In The Market would be a howl. I think he would take them and add all sorts of side comments that would just be the funiest thing.

Lyres: Important In Your Life - I'd love to hear the organ on this. I think they would streamlike it like Johnathan does the solo section and pump it up. Also, This Kind of Music has a great groove that the Lyres would excell at.

DB5 : I love to hear Jen belting out New England. Also, they could run with Fender Stratocaster.

Kenne Highland and Asa Brebner among other friends of Jonathan's

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