Friday, December 22

US Tour Dates 2007 (East Coast and South)

Thu 1 Feb New York NY Knitting Factory (with Kiko Veneno)
Fri 2 Feb New York NY Knitting Factory
Sat 3 Feb New York NY Knitting Factory
Sun 4 Feb New York NY Knitting Factory
Wed 7 Feb Asbury Park, NJ Wonder Bar
Thu 8 Feb Philadelphia PA Johnny Brendas
Fri 9 Feb Washington DC 9:30 Club
Sat 10 Feb Charlottesville VA Starr Hill Music Hall
Sun 11 Feb Williamsburg VA College of William and Mary
Tue 13 Feb Carrboro NC Cat's Cradle
Wed 14 Feb Charlotte NC The Evening Muse
Thu 15 Feb Asheville NC Grey Eagle Tavern & Music Hall
Fri 16 Feb Athens GA 40 Watt Club
Sat 17 Feb Atlanta GA Earl
Sun 18 Feb Atlanta GA Earl
Tue 20 Feb East Nashville TN Radio Cafe
Wed 21 Feb East Nashville TN Radio Cafe
Thu 22 Feb Memphis TN Hi-Tone Cafe
Fri 23 Feb Little Rock AR Sticky Fingerz
Sat 24 Feb Dallas TX Gypsy Tea Room
Mon 26 Feb Austin TX Continental Club
Tue 27 Feb Austin TX Cactus Cafe

Confirm with venue before making travel plans

whatever the reason

vic chesnutt

Listen to Vic Chesnutt and Elf Power at the 40 Watt Christmas Party

Thursday, December 21

Jonathan Richman Tribute in Glasgow

Jacques posted the flyer for the Grundioso Christmas party to celebrate Jonathan Richman in Glasgow, Scotland here.

You can see pictures from the party here, thanks to James!

Tuesday, December 19

Revolution Summer update

Jonathan Richman is executive producer of Miles Montalbano's film Revolution Summer, produced also by Miles Montalbano and Liz Ross. The three were formerly in a band with Charles Gonzales called Sun of Mercury. Montalbano filmed Richman for the DVD Take Me to the Plaza, and is his brother-in-law.

Revolution Summer is the debut feature film from writer/director Miles Montalbano. The film stars Mackenzie Firgens (Groove, Quality of Life), Samuel Child (The Hamiltons), and Lauren Fox (Pi, Noon Blue Apples), and features an original score by Jonathan Richman (The Modern Lovers, There’s Something About Mary).

Revolution Summer website

Revolution Summer at IMDB

Richman and Montalbano previously collaborated in 2001 on the Super-8 film Love and the Monster:

Speaking of Roger, his son Miles Montalbano has just finished a new short film and is premiering it at Duffy's on Wednesday, Nov. 21, at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. It stars one of Chico's true talents, Samantha Perry, and features an original soundtrack by Jonathan Richman. more

Duffy's in Chico, California is a favorite gig for Jonathan Richman:

The always entertaining Richman was indeed back for two heartfelt nights in intimate Duffy's Tavern, a favorite home club of sorts for the constantly touring "proto punk" and his stoic partner, standing drummer Tommy Larkins on the glittering cocktail kit. more

The film apparently began as an anti-war protest effort and evolved during post-production, done by Montalbano in Richman's San Francisco home, into something more subtle (and questioning):
Revolution Summer is in many ways a fantasy film--a Bush-era digital retelling of Orwell's 1984 ... Montalbano intends to take Revolution Summer on the road next year even if the film meets with festival success. "I look forward to getting in the van, hitting the road, and touring it like a rock band. That would be fun." (Montalbano) more from ReleasePrint (PDF)

Previous Jojopost on Revolution Summer and Love and the Monster by Bob here

Monday, December 18


in this bar things were laissez-faire

December 21st in Scotland

On December 21st, Grundioso records, an indie label from Scotland, is organising a Christmas party in Glasgow to celebrate Jonathan and his music. Here is the flyer :

Information on Grundioso can be found at :

Thursday, November 30

The bostonians #13 : Carl Biancucci

Carl Biancucci has been bass player in many bands in Boston from the Varmints to Kenne Highland's Vatican sex kittens but he has always stayed faithful to the Classic Ruins since the beginning of the band some twenty five years ago when Franck Rowe, Billy Borgioli, Perry Nardone and Carl started to play together.

The Classic Ruins have always been my favourite "golden age Boston" band, their LP's "Lassie eats chicken"- a winner of a title- and "Ruins cafe" are classics.

I could write pages about the guitar sound of Franck Rowe which makes me shiver each time I hear it or disgress on all those perfect songs "Geraldine", "Labatts", "I can't spell romance" and "Lullaby of boomland" which is an exquisite tune about Boston music ("they were kids but they were real !"), but to cut it short I will just quote the liner notes of "Lassie", ...songs with hooks the size of Italy, songs with lyrics that should be sung from rooftops as international anthems. Songs that are filled with more guts than the entire state of Utah. They never got real recognition outside of Boston, even though I had heard John Felice of the Real Kids in 83 mentionning them as one of the bands he considered to be essential.

Carl has kindly agreed to talk about Jonathan.

- When was the first time you saw Jonathan Richman live and how was it ?

The only time i have seen Jonathan perform was at a club called the Honey Lounge,in Boston (1983?) He was sitting in with a band called the Sex Execs, whose bass player,Paul Kolderie,went on to produce Hole and Radiohead. It was a thrill to see Jonathan

- What did you think of the Modern Lovers then, as nowadays they are considered as the godfathers of punk rock ?

Roadrunner is a true garage punk original which came out during a time where music was becoming unneccessarily complicated. As I teenager,I drove many times on Rt.128 by the power lines.

- What were the feelings from other musicians towards Jonathan ?

Jonathan is held is high regard here,as a unique and brave performer. He played in Cambridge Massachusetts during the long-hair hippie days in short hair.

- You told me that your band , the Classic Ruins, are using the Modern Lovers old PA system, could you tell me how you happened to get it ?

Frank and Denise Rowe are along time friends of Jonathan, and one night, Jonathan sold the Frank. Denise passed away last year, and Jonathan made sure to contact Frank to offer condolences.

- Were you familiar with the members of the Modern Lovers as local musicians ?

My home town is Wayland- next door is Natick,home of Jonathan, and John Felice. I saw John Felice play at a church dance in 1972 in Wayland, and I think they played Roadrunner.

- Do you think that Jonathan and/or the Modern Lovers influenced the local scene in Boston then? And what about today ?

Roadrunner is such a great song that continues to inspire rockers everywhere, as do other JR songs. Jonathan has always done what he wanted to do musically, which is a big reason why he continues to get respect on the local scene.

- What do you think of Jonathan evolution when he changed his style and became a modern troubadour ?

It seems like a natural musical direction for Jonathan to be a troubador rather than a garage rocker. He has an unusual view of life that is best served by just voice and guitar.

- What is your favourite Jonathan song ? favourite album ?

Roadrunner is my fave, but Party In The Woods is pretty great,too.

- Which Jonathan song can you imagine the Classic Ruins covering ?

I can see us doing New England.

- any anecdote related to Jonathan ?

I have never met Jonathan,but if I did, I would thank him for Roadrunner AND for being in a movie with Cameron Diaz!

Saturday, November 18

Great American Music Hall - 6th December 2006

Here's a flyer for a new date - The Great American Music Hall, San Francisco...

Tickets are available from here...

Wednesday, November 15

"No more gasoline", a reggae song

My last short clip from the Paris show. Jonathan is dancing, playing his cowbells. Then he takes his guitar again and boldly says in French "and now..let's go to the whorehouse..". everyone cheers him and laughs as it seems such an incongruous statement coming from a gentleman as him..

Saturday, November 11

Favourite Childhood Songs (part 2)...

The Janice Long Show – 1985

A UK radio interview from 1985. Jonathan’s talking about touring and some of his favourite childhood songs (all of which are included as MP3 downloads).

(Go here for part one)

Part two...

Dee Dee Sharp - Gravy for my Mashed Potatos MP3

Janice Long - "Dee Dee Sharp and Gravy for my Mashed Potatos, I’m talking to Jonathan Richman, and quite frankly I was terrified of you."

Jonathan - "Because?"

"Because I’d heard all of these stories about you at a press conference… the other week, and I thought oh my god what’s this guy going to be like, is he going to be like really, really awkward and walk out in the middle of me chatting to him, but you’re not like that at all are you?"

"No, not at all!"

"So what happened?"

"No one asked any questions… I said, alright, let’s have some questions, there was out of thirty, there must have been, how many people would you say were there in that room? Thirty… three zero… journalists and folks of that nature, we got five… six questions out of thirty people! I said, okay, any more questions… going once (laughing) going twice… no one has a burning question?"

"Someone said it was because somebody from the NME wrote something about you that you didn’t like."

"No, oh, well what they did was make up a story that I could prove didn’t took place, I mean an interview… a fictitious interview. And... so that’s what I didn’t like, but I still gave that guy a chance. I said look, I’ll answer your question if you’ll answer mine… ‘Would you answer a question from a newspaper that made up a story about you that never took place? This ‘aint like a distortion, this is, and if so, why? Well, if he’d said ‘You know, I really wouldn’t’ or something like that ‘I would have said okay great!’but he didn’t he just said ‘well we can’t be responsible for inaccuracies…’ so I said ‘Oh, forget it…' or something like that."

"Do you like the press?"

"I like radio much better coz look you can hear the sound of my voice, you can hear when I’m kidding or when I’m not. Like for example someone can say, ‘He sighed’ or ‘he grunted’ you know, and the quote is the same but they can change it. I like this. I have better luck with people who like pop music rather than the more serious types they’re usually not on my wavelength, so to speak. So with them can I be nasty?… you bet!" (both laugh)

"I would imagine that you wouldn’t like people who were pretentious."

"I guess, I mean I could be accused of… I don’t know who, all I know is I don’t get along with people, who, er… I can’t think of the word for it. But, oh, am I always jovial? I must admit no. Do I have a bit of a temper… Yeah! Em, but I wasn’t trying to intimidate anyone - Honest folks!"

"Right, the Isley Brothers ‘Twist and Shout."

"Alright!… the mighty Isley Brothers. Nineteen sixty two, sixty one, it doesn’t matter, they’re rockin’, they’re loose, and they’re tough and bad…The Isley Brothers."

The Isley Brothers - Twist and Shout MP3

"We were just having a conversation there about the Beatles version of that, and I mean, no way is it good as the Isley Brothers."

"Well I ‘aint going to put down that version, I think those mighty Beatles did a terrific thing with that song."

"But I mean that one to me has got more sort of passion and feeling, and what have you, in it."

"Well that’s the original! Its usually hard to beat the original."

"You were saying that it sends shivers down your spine."

All this stuff were playing. If it was good in 62 its usually good in 85.

"What sort of music that’s around now actually makes you go… Oh yeah!"

"I like listening to American Indian drumming back in the states, the music of the Hopi’s, and some of that stuff, I hear some… the singing, there’s just singing and percussion, and I’ve gotten chills up my spine from that, like some open air, em, when you get, they call it inter-tribal, they’ll get different tribes from the different desert states, Colorado, New Mexico, they’ll get em all together, and I’ve heard them all… different groups of drummers and singers. And you hear that in the open air, with those voices, wailing like that and those drums… that’s modern music!"

"Is that quite passionate that music?"

"I guess, it sounds like it to me."

"Right, The Majors ‘A Wonderful Dream’…"

"Same year, 1962, I didn’t even realise how I’d done this… 1962, Yes, one of Jonathans formative year and ‘The Majors’ were there, The Majors, that had that swinging beat… here we go!"

"You’d make a great DJ."

(laughing) "You think so…"


The Majors - A Wonderful Dream MP3

"He gets up for everything… everything that we’ve played, you get up, you dance to, you know all the words."

"I’ve been sitting on a plane all day too you know."

"Well that’s perhaps why… The Majors and ‘A Wonderful Dream’, this is Jonathan Richman. Were the sixties the halcyon days for you? because you seem to have picked an awful lot of sixties stuff."

"I would have picked more fifties, but I figured some of them might have be a little too hard to find, up to about sixty five, sixty six, I start to get a little shaky around sixty seven."

"Would you like to have be performing in those times?"

"Well, would they have allowed someone with a voice like this on the stage back then? Things were pretty straight then, they didn’t… um, you know, I might have gotten a job sweeping floors better back then."

"But it’s funny that you, you actually talk the way you sing, or you sing the way you talk, there’s no difference is there?"

"No, and I don’t know how well it would have done back then. So I don’t want to go back in time, in fact I want to go more primitive than the stuff… my records are actually cruder than, I mean my new record has no bass on it. No bass guitar. Like this stuff, a lot of it was done with just a few guitars and percussion and voices. So I don’t want to go back… I want to go cruder."

"Is performing your first love? Do you actually like being on the stage in front of the audience?"


"You have a wonderful rapport with the audience."

"When I do, I do, yeah."

"I read somewhere that you actually generate love when you’re performing, and people actually feel love for you."

"Yeah, they’re right (laughing) you read the truth! (more laughter) Of course, like eh, lets not get carried away, to me, all music, like the music we’ve been playing, to me that, what we’ve been listening to, that generates love in me."

"But is that because you’re never false? I mean you’re just You; that people can relate to that more, rather than putting on this great act and coming on as some sort of showman."

"The funny thing’s I’m kind of a showman too… erm, you know just the way I clown around before records and…"

"But in a gentle way."

"Yeah, if I generate love it’s, sure, coz I’m sincere. But that’s also what’s in the singing and playing and the old rock and roll too."

"Right 'The Marvelettes'. Now you love the Marvelettes don’t you?"

"Eh,Yes. Why more than the Supremes Jonathan? More than Marvin Gaye?… These are great acts on that Motown label… I don’t know ladies and gentlemen, but when I hear that drum… they had this piano player, listen to these piano lines that this guy does that you don’t hear on those Supremes’. "

"Listen to the Marvelettes and decide why for yourselves coz we have the mighty Marvelettes…"


"Which one did I choose? Did I choose ‘Mister Postman’? or did I choose…"


"I must have, then… that leaves… PLAYBOY!!!"

The Marvelettes - Playboy MP3

"The Marvelettes and Playboy. I think the thing that… what? what are you looking at there?"

"Oh, he was asking me my favourite records from my first LP."

"And what are they?"

"Oh, ‘Important in your Life’, ‘Lonely Financial Zone’, ‘New England’ I would say, maybe… I don’t know. ‘Hi Dear’ came out pretty good! Look at this… that ‘aint a bad version of ‘Springtime or ‘Amazing Grace’ that’s a pretty good record! (laughing) I didn’t realise how good that thing was!"

"Actually we didn’t realise you made so many albums, we found eight in the office."

"Yeah, then neither did I coz some of them are probably by liars and cut throats."

(laughing) "Ow, I just banged my knee! Oh gosh, that didn’t half hurt! You’re still a fan of music aren’t you? ‘cos some people when they get really engrossed in what they’re doing themselves they forget about everybody else’s music."

"No, In fact I just got, picked up at Rough Trade office a bunch of tapes of their African stuff they put out. I listen to music from all over the world."

"Do you?"

"Yes… China, Caribbean stuff, South American. I go record store, I see what’s going and I just buy a Brazilian package or something just to check out, you know, things I don’t know in Brazil."

"So you must have this incredible collection at home?"

"No, I don’t collect this stuff, I just listen to stuff and if I don’t like it I give it away, so I don’t like to keep too many things around. So, I don’t know, I’ve got maybe… oh, hundred, fifty…a hundred records, seventy five records or something."

"Does Gail have similar tastes?"

"Sometime… eh, we both like Marty Robins a lot too, she likes Tammy Wynette more than I do, we both LOVE Marty Robins."

"Do you really?"


"Right. So you’re back in the states tomorrow?"


"Are you working when you get back?"

"Pretty soon, Yeah, little short trips for a while just around California, but then we go back east, and up to Toronto, Canada. Then rest for a month and then off to Australia…"

"It never stops."

"No, but it might. Coz if people, don’t… you know how it could stop? Seriously."


"Okay, suppose people don’t stop cutting down trees."


"People are losing soil all over. I’m told, for example, that in Britain you’ve got an acre of pavement in this nation for every acre of soil. That means you’re losing the soil you’ve got, because the pavement acre sucks up moisture from the rest."


"You might actually start to get arid country where you had forest. Well, then you’re gonna start… people are going to start, getting more… searching for water."

"Well we’re going to be running out of water in twenty five years time anyway."

"Well I’m saying it looks like it’s going to happen sooner, because people are cutting the last rain forests as we speak, when this happens you’re not going to have much oxygen. And I mean I’m not talking twenty years… I’m learning new stuff, it may happen in the next few. So, if that happens then I won’t be doing much travelling because there won’t be any airplanes, coz if the pilot’s dying of thirst you can’t convince him half to get off the ground, you know!"

(laughing) - "Are you a conservation addict? I mean are you…are you into?"

"Well that doesn’t go far enough! I want this stuff to end – right now!" (laughter)

"Well it’s been lovely talking with you, and I’m glad you’re nice!"

"I’m glad I’m okay!"

(handing Jonathan a package) – "And before you go, this I from me and Mike, a present."

"Thank you."

"That was if you were nice, if you were horrible you weren’t going to get it!"

"And would I have deserved it? No!"

"No! And the final track is your next single… ‘I’m Just Beginning To Live’."

"Which just states the bold facts of the matter… “Do not call me thirty four because I’m just beginning to live – right now!”

"Thank you…"

"You’re welcome."

Go here to part one...

Monday, November 6

Vintage again, an unreleased song

Here is the "Tahitian Hop" , an unreleased but rather funny song. Jonathan has lots of songs he never recorded, some are true gems and this one is quite shiny.. enjoy

Monday, October 30

The Venue for the Barcelona Show (2nd November) ...

CCCB - Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona

2 NovemberBCN-mp7. Music in processDebate + concert: BCN sound: NOW

BCN-mp7 comprises seven sessions of creation, mix and debate about contemporary popular music. The cycle is made up of talks devoted to open critical reflection on the current music scene and concerts that aim to establish new fusions and frictions between the various musical genres.

2 November. Session seven: BCN sound: NOW7.30 p.m. Discussion with Albert Guijarro, Martí Perramon and Javi Zarco. Moderator: Ramon Faura.9.30 p.m. Concert with Jonathan Richman and Muchachito. Guest artist: Kiko Veneno

Reality and myth of the Barcelona sound. Creative intensity versus the disconnected scene. Internal perception and external projection. Underlying cultural policies. Infrastructures and professionalization. Towards a new legal framework. Local scene/global scene. A city that's (always) ready.

Admission price 2.50 € / Concessions for students, senior citizens and the unwaged 2 €; Free admission for Friends of the CCCB.
Advance sales at the ticket desk of the CCCB and from Tel-Entrada (902 10 12 12 and

(As usual - If you are intending to go check the arrangements with the venue)

More info can be found at:

Our man in Madrid

Jonathan Richman, Circulo De Bellas Artes, 27 October 2006

In 2000 I gave a copy of ¡Jonathan, Te Vas A Emocionar! to a Spanish friend of mine and her sister. I have to say that they didn’t get very far with this despite being impressed that an English speaker had recorded an album in Spanish. I’m not what they were expecting but it would be fair to say that it wasn’t Jonathan singing dodgy Spanish rhymes about Chewing Gum Wrappers. Anyway, as far as I know the CD has lain untouched since that first listen and my love of Jonathan has become something of a joke. When she moved back home to Madrid a few years ago I promised her that the next time Jonathan played in Madrid that I would take her to see him so I was very happy when the tour dates were released and I saw he was playing there.

Phone calls, text messages and emails were sent and after a lack of enthusiasm my friend eventually ordered the tickets and began to prepare herself for a night of tedium and songs about Chewing Gum Wrappers. I booked my flights and a day off work and on Friday morning boarded a plane at Heathrow off on my way to Madrid.

The Circulo De Bellas Artes is a beautiful building spread over (at least) 5 floors. A web site I found says that it is decked out in 1920s décor. Now, truth be told, I don’t know 1920s décor from a hole in the ground but this is a wonderful building with different events on each floor. The floor on which Jonathan was playing (the fourth) was reached by a huge double staircase made of marble or stone and all the windows had very expensive looking, heavy curtains. The room it’s self had a semi circle of pillars towards the back and the whole place seemed to be decked out in marble.

On the ground floor there was a bar/restaurant but unfortunately we arrived a little late to visit there but there was a bar in the concert room. As I didn’t buy a round in there I can’t say how much a beer cost but the normal price for a half pint beer was around the 1.80 Euro mark. The concert hall was filled with Director style canvass chairs and when I arrived all the best seats had a “Reserved” notice on them and were still empty until the second that Jonathan took to the stage.

Luckily, my Spanish friend had reserved the tickets a few weeks ago as the place was full to overflowing by the time Jonathan appeared slightly after 10pm. Apparently Spanish people are notorious for turning up late to any show but either they made an exception for Jonathan or that view is not entirely correct.

Jonathan had on what looked like a new paisley style shirt and was full of energy and passion from the moment he appeared; luckily it looked like he is over the flu type illness that he suffered from earlier in the tour. I don’t think I have ever seen him in such a boisterous and playful mood. We were treated to a few Spanish songs which I have never heard before along with several of the established Spanish songs. All his talk between songs (and there was plenty of that) was in Spanish (he only speaks in French when he plays in France too which I think is very impressive.) Along with the Spanish songs we were treated to a regular set list of all the favourites. I will post the full set list later.

We got the full version of “Let her go” with the stories told in English, French, Spanish, Hebrew and Italian. During the English version he actually said the “F” word which I don’t think I’ve ever heard him say before. As I recall there were two encores although the first one he didn’t actually leave the stage. A group of people at the front were doing the conga, the rest of us were shouting and screaming for more with Jonathan giving the biggest grin I have ever seen. At the end he signalled to Tommy that they had finished and off they went for the last time leaving the audience going crazy.

A few minutes later the lights came on and several hundred people groaned in disappointment. We had been treated to 90 minutes of some of the best Jonathan I have ever seen and he could have played 10 hours and we would still have been disappointed to see him go. Even my friend was impressed, I’m not sure that she will be asking for the Jonathan back catalogue but that doesn’t matter. The trip was so worth it for all the obvious reasons but especially to see my friends thoughts on Jonathan change so drastically after just ninety minutes.

Roll on the next tour!


Friday, October 27

Vintage Jonathan

Thanks to my friend Mr Bassman, administrator of the Flamin' Groovies French Yahoo group, here is some gem out of the vaults, Jonathan singing "Abdul and Cleopatra" on a French tv program sometimes in the eighties.

Thursday, October 26

an american in london

I staggered into Jonathan Richman's Union Chapel show in Islington rather late and in my usual state of disarray having missed the previous night in Cambridge due to getting lost and going round in circles for hours. Andrew and Dom already described the evening admirably though it seemed there were probably more like 200 people in the building, which number still filled all the pews.

Having seen Jonathan in different settings, indoors and out, I think he draws his energy not only from the composition of the crowd and his interaction with it (which is why he loves to see people dancing), but also from inhabiting a specific physical and acoustic space. This space is not necessarily from any particular type of building, but rather one that forms like a cozy bubble enclosing him and his enraptured audience into a collective consciousness when conditions are right.

Nevertheless some of his songs are like intimate petitions or prayers, and the church venue seemed appropriate somehow, seemingly investing his performance with a purity of focus that may be diluted in a more rockin' atmosphere. There are fleeting moments when his singing takes flight even when his voice is reedy (or maybe especially then?), when his heart is laid bare and you can sense his vibrating soul. . . . .or perhaps it is that he has made you feel your own.

I would have liked to hear him do Harpo in a church but the songs he did perform were lovely to hear (and to see).

I didn't want to use the flash so these pictures are blurry. Sorry! Still, it's plain to see that Jonathan Richman's magic endures.

Wednesday, October 25

Up the Junction?

Cambridge 15th Oct
My story starts the day before, whilst Saturday shopping in Cambridge. Strolling through Christ’s Pieces I happened to glance at a tree (hmmm…) and there pinned was a flyer for The Stripe @ The Junction –“Jonathan Richman 15th Oct” – I had to look at it more than once before it finally sunk in. I think I uttered out loud some suitable expletive of disbelief!! I check the local gig listings quite regularly but somehow had managed to miss this. I often check the national gig listings looking for Jonathan’s gigs as I know he is a regular visitor, but here he was on my own doorstep.

The Junction is a fairly recent purpose built venue, definitely not a church this time, holding approx 850 on a live music night. I arrived quite early probably about 7:30, it taking a while before people started to come in. The Stripe is sponsored by wait for it….Red Stripe (duhhh), unfortunately such association is not reflected by the price – a pint of Red Stripe coming in at £3.10!!

From the day I first bought “The Modern Lovers“ back in ‘77 I have always loved Jonathan and his music (you can’t separate them – oh no!), and my anticipation was running high. I think I knew what to expect. Although I hadn’t kept up with Jonathan during the nineties, (for which I apologise – what was I thinking of!!!) I had started to hear more about him lately, an appearance on Later with Jools Holland a couple of years ago , Something about Mary etc. had re-ignited my interest. It was like meeting up with an old friend - Hi how are you - what have you been doing – where have you been etc.

Support act notwithstanding it was about 9:00pm before Tommy and Jonathan came on. Straight over to the mic. and immediately into Her Mystery Not of High Heels and Eye Shadow if I remember correctly. I perhaps at this point should mention that this was my first ever Jonathan Richman gig, and I was not prepared for what happened next……. I started to smile, which I kind of had expected, but that smile changed quite rapidly into a grin; I then entered into a state of complete joy identified by the biggest idiot grin that ever was. It was then that I noticed several others sporting the same recently-banjoed look. So this was the “Jonathan Effect”.

Next up (I think) was “Eygptian Reggae”, but a couple of bars in Jonathan stopped and asked whether it was true that this was currently being used over here in the UK in a telly ad. Everyone shouted back: “Yeah for a cereal”, then Jonathan asked :”Which one” - audience answer “Weetabix!”. He then said that weetabix was good and that he liked it, before saying that he “sure don’t remember giving permission for them to use it!! - I’ll have to have a few words with those guys”. Other songs followed some familiar to me some not. But all completely enjoyable.

It seemed that Tommy’s kit and Jonathan’s mic stand had been positioned as close to the front of the stage as possible, and the barrier which is normally between the audience and the stage was absent. I don’t know if that was specifically for this gig or not, but it did give a real sense of closeness and warmth. I don’t suppose there is much call for moshpit diving at a Jonathan Richman concert! This closeness, both actual and perceived, made it seem all the more personal, as if he was performing in your own house. Crowd swaying & bopping along, joining in on the choruses where they could – I was quite unprepared for the Ding-Ding during “Ice Cream Man”.

Others songs were in no particular order:
He Gave Us The Wine To Taste It
Springtime in New York
Give Paris One More Chance
Partners in Crime
Old world
Lesbian bar

At least those are the only ones I can recall and know the names of!!
All good things come to pass however and it was over almost as soon as it started – or so it seemed – there was no encore as such, “lets do one more* said Jonathan provoking not surprisingly cries of “Roadrunner”, plus one quite vociferous one of ”Abominable Snowman”.

The “one more” became two, but by now it was apparent that Jonathan’s voice was starting to suffer. Up till then there was no sign of the worsened voice apparent at the later gigs (yeah I’m writing this in a Tardis). Some inspired bouts of “dancing” ensued throughout the concert, with the occasional pause between strummin’ an’ dancin’ an’ singin’ for Jonathan to take a swig from his flask. Other than his voice failing a little towards the end it was a pretty lively affair, up with, it seems, the earlier Glasgow and Newcastle gigs! One thing that came home to me was how fine a guitarist he really is. OK, not in the traditional sense that we come to expect in a “rock“ act, but then i’m not a traditionalist in any sense, anyway. It’s a sort of flamenco/rock hybrid that works so well – at least for Jonathans music. Is it this style of playing that forms Jonathan’s music as it stands now, or is vice versa. Certainly listening to some of the old songs over the weekend has made me appreciate his playing more than I did before.

Finally over and after a good portion of shouts for more, unsurprisingly to no avail, the house lights came up. I popped to the loo (I’m sure you wanted to know that) and scuttled outside more than satisfied with my lot. However there was more to come. As I strolled (I do a lot of that) outside down by the side of the venue, I spotted a this guy seemingly clutching a Spanish guitar looking a little lost and accosting passers-by. Sure enough on his own, no entourage , no Tommy ,no roadies or helpers, nothing, there was Jonathan, more or less just standing in the road, shaking hands and greeting folk. I nipped over sharpish and breathlessly shook hands and uttered/spluttered quite unintelligibly at him. It then became apparent just how bad his voice had become as he could barely speak, or maybe he was wondering who the gibbering idiot was speaking to him in an unknown tongue (but later found out to be ancient moronic) was exactly. At that point a people carrier pulled up containing some fellow fans who were themselves leaving and had spotted him, a small bout of camera flashing ensued. Guitar propped up against the car bonnet, signing autographs. As the kind guy who offered to take Jonathan’s and myself’s picture with my camera, pressed the shutter release , I prayed to the lord above that I had remembered to switch the flash on…... I had!! I think I walked home that night about two feet above the pavement.

Image copyright Bob Crozier. No unauthorised reproduction

Its quite probable that this was the highlight of my year (OK I don’t get out much), so sorry if I’ve waffled on a bit. I spent the weekend trying to convert family and friends to Jonathan but to no avail – ah well! In the immortal words of the great god like genius, Mark E. Smith - “He is not appreciated”.

Bob Crozier

Tuesday, October 24

Down and out in Paris and London

As one would deduce from the name of the venue “Union Chapel” this was Jonathan playing his second church in 4 days (maybe more – I didn’t make it to the Cambridge show.) Is this a trend I wonder? Has Jonathan found God or did he simply fancy a change? His last few shows in London have all been in North London so maybe the local promoter simply offers him a number of available venues in the area for the night and Jonathan picks one.

As has been said this was a full on church, the only non church thing about it was the bar (but it’s many years since I was in a church so maybe they all have bars these days.) Anyway, Red Stripe was £2.50 a can which I thought was pretty good, I have paid almost double that at some places and been happy enough.

The strange thing was that the whole of the audience was seated in the pews – no standing (until the end anyway) and no dancing or drinking. Personally, this wasn’t my favorite venue, after all, what is a Jonathan show without a little bit of dancing and cheering. As it turned out things weren’t so strange because the state of Jonathan’s throat was so bad that he sang very quietly anyway with his amp turned right down and Tommy playing very gently.

Throughout the show Jonathan was sipping on some kind of medicine to ease his throat but he really didn’t look too well at all. I think the sound man may have been sneaking the volume up once or twice but when it was at the level Jonathan wanted this was, by a long way, the quietest show I have ever been to. I was sat next to a guy who was telling me that his 15 year old son had found his old Jonathan records and had been playing them a lot and it was impressive to see these two generations sat silence watching him.

The show lasted the usual 75ish minutes; I really wish he would play longer but at least the ticket prices are still sensible and won’t ever reach the madness of the Madonna prices. OK, please don’t shoot me for saying this but am I alone in thinking that it’s maybe time for a bit of a change in his show? Over the last 13 years I have seen him solo, with a band and obviously with Tommy. I think the first show I saw with Jonathan and Tommy was at The Jazz Café in Camden in 1999 and it was superb. It remained superb for the next few years but this time I got the feeling that I would have liked a change. Maybe it was the venue or maybe it was the fact that Jonathan was feeling under the weather or maybe it’s just me but something different would have been good.

Anyway, because of the early start of the show I think I was on the tube by 10pm and already wondering about the next night’s show in Paris.

I arrived at the Parc De La Villette, a beautiful green area about a fifteen minute metro ride from the Gare De Nord. We found the venue easily enough but there seemed to be several venues in the park along with (what I think was called) “Village of Music.” I imagine the whole area is superb in summer, even on a cold Tuesday night the pathways were full.

Jacques has given a wonderful review so I won’t repeat too much here. The difference between the London show was huge. Although, Jonathan was still pretty ill he looked a lot better and sang with a lot more volume and energy than we had see the night before. We were lucky enough to get an encore. I think, along with Jonathan feeling slightly better, Le Trabendo was a lot better venue than the Union Chapel but maybe that is my personal choice. For the record a can of Kronnenbourg 1664 was 4 euro.

Jonathan had on a buttoned up green shirt, I’m not sure if it was the same green shirt worn in London the previous night (which was open with a white t-shirt) and black jeans. If I saw his shoes then I have forgotten.

So, that’s two more Jonathan shows, not the best ever but I will happily put that down to his health. There is something so good about seeing him play that I am amazed that nobody has heard of him. To most people he will only ever be the bloke from There’s something about Mary but we know better. I still dream about seeing him play for two and a half hours with a full band but until then I will make do with him, a guitar and Tommy.

Sunday, October 22

Paris show part 3 (...and I met Jonathan)

I met Jonathan using patience... I had brought a present for Jonathan, a CD copy of the lost and found acetate of the 66 sessions recorded by the Velvet Underground for their first album, the one with the Warhol banana. But first another clip, "Girlfren", the Jonathan magic operates so well there:

I waited outside with lots of people who eventually left one by one. Only a couple of students and the three same giggling girls from the very beginning , the ones carrying the big Warhol banana, remained after a while. We saw the roadies moving the equipment to a van and had been there for another 20 minutes when Tommy came out. I went to meet him and he recognised me. We talked about the show, about Tucson, about common friends and I asked him if there was a chance to meet Jonathan. Tom said that Jonathan having this real problems with his voice does not go to speak with people on this tour. So I handed him the Velvet Underground CDr and explained him what it was about. I asked him to give it to Jonathan..he agreed and said this was a very interesting item which they would listen to very seriously. Then Tom told me he had to go to look for the cab he had ordered for him and Jonathan. At that moment Jonathan came out and the giggling girls went to him wanting to take pictures, which Jonathan kindly agreed to do..

I went by and could hardly hear him , he was kinda whispering, "sorry no voice anymore".. Tommy came back saying the cab was waiting, I met Jonathan then he greeted me and I walked with him towards the cab, I told him about the VU CD and he stopped walking, put his guitar case on the ground and shook my hand very warmly saying "merci, merci beaucoup, you cannot imagine how I am going to enjoy this, this is incredible". The smile he had on his face , his radiating eyes definitively made my day. We resumed our walking to the cab and after having thanked me again asked Tommy about the CDr which the drummer was still clutching as the Holy Grail..

Jonathan left me after having patted me on the shoulder, smiling..

Friday, October 20

Jonathan Richman 16/10/06 Islington, London, The Evening of Our Lives ...

My previous JoJo concert is a fading memory of hilarity and dervish-style dancing. Last night was a comparatively restrained affair (by his standards), but no less enjoyable, as Jonathan gave a generally much more poignant performance. Apart from the obvious attractions of his querky and spontaneous sides, I have always been genuinely moved by the bare emotion of many of his songs. I have to say he was not looking 100% (though when he smiles, the room lights up), and had frequent pauses to pour various combinations of drops and liquids down his neck to try and alleviate the problems with his vocal chords. I think it's getting him down a bit, or maybe there was a touch of some other ailment also, but surprisingly, his voice sounded smoother than I ever remembered, and the guitar playing impressed too (but as a non-musician maybe I am easily impressed). Being trapped in actual pews did not lend itself to dancing and there was no other open space available - I think this was another factor in determining the setlist. The high vaulted ceiling of this octagonal (still functioning) chapel made for a great acoustic space though, and it was full of about 800 to 900 fans had come to share the unique magic of a J.R. performance. It was a mixed bunch - Islington arts centre luvvies, Camden leisure pirates, a good proportion of students, and people like me who had treasured his greatness since the very first UK TOTP appearance. Tommy Lee Jones Larkins was flying by the seat of his pants keeping up with the vagaries of JoJo's mind (and succeeding admirably) by his side throughout on the 'toy' drum kit.

Some songs I remember:-

He Gave Us The Wine To Taste It - very appropriate opener given the surroundings
Her Mystery Not of High Heels and Eye Shadow
Les Etoiles
Springtime in New York
Let Her Go Into the Darkness
Vampire Girl (Does she cook beans? Does she cook rice? Does she do ritual sacrifice?) - I too am intrigued!
You Must Ask The Heart
Give Paris One More Chance - Hurrah!
G-I-R-L-F-R-E-N - with great spoken intro about the attraction of college girls to an adolescent JoJo
Vincent Van Gogh
Not So Much To Be Loved As To Love
A few Spanish songs too - the funny thing being how JoJo often squeezed in the English translations as he sang.Also, a couple of cowbell jives at various points during songs, drawing whoops with each lunge and high kick move.

Ms Y from a couple of weeks ago: "After the show we asked mr. r. to sign our super-cool posters. we told him that our friend andrew would be seeing him during the england tour, and asked that he keep vincent v. in the set list. he nodded vigourously."Well, Jonathan asked if he had done this one yet, and said he was going to finish with it. I took that as a virtual dedication - about the closest I'm likely to get anyway. So, Thanks! Then as the last couple of notes were being played, he said, 'Wait, there's one more we should do' and played Not So Much To Be Loved As To Love, largely in front of the mic. A nice way to finish. Despite his health problems, he looked glad to be there.

There was extended, and I mean very extended, clapping, stamping, cheering once he had made his exit, but there was no encore. I think he is having to save himself to get through this tour, as well as being known for not really doing encores. He had started early, and finished at 10, but this suited me as I had to get back south-west from north London. The Victoria Line tube was full of love, and that doesn't happen very often.

Just seeing JoJo let the guitar drop to his side, switch on the doe eyes, and make that little hip swivel is one of those moments to store away. Whenever you're having a bad time, remembering that is guaranteed to raise a smile.I have been touched by greatness again, and touched in my heart. Godspeed JoJo!


(Posted with Andrews permission - Thanks!)

Thursday, October 19

Paris show part 2

Here is a picture of the outside of the Trabendo, which I took around 7:30 PM

Now a clip of a new song, "Partners in Crime", enjoy !!

Wednesday, October 18

Paris show part1

Just a couple of clips shot yesterday evening before my actual review..
first here is OLD WORLD

On 17th of October , Jonathan was playing in Paris in a place called "the Trabendo", which is located in Le Parc de la Villette, NorthEast side of the city, it is a kinda club built in what you would call a 21st century folie, in reference to folies which were fashionable in gardens during the XVIIIth century like the fake Greek temple you can see at Stourhead Gardens for instance.

The Trabendo is able to welcome about 700 people but when I came there at 7pm on Tuesday evening there were only six of us waiting outside, one was a girl giving away flyers for some other shows, the other one was a guy selling tickets for the Jonathan show at a 30% discount rate, though we all had at that point our tickets paid full price, then there were three girls giggling and having brought a large Warhol banana (see Velvet Underground first LP) stuffed like a Teddy bear, another guy and me. We were still the same number around 7:30 and the show was due to start at 8pm.

Around 7:45, about 30 people were around me, a majority of young students, smoking like Hell fire, and a few old timers, then the doors opened. Inside it looked a bit like a semi posh club with fancy graffitis on the walls.

I went straight to the stage on the right side. A support act selected by Jonathan started the show, they were called Sandes Martelez (not so sure about the name), one singer, one guitar player and a girl rocking an acoustic bass. They did a very interesting set of cool Cuban music mixed with neurotic El paso rock, something like Calexico meeting rockabilly. While they were playing the room got filled up. Next to me a young couple of students, the girl looking very young and asking her friend if that was the place where they would come to see the Flaming Lips, and how old was Jonathan (he must be around 40 answered the guy..). I heard she had not a clue about Jonathan and his music but she definitely was showing a piece of know..yes that sort of cleavage which does not leave anything to imagination, the real stuff.
And all those young guys around me were still chain smoking cigarettes.. even though a poster on the wall was announcing that people were invited not to smoke to the artist's request. Poor Jonathan with his aching throat would have to go through it stoically without complaining but I guess he could not play more than 75 minutes for that reason too. Jonathan entered the stage smiling around 9 pm , wearing a greenish shirt , a moustache, Wrangler jeans and black gym slippers called here "rythmiques" (excuse my French). he started with this new song , "Celestial" which I liked a lot and followed by "Her mystery.." . He was often looking in my direction but I found out he was more like looking more right , I turned my head and saw that the young creature nearby was making some show of her cleavage, Tommy from the other side also noticed at some moment and leered. But it did not distract the true professionals we had fronting us more than a couple of times. Maybe it will work better with the Flaming Loops, I mean boobs..

"Old world", "girlfren" Jonathan did a few of those Modern lovers songs from the very first album. All of them have turned out to be classics nowadays. Jonathan was dancing a lot, Tommy using these kind of breaks to entertain us with some drumming assault. It was obvious that the show was done in a way Jonathan would manage to relax his throat by dancing, use those cowbells and other various percussion instruments (the hilarious "no gazoline reggae") while Tommy would keep the beat steady and enjoying himself.

We were treated with several new songs, some in French with rather surrealistic lyrics, "silence" was joyful nonsense, "le tourbillon de poussiere" was describing a dust whirl connected to lovers passing by. I mentionned "Celestial", there was also "Partners in crime" which Jonathan seems really to like. The audience favourites were "egyptian reggae" and the mandatory "Lesbian bar" which I am personnally a bit fed up with.

After having been through a couple more songs including "in che mondo viviamo", Jonathan said he had been singing in French, English, Spanish and Italian, he asked what should he do next. To the request of a lady he agreed to keep English and then asked what he should sing.. of course everyone was screaming for his favourite song, on my right they were yelling "ice scream man", I heard "new England", "she cracked" so I came up with "roadrunner" because I never saw Jonathan perform it live, this brought other chaps to ask for the same song. But Jonathan was acting as if he could not hear the requests and keep on asking what we requested .. finally he faked having heard something and started "hospital" it was some highlight of the evening for me specially that he went directly into "Pablo Picasso afterwards, that was magic.

He had sung "girlfren" earlier , introducing it in French and explaining how demure and innocent he was at 17 ("looking even younger") and his failures to attract the attention of girsl, students who smoked Welsh cigarettes because in the US something coming from Wales was supposed to be very sophisticated. It was hilarious.

I remember the last song to be "let her go into the darkness" with the French and Italian sequels, we did not get the full multilingual treatment, but I noticed that Jonathan's voice was sort of getting away.
He did an encore because the audience really asked for it (they asked for more during about 10 minutes later but this did not work). When he thanked everybody, it was clear to me that he was losing his voice and would not come back.

Then the doors were opened and people invited to leave. I stayed, lots of people still screaming "Jonathan come back" and smoking like chimneys. As always after 10 more minutes the people started to go out .. I was trying to avoid the bouncers keeping a cool and collected attitude of someone important ready for an appointment. One of the bouncers came to me asking me to go out of the room, I started to say it was important for me to meet Jonathan, that I was co-webmaster of his webzine.. nothing worked. This bouncer had been neatly selected, huge, black, stupid with braincells where you could see that there was a missing light in or two of the cells but certainly an expert in martial arts. I moved to a group of what looked like Happy few with backstage passes. But even they got annoyed by the black bouncer, "you have to get out NOW", the backstage passes carriers sort of complained, one was a producer, the other one a record executive, some girlfriends, they called the manager of the Trabendo who said to the bouncer , "him, him , him, her, her , him" its Ok.. I was in the middle of the group and thought I was safe. Except that one more light must have ben switched on in the bouncer's head and he asked to see my pass, I handled him my professional badge just pretending to feel relaxed. He smiled and with a well trained movement throwed me out of the Trabendo.
I waited outside because I was determined to meet Jonathan
.(to be continued)

Here are Hospital and Pablo Picasso

Paris show (17/10/06) setlist

Full report plus pictures and video clips will be added in the following days.

Just some comments, it was a very good and lively show, Jonathan being in great shape except fo his voice at the end of the concert. When I met him later, he could only whisper...

The concert lasted 75 minutes , one encore. here is the list of the songs we heard, order not guaranteed, I was happy to hear so many old Modern Lovers tunes.

Celestial -new song-
Her mystery not of high heels...
Una novia
Les Etoiles
Springtime in NY
-new song in French-
Old world
Egyptian reggae
Lesbian bar
The whorehouse song in Spanish
Le tourbillon de poussiere
-new song in French-
No gazoline reggae
-new song-
In che mondo viviamo
Partners in crime
-new song-
Pablo Picasso
Let her go into darkness

Encore : My baby loves me

Tuesday, October 17

Sunday, October 15

Jojo in Newcastle

Jonathan Richman Concert Review
Friday 13th October 2006,
All Saints Church, Newcastle

When I first heard that Jonathan was going to be playing in an old church in Newcastle, I did wonder how that would be. I had visions of him being at the front of the aisle with us in the audience all lined up watching him in narrow pews: of course with no room to dance. Or maybe it would be in a dusty old church hall, straight after the boy scouts or yoga group had finished? Thankfully it turned out to be neither, and in fact was rather lovely.

All Saints Church is an 1796 “elliptical” Church, quite a significant one too apparently, and right in the centre of Newcastle. We all gathered at first in the little circular entrance hall, buying pints of beer and sitting on the steps of the grandest baptismal font I have ever seen, until at last they opened the doors and let us in the church proper.

And what a surprise, what a quirky, lovely arrangement of space it was in there! I’m not too well up on ecclesiastical terms, so bear with me, but the room itself was circular with a kind of stage to the front with a little railing all round it, nicely lit as if for a nativity play or harvest festival. At head height, on either side of the stage, statues of Jesus and Mary stood in little alcoves, their arms outstretched. In front of this, a fine wooden floor of quite generous size, and beyond that, in a grand sweeping circle, all around the edges of the room, about seven or eight rows of mahogany pews, all sectioned off into little gated stalls. A stunning place by any standards.

Jonathan loved this room’s acoustics, and commented on how good the sound was in there – we all know how much this kind of thing matters to him, so I think it definitely put him in a good mood from the outset!

First up though was the support act, singer/guitarist Elaine Palmer. Her voice was sweet and clear, and put one in mind sometimes of Melanie, other times of the Cowboy Junkies. There was just something about that venue that let her voice carry and fill the space quite beautifully. The audience listened to her set in hushed, rapt attention, and every song was warmly applauded.

When Jonathan and Tommy arrived, they played for about one minute to an empty dance floor, save one brave soul who was determined to dance. The rest us stayed put in our little gated stalls. Then a couple of people crept onto the dance floor and sat down.

“Hey, c’mon” said Jonathan “I’m glad to see you on the dance floor, but you don’t have to sit down, you know – I would much rather you stood up!” With that a huge cheer went up and about 80 per cent of the audience at once ran onto the dance floor –
and from that moment on it was like the concert had started properly.

Jonathan did a fine selection of old and new stuff: “Let her go into the Darkness”, “Her mystery (not of high heels)”, “Egyptian Reggae”, “He gave us the wine to taste it”, “I was dancing in the Lesbian Bar” (this one went down an absolute STORM for some reason – and was by far the audience’s favourite) “Old World” (but with slightly different lyrics) and also some newer ones (“Celestiale?” “Partners in Crime?”) which the audience seemed to appreciate just as much as the more familiar stuff.

The lighting in the room was quite lovely, and definitely deserves a mention. When Jonathan was doing his quirky dancing, or shaking his cow-bells, if he moved to the front of the stage he cast 20 foot high shadows of himself to either side of the wall – Dancing Jonathans in triplicate!

At the end of the show, Jonathan bid the crowd farewell and departed the room. For some reason, this crowd seemed to have no idea that Jonathan rarely does encores, and to be honest I think he had enjoyed the set so much he didn’t keep them waiting, but came back on stage pretty much straight away.

What followed was rather special. He played one song – not a bright, up-beat crowd-pleaser, not a safe old favourite. He played a song that I’m guessing not one person in the hall had ever heard before – an achingly well crafted, intensely personal account of his own mother’s death “As my mother lay dying.” He sang it quietly, so we all had to stand still and listen if we were to hear it properly. And listen we did; you could have heard a pin drop. After that, there was no need for any further songs.

It seemed like one of those moments where Jonathan is truly bold, truly unafraid to bare his soul, to commune with his audience. He still maintains that ability to surprise and delight, to throw the unexpected right at you from nowhere. This is one of the reasons why a live Jonathan Richman concert remains one of life’s great and particular pleasures, and why, one night on, I am already looking forward to the next one!

Jan Spencer

All Saints Church, Newcastle

Thursday, October 5

Our Dog Is Getting Older Now

Our dog is getting older now
Has trouble coming up the stairs
You gotta help him sometimes
Because his back legs, they wobble

Our dog is getting older now
We make him dog beds everywhere
You gotta help him stand
So he doesn't topple

He's a pit bull
And he's not mean
He loves for the children to pat him on the head
And he still thinks life is funny

He's a pit bull
And he's not mean
He'll let the children do anything
And he still thinks things are funny

Our dog is getting older now
That's true, yeah
That's true

Our dog is getting older now
That's true
That's true

You can hear this touching song, written and performed by Jonathan Richman during a recuperation period after a problem with his vocal chords was diagnosed, on the Colours Are Brighter website, where you can pre-order the CD (UK), which will be released 16 October.

Amazon has the CD listed for pre-order as well:

Colours Are Brighter: songs for children and grownups too

Previous jojopost on Colours Are Brighter with more info

Monday, October 2

The Makeout Rooms, San Francisco, CA

* Flyer reproduced with permission of Emdee, thanks!

For the next few nights (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 2nd to the 4th October) Jonathan & Tommy will be playing at the Makeout Room, CA...

For ticket information go here..

Saturday, September 30

postcard image courtesy Get On The Beam

Wednesday, September 27

EUROPEAN TOUR -- October/ November 2006

As mentioned on the Jonathan Richman Mailing List postcard:

Jonathan Richman Mailing List
PO Box 8024
Santa Cruz, CA 95061

Jonathan Richman
featuring Tommy Larkins on the drums!!!

EUROPEAN TOUR - October/ November 2006

Oct 9 -- Reykjavik -- ICELAND -- Idno Theatre
Oct 12 -- Glasgow* -- SCOTLAND -- Oran Mor
Oct 13 -- Newcastle* -- ENGLAND -- Church Hall (update: All Saints Church -rb)
Oct 15 -- Cambridge -- ENGLAND -- Cambridge Junction
Oct 16 -- London -- ENGLAND -- Union Chapel
Oct 17 -- Paris* -- FRANCE -- Trebendo
Oct 20 -- Rome -- ITALY -- Big Mama
Oct 26 -- Leon -- ITALY -- University
Oct 27 -- Madrid -- SPAIN -- Circulo Bellas Artes
Nov 1 -- Guadalajara -- SPAIN -- Teatro Moderno
Nov 2 -- Barcelona -- SPAIN -- ???
Nov 3 -- Valencia -- SPAIN -- Black Note Club
Other dates to possibly be added.

Sunday, September 24

Interview from Q Magazine (from back in 1993) continued...

Part 3

But don’t you think you gave people reason to doubt your sanity when, in the late ‘70s, you came amongst us singing those songs of insects, ice cream, and the playpen other?

“I just sing them, Tom, I sing then and I let other people interpret them. I just play them. People can like them or not like them. I’m not out to win a popularity contest. Did you ever hear a rumour that I’m a karate expert? That’s not true – but it makes a good story.”

What does a line like “I go to bakeries all day long/There’s a lot of sweetness in my life” (from Hospital) mean? Or was it “lack of sweetness” and it was…

“I just answered that question Tom. I just sing them I don’t interpret them. I sang that in 1970. That’s when I made it up. Why not sing about it? That’s what happened. I went to bakeries. Didn’t you ever go to a bakery? What’s wrong with that? It’s something that just comes from life, so I think you’re overstating it. But I still like my songs and I’m glad you like them too.”

In 1977, at the height of Jonathan Richman’s flickering flame, he played at the Hammersmith Odeon and outside the venue large, red letters proclaimed: “JONATHAN RICHMAN – THE MOST FUN YOU CAN HAVE WITH YOUR CLOTHES ON”. Heady days, what?

“Well I didn’t suggest that line, you know, I looked at that and I said, All right, what idiot thought up this Most Fun With Your Clothes On schtick? And my good friend Eugene Manzi (then Beserkley publicist) said, Well that was me. So that was all that was. That was not the highlight of my career. I wasn’t thrilled with that 1977, 1978 era when I was famous in London. It wasn’t my idea of rollicking excitement. When I get nostalgic, I get nostalgic for a show I did in 1972 in Boston in a club called The Stone Phoenix and there were about 200 people there and it just got emotional the way I like shows to get emotional. There was communication between me and the audience. I can’t explain it. I really can’t. I don’t want to talk about it. I just do the songs.”

Richman lives in California, in the Sierra Nevadas, with his wife, Gail, and a son and daughter. He still sings about Boston.

“Boston. You see, this is the kind of stuff I like talking about. This is fine. There’s something about Boston that is… I’m tripping over my words here because Boston affected me the way a lot of cities don’t. It’s got a kind of sad beauty to it. You know what it reminds me of? Belfast. There’s a certain feeling. Van Morrison, his Astral Weeks album, a lot of those songs were written in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He’s from Belfast. I listen to that record a lot and I think Boston, Cambridge again. I went to Cypress Avenue in Belfast. I found it. I went there. Van Morrison is my favourite singer. I met him briefly when I was a kid. Not so’s he would remember.”

If he likes to talk of Boston, there’s not much else that seems to thrill him, conversationally-speaking. “Break time!” he cries once more, and goes skidding off in loosening-up mode, alarming the traffic all over again.

go back to part 2

(To be continued)

Friday, September 22

Armi ja Danny - I Wanna Love You Tender

Off Topic stuff... makes me smile!

Wednesday, September 20

The Bostonians #12 : Barry Marshall

I don't think I need to introduce Jonathan fans to Barry Marshall, he has been playing music and singing since 1975. I always had a special affection for the "family"band , the Marshalls.
Barry has been a record producer for many artists through the years. Although he is a very busy man, (he is a Professor at the New England Institute of Art, and teaches also in colleges), he kindly agreed to answer my questions.

> - First, before going on topics, do the Marshalls still exist and play as a band ? And is your sister Ellie still singing ?

Yes - to both questions. The Marshalls exist a bit loosely, we play about 10-20 gigs a year, and we still play some of our original songs from the late 70's. I put together a cd of the stuff from 1977-81. It's available on my website:

> - when did you first hear/see Jonathan Richman ? Was it with the original Modern Lovers ? and if it is the case of was it ?

I first saw Jonathan at a Cambridge Common show walking around singing with an unplugged electric. I remember thinking he uniquely stood out in a crowd of people, many of whom were trying hard to be "different", but I didn't know who he was or anything. I figured it out later when I met him with my friend Andy Paley. Andy's band The Sidewinders were kind of friendly rivals with The Modern Lovers and I saw them together at a show.

> - what was your first impression facing Jonathan's music ?

I was absoluteley knocked out by "Roadrunner" and I did think that the original Modern Lovers were almost a genre of their own. I liked The Sidewinders even better though. They were the two best bands in Boston in that early 70s period and both influenced a ton of the later Punk and New Wave bands, both in Bosotn and New York.

> - You have been part from the Boston scene from its very beginning and have been involved in many interlinked projects with different musicians as can be seen on some compilation LPs ("the Boston Incest album") , Jonathan Richman never seemed to be part of this as if he always acted on his own.. how do you explain this ?

Well, yes and no about acting alone. He was always his own thing and about as individualistic as anyone can be in show business, but he was friendly and hung with bands and played with other bands sitting-in wise etc. He played guitar on an early Marshalls tune in the studio and sat in on some great gigs with the band (I particularly remember a high school dance where he put on an amazing show). I also saw him sit in with plenty of other bands. I think you might have that impression because he was playing and living in other places than Boston I think through most of the mid to late 70s

> - What do you think of Jonathan music's evolution through the decades ? and which is your favourite period ?

I like some stuff from almost every period, but probably my favorites are the the early "Roadrunner"/ "Gov. Center" period and then the stuff from (I think it's called) "Rock N' Roll with The Modern Lovers" - "Egyptian Reggae" and "Morning of Our Lives".

> - You have produced many records of famous artists through the years> with people as different as Aimee Mann, Peter Wolf and you specially took care of Lavern Baker. Would you enjoy working on a Jonathan album ? What would you do to his sound ?

I couldn't imagine what I would do other than to make It happen for him in any way he needed to make it happen. Jonathan certainly doesn't need any artist development!

> - What is your favourite Jonathan album ?

From a professional standpoint, "Jonathan Sings!" because my sister Ellie and my girlfriend Beth were in the band and I was sort of a fly on the wall for the whole process of the development of the songs, the tours leading up to the album, the recording, etc. I also think that "Summer Feeling" from that record is one of the greatest songs ever written.

> - As a scholar in music, are you mentionning the Modern Lovers in the lectures you are giving in the colleges where you are teaching ?

Occasionally, if I get into stuff about the development of the music scene of Boston or even of Punk Rock. Of course when you are a "college professor" you get to throw in jargon like "Jonathan invented a new paradigm, a modality through which..." Just kidding.

> - How would you rate Jonathan's influence on today's music in Boston and elsewhere ?

Huge. Every band at The Rat and CBGBs of the later 70s period was influenced by him. And they all still influence bands today. I also think he influences a lot of folkies even now.

> - What Jonathan song would you enjoy to cover and what would be the composition of the band you would look for to do this ?

The Marshalls did a few of Jonathan's songs over the years: both "New Teller" and "Government Center" (we still do that one and sometimes do it together with "I Think We're Alone Now"). I also played "Egyptian Reggae" in Belly Dancing shows! I always thought that "Morning of Our Lives" would be a great song to do with the right singer; I almost did it with LaVern. I am also thinking about "Summer Feeling". If I ruled the world, I'd cut Van Morrison on it. Who knows?

> - Finally, any anecdote related to Jonathan ?

He recorded some stuff with my sister several years back at my school. Some of the students knew who he was, but the look on their faces when he started doing pushups in the studio was priceless!

Barry attached to his answers the draft of an article he wrote about the Boston scene and which was edited in the Greenwood Encyclopedia after several cuts. This very interesting study will be available on the backstage blog soon...