Tuesday, March 28

Jonathan tribute, March 10th 2006

Thanks to Tony C., from the PA's Lounge, here is the review of the Tribute show as published in the Boston Phoenix by Sarah Tomlinson

"... A similarly communal vibe marked the "Tribute to
Jonathan Richman" at P.A.'s Lounge last Friday night,
and evening organized by local musicians Lou Bunk and
Ben Morse to benefit the Somerville Arts Council. A
dozen acts celebrated their favorite songs by Richman
and his iconic Modern Lovers before a packed house.
Local trio the Specific Heats were joined by guest
vocalist Abe Scott, who worked the crowd durning
"Roadrunner", coaxing audience members to sing along
to the chorus.

Scott dedicated the band's set to
Allen "Alpo" Paulino, the Real Kids bassist who passed
away last month, before ripping his shirt off for an
amped-up take on "I Wanna Sleep in Your Arms".


the temperature in the room reaching a sweaty peak,
Morse appeared to suffer from a bout of heat stroke:
after taking a break from singing with his trio B for
Brontosaurus, he returned and joked, "Thank you for
indulging my puking". After a brief solo interlude by
John O'Hara on acoustic guitar, he finished the set.
Anushka Pop had the crowd twisting and shaking to
their deadpan renditions of "Here Come the Martian
Martians" and "Modern World". The classic Richman
line "Put down your cigarette and drop out of BU"
doesn't seem to lost any of it's currency."

More photos can be seen at :

Sunday, March 26

Malingering *

I’m Malingering, I’m just hanging round...

We’ll, suppose I could go walk around the block,
I’ve been nursing this same dream since 9 o’clock,
The waitress looks at me, she has a little frown,
She knows I’m malingering, I’m just hanging round,

Well down town was looking good, a while ago,
And them lights in the rain, put on quite a show,
Well I’ve walked around once already, and walked around again,
And I haven’t seen nothing, well I haven’t seen nothing,

Well now there’s lots of stuff to do, back at my place,
When I get lonely like this, I just stare in space...
And I want to be around people, so I went down town,
And I’m just there malingering, I’m just hanging round,

Down town was looking good, a while ago,
Well them lights in the rain, they put on quite a show,
Well I’ve walked around once, and I’ve walked around again,
And I haven’t seen nothing, I haven’t seen nothing,

Well there’s lots of stuff to do, when I’m back in my home,
But I get too lonely and I just stay alone,
And I don’t do nothing, I just sit around (you know) feeling sorry for myself,
I want to hang around people, so I went ‘down town’,

I’m just malingering, I’m just hanging round,
Hanging round… hanging round.

An unreleased song performed at the Knitting Factory, New York, 24th October 1997

Wednesday, March 22


She would send him Jonathan Richman; he would send her Aphex Twin ...

"One of the great things about [Sarah] Vowell is the feeling that she is someone who GETS IT when it comes to music. She has a great piece about the beauty and importance of the mix tape, describing that she was in a relationship with a guy who was great except for one insurmountable problem — His musical taste sucked. She would send him Jonathan Richman; he would send her Aphex Twin and other ambient music:

"That music of his did not bother me when we were making out.... It bothered me in those ponderous solitary moments when I asked myself if I could really love a man who did not think, as I did, that a band with two drummers playing two drum sets was some kind of a mortal sin, just as I'm sure he asked himself if he could really fall for such an oldfangled, verse-chorus-verse relic like me.

Which might be shallow but our incompatible music pointed to incompatible world views. He was the ocean, preferring waves of sound to wash over him with no beginning, middle or end. I'm more of a garden hose, fancying short bursts of emotion that are aimed somewhere and get turned on and off real quick." "

Friday, March 17

Comix strip of Jonathan in Belgrade

Aleksandar Zograf is a comics drawer, a journalist as well as a die hard Jonathan fan.
In 2005, while Jonathan toured Serbia, Aleksandar met him in Belgrade and designed a Jonathan comix in Italian.

When Aleks was a kid, a friend of his had a parrot which one day while hearing "Kwa Ti Feng" from "Rock'n roll with the Modern lovers" became very excited and reproduced the song. In 2002, Aleks met Jonathan in San Francisco and told him about the parrot. Jonathan was not surprised and said that animals understood music. In 2005, Jonathan toured Serbia for the very first time coming from Turkey.
He sang in front of an enormous audience which did not want him to leave when his gig was over. The microphones had been switched off but Jonathan had to come back again and again and sang accapella in front of the extactic audience. He gave to Aleks a drawing he had done of the street of his hotel in Istanbul. He had been appalled to see people living nearby in slums.

In Belgrade, Jonathan and Aleks discussed... Jonathan was explaining his hate for cellular phones and how he was tryin' to get rid of belongings.
"when I am looking at the Danube river, at the birds an all the surroundings, the ringing of a phone would transport me elsewhere and destroy what I had here.. if someone is looking for me, why does'nt he just come to my house and knock the door ?
Records, CD's I don't even have my own ones .I am trying to get rid of all that is not necessary, no belongings." And Aleks replies to him that he is just the opposite and that it is easy doing for Jonathan, what can matter when you have seen the Velvet Underground live.
J : " when I was 10 years old, my parents took my brother and I to New York, that was awesome !
First going to Boston which was already a large city , then New York even larger with taxis at every corner, Later I wanted to fly from Boston to New York because there was the Velvet Underground there and I wanted again the lights in the night."
Then Jonathan draws from memory a picture of the Boston Tea Party, a former synagog turned into a venue, where the Velvets used to play a lot as they had a larger following in Boston than in NYC.
Jonathan attended all these concerts with devotion and he points out to Aleks on the drawing "there is the pizzeria where we used to go for dinner each time". Final drawing is inside the BTP, the attendance.. " in those times you would not describe those shows as concerts, people were coming mainly to dance. So biker gangs, university teachers, students, famous people (Andy Warhol was often there), they all came every month to dance to the music of the Velvet Underground.

Saturday, March 11

The Modern Lovers at the Paradiso Club, Amsterdam - 27th September 1977

You can hear a great sounding recording of The Modern Lovers at the Paradiso, by following this link. (before & after the recording of Suicide)

You really do need to hear this, especially for 'Here we are in Ancient Egypt'....
YA, Ya, Yaya Yayaya, Ya, Ya.... great fun!

I'm a little Dinosaur
(Suicide recording followed by...)
Ice Cream Man
Ancient Long Ago
I'm a little Airplane
South American Folk Song
Here we are in Ancient Egypt...
Pretty Little Girl
Hello Josephine
New England

(Made available thanks to Night Train, VPRO, The Netherlands)

Thursday, March 9

Battling Santas

And from a different slant altogether...

Battling Alien Santas, off the wall or what??

Pretty Eyecatching though!!!


In contrast with the previous "girls, girls, girls" Jonathan flyer, this one is more let's say hagiographic. What is interesting in this rendition is the sinister composition of the pic as if Jonathan was mourning in front of some altar/grave stone, why should he do that ? Something is definitely wrong, look at those fingers ! They cannot be human, what we are confronted here with is some Jonathan replicant delivered by aliens. Beware of fakes !

Wednesday, March 8

Favourite Flyer....

I love this old poster from 1997... one of the best!

The Bostonians #9 : Ben from "B for Brontosaurus"

Ben is one of the organizers of the Tribute to Jonathan Richman (see poster in previous post).

His band is named "B for Brontosaurus". He is an impeccable Jonathan fan and has agreed to answer some questions I had ready for him.

- First, how did this Jonathan tribute project start ? why Jonathan ?

Well, there isn't a story per se. I love Jonathan Richman, and I found that a lot of the musicians I was meeting in Boston do, too. We wouldhave done it sooner, but when I first approached Tony at PA's Lounge about it, he said it would have to wait, as there was to be a They Might Be Giants tribute, which we also played in. Several of those bands are back for this show. I organized it with my friend Lou, who plays in Shana's Mango, and all the bands pitched in with posters and equipment and everything.

-What does Jonathan Richman represent for bands like yours ?

I can speak for myself at least, and say that I love Jonathan's music, and his shows, because he has found a way to say what he wants to and have a sense of humor without being jokey, and to be sincere without being pretentious. Lyrically, I draw much more from bands like They Might Be Giants and the Magnetic Fields and the Unicorns, but the other thing that I really take from Jonathan is the way that he uses well-established musical tropes, and gives them new life – particularly the "rock and roll" era work. I love his use of back-up
vocals, and really, that he wants his music to be fun. Not everyone remembers that.

-How would you rate Jonathan's influence on the local music scene ?

Well, the Boston music scene is pretty big, and there is a whole lot going on here. I think there are bands here who, whether they know it or not (and mostly I think they do), draw off of the earliest work he did with the Modern Lovers – that kind of snotty (Jonathan's owndescription – see "Monologue about Bermuda"), one or two or threechord punk rock kind of thing. The bands around town that I really love – Ponies in the Surf, Tiger Saw, Pants Yell!, the Specific Heats, the Smittens, Jason Anderson – in those bands, and in ours, I see the influence of his sweeter, friendlier tunes – Ice Cream Man, Hospital,
Springtime in New York, Roller Coaster By the Sea
. Of course, his
influence is just really pervasive in indie pop music, and like the
Velvet Underground, you are probably influenced by him even if you don't know it.

Joanna, Abe and Ben - B for Brontosaurus - at the Middle East ...

- Your band is named "B for Brontosaurus", any relation with " I'm a
little dinosaur" ? What kind of music do you play ? Your influences ?

Our drummer Abe and I were in a band before this called the Dino-Whores, which came out of some potty-mouth freestyling Abe did at an early rehearsal (I think he was talking about my mom). That band played "I'm a Little Dinosaur" as does B4B from time to time. I don't recall where the chicken and the egg were on that. This new band does not have as much of a pervasive dinosaur theme. During a drinking Scrabble game that Joanna, the bassist, and I were playing once, the word "brontosaurus" was magically, partially, spelled out on the board
before us.

I guess you could say that we play indie pop, generally. But we approach songwriting with a mixtape aesthetic in mind – most of our songs don't sound a whole lot like each other. The minimal instrumentation (drums, guitar, bass or keyboard), and that all of us sing are the things which unify the sound. Both of those things are very much Jonathan's influence. But it also comes from bands like the Unicorns, Beat Happening, the Moldy Peaches. Unlike some of those bands, we play pretty tightly, or at least we try. You can hear some
songs at bforbrontosaurus.com. Hopefully we'll have an album in the next few months, too.

- On this tribute night which Jonathan songs are you going to cover ?
Are they included in your regular set-list or are you going to perform
them especially for that event ?

Little Dinosaur is our only regular Jonathan cover, although we also did New England for my hometown's bicentennial this summer. For this set, we have added a keyboard player and two saxophonists, and we are playing a rock and roll type of set: Abominable Snowman, Fender Stratocaster, My Love is a Flower, Roller Coaster by the Sea, and Lydia. Lots of great back-up vocals, and we wrote sax lines for every song. We probably won't play them again, because they won't be that great without the other musicians.
We are calling ourselves U for Ultrasaurus at this show, as we have doubled in size.

- Could you tell us about the other bands involved in the tribute ...

The other bands are all bands we've played with, some at the TMBG tribute, and some at regular shows. We're pretty good friends with some of them, and others we've just spoken with briefly. You can get links to all of their websites from paslounge.com. Here's the list:
The Shrinking Islands, Anushka Pop, B for Brontosaurus, Spoilsport, The Specific Heats, The Rabbit Family Girls' Choir, John O'Hara, The
Hyphens, Shana's Mango, The Double Stops, Tony the Bookie
(the fellow
who books at PA's, which is quickly becoming an little musical mecca in town).

- Have you seen Jonathan live ? when ?

I first got into Jonathan in the spring of '03, when I was abroad in London. Some Americans I knew were staying there, too, and they were determined to get me into him. I was supposed to take a trip to Stonehenge early one morning, but they kept me at their flat listening to Jonathan records until all hours of the night, and I missed it. Later that spring, shortly after the war started in fact, they took me to see him. I've seen him once more in Providence, and actually managed to miss both of his shows in Boston since I've lived here. Seeing him play live makes me feel happy to be alive in a way that few things do, and I miss it. I will see him next time!

- What is your favourite period in Jonathan's career, and your
favourite record ?

You may have guessed by now that I love the "rock and roll" era, with Asa and Leroy and D. Sharpe backing him up. I am ashamed to admit that I only own compilation records, but I suppose that if I weren't so lame, "Rock and Roll with the Modern Lovers" might be the favorite.

- The Modern Lovers induced what became in the 80's the Boston rock
scene, considered to this day as some classic golden age especially in
Europe, with bands like the Real Kids, DMZ, Lyres, the Classic Ruins
and many others... Do you think that today this could start again with
bands of your generation which have common influences, Jonathan being
one of them ?

I'll admit that I don't know really anything about Boston 80's rock music. I talked before about where I see Jonathan's influence among my peers here. I think that there are things going on in Boston, particularly but not exclusively in terms of indie pop, that are really worth taking note of. Oh, I should refer readers to the Boston indie pop board, run by Mat of the Specific Heats. It's at
http://bostonpop.proboards18.com, and a good place to learn about some of the great music in these parts.

- any anecdote related to Jonathan ?

I haven't yet made any friendships based exclusively around Jonathan, but whenever I find a new person who also loves his music, we have a special little bond right there.

I guess this makes a perfect ending. It's a pity, and I am sure Bob will agree with me on that point, that you missed Stonehenge. Do not forget to inform us when your album is out and have "a nice party in the USA" on Friday night.

Tuesday, March 7

Interview from Q Magazine (from back in 1993)

Part One...

Occupants of automobiles cruising the road betwixt the crumbling house of Margaret Mitchell (she who wrote Gone with the Wind) and the shiny tower of Ted Turner (he who invented CNN and married Jane Fonda) are peering from their shaded windows and wondering at a tall, stick like figure prancing upon the small park’s kempt grass. With his arms he performs the motions of excited windmills; his legs are doing things that wouldn’t look out of place on a puppet; or a horse; or a puppet-horse. And if they could but hear it, Atlanta’s drivers would notice that said figure is singing a little tune to himself, which goes something like “Whooo-whooo-shooo”.

What manner of loon is this? A released-into-the-community statistic or a performance artiste or what? It is very hard to say. But look a little closer: the big nose and the black hair and the strangely leering eyes, they all seem a little familiar. Yes, it is Jonathan Richman, the gawky “kid” from the Boston suburbs, the barmily “different” pop singer who was famous for some moments back in the days when all about him were New Wave and punks, and who isn’t famous any more. It is 1993 and Jonathan Richman is dancing in the park.

“Tom” he says to me in his deep and precise tones (which on occasion, adopt the attitude of a hostile growl), “Tom, I’m not dancing. I’m just working out. I’m just loosening up.”

“Why are you working out, loosening up, Jonathan?” I ask from my seat on a bench. He raises his left leg in the air – almost but not quite, balletic. “Because I hate sitting down. I always hated sitting down ever since I was a kid and they expected you to sit down. I just hate sitting down.”

Jonathan Richman is 41. It’s all of 30 years since he discovered rock’n’roll, stood up all day with the radio on, the transistor radio glued to his ear. In the past, much has been made of his childhood, of how he was, supposedly, a shy and useless youth who “started a group (The Modern Lovers) because I was lonely and figured that way I’d make friends” But these days, it seems, he doesn’t care to dwell upon the past, or talk of his lost youth.

“I’m not here to talk to you for a biography,” he says, somewhat tetchily, “My childhood was sometimes happy and sometimes sad. It covered a period of time from age zero to age 18 and I just can’t remember all the stuff that happened.”

Neither is The Modern Lovers, the incarnation (Richman, David Robinson, Jerry Harrison, Ernie Brooks) which recorded the “legendary” The Modern Lovers LP in the early 1970s, a subject fit for discussion. “I have respect for people and I don’t talk about any band. I never say bad things about any other people in print because it’s plain just not any other peoples business. Some people in interviews take the opportunity to say rude things, but if I’m going to say it, I’ll say it to the person in person and leave the press out of it. Anyone can fall out with people. That’s no mark of shame is it?”

to be continued...

The Bostonians #8 : Tony C. from the PA's Lounge

This coming Friday, March 10th, readers in the Boston area do not forget to go to the PA's lounge in Somerville to attend the tribute to Jonathan Richman . It seems fair to have Tony C. the booking agent of the spot to answer my questions, tomorrow I'll have a musician from one of the bands involved. All of these people are dedicated Jonathan fans and I wish them a great success for next Friday.

> - How did you find the JojoBlog ?

T.C. - I think I just googled Jonathan Richman and
JoJo Blog came up. I've heard that Jonathan hates
computers so there really isn't an official website
for his fans. The JoJo Blog brings all the missing
links together as far as I can tell.

> - Tell me about the PA's lounge. What kind of music
> is played there ? what
> bands are performing ?

T.C.- P.A.'s Lounge is a Bar/Music Venue in
Somerville, MA.
Almost Anything can happen here, but we're always hot
to book Indie Pop, Experimental Rock... Whatever is
Interesting and Cutting Edge. Some who've played here
in the last couple years are... Jens Lekman (Sweden),
Peelander Z (Japan), The Lucksmiths (AUS), Blood on
the Wall (NY), The Gris Gris (CA) and local Favorites
like Mittens, Sunburned Hand of the Man and Pants

> - There is this Jonathan Richman tribute night on
> march 10th, do you think
> Jonathan is still meaning something to the new local
> bands ?

T.C. - Absolutely. Jonathan is World-Wide now... but
he left a special gift to Boston in his songs. And
living in the Boston area, you can really feel it.
Jonathan changed the course of Modern Music... and in
the process put alot of specific references to Boston
places in his songs. It just seems to make the
passing of time, the change of the seasons all the
more enriching. He graced this area with great

> - Would you consider having Jonathan doing a gig at
> the PA's Lounge one day

T.C. - That would be Amazing. I think I would have to
retire right after though. How could that ever be

> - What are the Jonathan songs you would like to hear
> covered by those bands
> on March 10th ?

T.C. - I'm looking forward to hearing Abominable
Snowman in the Market, That Summer Feeling...
Let her
Go into the Darkness... Man, there's so many!

> - The Modern Lovers induced what became in the 80's
> the Boston rock scene,
> considered to this day as some classic golden age
> especially in Europe, with
> bands like the Real Kids, DMZ, Lyres, the Classic
> Ruins and many others...
> Do you think that today this could start again with
> the new bands which
> have common influences, Jonathan being one of them ?

T.C. - Totally. There's a really strong Music Scene
in Boston right now and Jonathan is well-loved all
around. Any band or artist that steps out against all
trends is bound to be influenced by or at least
appreciate Jonathan. He has always been the ultimate
example of following ones heart musically, In 1971 or

> - If this show is a success would you consider
> organizing other tributes to
> well known local artists ? like Willie Loco, John
> Felice or a favourite of
> mine , Kenne Highland ?

T.C. - Oh Yeah, The Jonathan Tribute will be only the
second "Tribute Show" we've done at P.A.'s... the
first being for They Might Be Giants... and that show
was FUN! Willie, John and Kenne would all be apt
candidates for sure! Who knows what the future may

> - Have you seen Jonathan playing live, if so when ?

T.C. - Yes. I saw him and Tommy Larkins at the
Somerville Theater last October.

> - your favourite album of his ?

T.C. - I'd have to say "Rock N' Roll with the Modern

> - favourite song ?

T.C. - Oh Man... Lonely Financial Zone is definitely
in my Top Five.

> - any anecdote related to Jonathan ?

T.C. - I haven't run into Jonathan in person. I'm
content to just dig the tunes and catch him live when
I can. I'd love to invite him to the show... but
imagine the pressure!! I'm sure everyone would deal
with it though just to have the chance to say...
"Thanks Jonathan!"

...and Thank You Jacques!