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...

Sunday, September 10

Colours Are Brighter

Colours Are Brighter

Jonathan Richman recorded an original song called "Our Dog Is Getting Older Now" for the new CD of children's songs compiled by Mick Cooke of Belle and Sebastian to benefit Save the Children, a children's charity.

Colours Are Brighter was two years in the making and will be released 16 October on Rough Trade Records.

According to the Colours Are Brighter blog, ". . . Jonathan Richman flouted medical advice to record his track. He had been ordered to give his voice full rest after a problem with his vocal chords had been diagnosed, but ventured on for the cause."

Jonathan toured with Belle and Sebastian in September 2001 on their US West Coast tour as opening act.

Colours Are Brighter Website

Colours Are Brighter at Myspace

Times Online article

Save The Children

Colours Are Brighter at

Saturday, September 9

benefit for Mumia Abu-Jamal

A night of music and poetry (Jonathan Richman joins Boots Riley, Jack Hirschman, Matt Gonzalez and others)

Sun 17 September, San Francisco, Great American Music Hall


Monday, September 4

European Tour Dates - October 2006

Known dates for the coming tour...


Thursday, 12th October – Oran Mor, Glasgow


Friday, 13th October - All Saints Church, Newcastle

Sunday 15th October - The Junction, Cambridge

Monday 16th October – Union Chapel, Islington


Tuesday 17th October - Le Trabendo (Parc de la Villette), Paris

(Please confirm arrangements with the venue before travelling)

And hopefully a few more dates will be coming out soon…

Saturday, September 2

tour update

Jonathan Richman and Tommy Larkins

Sun 1 Oct 2006
Mon 2 Oct 2006
Tue 3 Oct 2006
Wed 4 Oct 2006

Make-Out Room San Francisco

Make-Out Room