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 P.A.to 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!