Friday, January 19

Jonathan Richman - Speechless In '86

Jonathan Richman Speaks (NOT!) via

Watching the clip linked here, you may wonder why Jonathan doesn't say a single word in this 1986 interview, which originally aired in 1986 on the Austin, Texas public access TV series "Apt. 108" (other musicians who appeared on the show included Texas bluesman Stevie Ray Vaughan, Houston pop minimalists The Judy's, UK metalheads Saxon, a capella rockers The Bobs, and international punk supergroup The Lords of the New Church).

What happened was this: Myself and my roommate/co-producer Pete, loaded down with videotaping equipment, surprised Jonathan after a successful performance at Austin's Continental Club and begged him for an interview. Apparently, Jonathan had had a bad experience with a television crew not long before, and as a result had sworn off any involvement in such things for the time being.

We begged & we pleaded until finally Jonathan said that he needed some time -- say, ten minutes -- to think about it. Fifteen or so minutes later, we found his hiding place, so he was forced to change tactics. And so, at that moment, Jonathan developed the world's quickest-attacking case of acute laryngitis. Exasperated but refusing to throw in the towel, we refocused our attack one last time -- would he do the interview.. if he didn't have to say anything whatsoever?

Jonathan gave us the "thumbs up" -- literally -- and we proceeded to shoot the interview seen here. To this day, though I have tried many times to convince him that the finished piece is fun and charming, and definitely contains nothing he should be embarrassed about -- he still refuses to accept or watch a copy of the tape.

- Apt. 108 cameraman/editor/co-producer Ken Lieck

(The You Tube posting is its first-ever showing outside of Austin, Texas, and first showing ANYWHERE since 1990 or so!)