Monday, March 31

Unreleased songs in Spanish


Ha muerto la rosa

Ha muerto la rosa,
Sí, ha muerto la rosa,

Sus pétalos yacen sobre el prado,
Aún así su aroma quedará aquí un rato,

Ha muerto la rosa,
Sí, ha muerto la rosa,

Sus pétalos yacen sobre el pasto,
Bella, en su juventud,
Bella, en su arrogancia

El viento arranca sus pétalos uno a uno
y los riega alrededor

Ha muerto la rosa,
Sí, ha muerto la rosa,

Ha muerto la rosa,
Sí, ha muerto la rosa,

Sus pétalos yacen sobre el prado

As performed at M80 Radio, Madrid, Spain, 20th April 2004


A qué venimos

A qué venimos si no a fracasar,
A qué venimos si no a caer,

Escapaba con personas mi amada,
Enfriar y negar el querer,

A qué venimos si no a fracasar,
A qué venimos si no a caer,

Castigado por tu padre,
Y sollozaba madre,
Egoísmo sentiste en tu ser

A qué venimos si no a fracasar,
A qué venimos si no a caer,

Estrellaste en mil pedazos,
Con tus últimos fracasos,
Y pensaste en ser o no ser,

A qué venimos si no a fracasar,
A qué venimos si no a caer

As performed at Radio 3 studios, Madrid, Spain, 22nd May 2007

Note from rb: approximate translation to English here

Saturday, March 29

Graffiti: San Francisco is Jonathan Richman's Playground



WHATIMSEEING.com is a popular photo blog obsessed with all things San Francisco. This afternoon, they published this photo of some graffiti exclaiming, "SF is Richman's playground." Link.

Friday, March 28

more dates


image: R.Crumb

Jonathan Richman will be back in the USA in time for Wavy Gravy's 72nd Birthday Celebration Benefit for Camp Winnarainbow in Mill Valley CA. Then there's a month to recharge before the Make-Out Room trio of dates in June. Post-summer-solstice is slotted for Calgary's Sled Island Music Festival (schedule to be announced May 1).

Thu 15 May Mill Valley CA (Throckmorton Theatre (A Benefit for Camp Winnarainbow))

Tue 17 June San Francisco CA (Make-Out Room)

Wed 18 June San Francisco CA (Make-Out Room)

Thu 19 June San Francisco CA (Make-Out Room)

? (25-28) June Calgary Canada (Sled Island Music Festival)

As always, confirm with venue before making travel plans....

More about Wavy Gravy

Wednesday, March 26

Review: Kilby Court, Salt Lake City (20 March 2008)

In which our brave heroine travels 6.5 hours to stand in a garage. And loves every minute of it.



I'm filling up on gas in Idaho Falls when a thought suddenly hits me: We're only halfway there. Six and a half hours to Salt Lake City. My compatriots begin to look glazed, wondering to themselves if this was a good idea. Caitlin, Ian and my little sister Kelsey all have me to blame for even knowing who Jonathan Richman IS, and I imagine when I introduced them, they never imagined themselves piled into a '96 Toyota Corolla for hours on end to go see him. But here we are. I can only hope to myself that they don't end up plotting my untimely demise.

Jonathan Richman is my favorite singer. Ever. And has held that title for an impressive amount of time. So when I saw the concert in Salt Lake, I knew I was finally going to make it work, come hell or high water. You see, despite my adoration of Jonathan Richman, I've never been to a concert before. Fate, time, tide, money...all have conspired against me. Driving my poor little car 400+ miles, I began to wonder if, again, I would fail. Or worse, I'd get there and be disappointed. Having this much to think about makes a long drive shorter, and before I knew it, we were in Salt Lake, in an endless line to check into the downtown Motel 6. After the clerk finally got the seemingly difficult task of checking us in accomplished, I was in a bit of a foul mood. Hours in a car will apparently do that to me. Especially since I'm the only one who can drive a stick.

We'd picked the hotel because it was 2 blocks from Kilby Court, where Jonathan was playing. It did not occur to us, however, that we might get ever so mildly lost amid the hilariously frustrating street names such as S 600 W, which is apparently different from W 600 S. We don't do it that way in Montana. Our streets have NAMES. Eventually, our Oregon Trail training kicked in, and we found Kilby Court. Allow me to describe the place to you. It's at the end of a dark alleyway, the ones you see in Law and Order just before someone gets killed. And it's a garage. I kid you not. The garage door is still inside the venue. Our tickets said the show started at 7, but apparently our tickets were misled, and the doors didn't open until 7. Caitlin and Ian chatted up the soundboy, who, when we said where we were from, seemed astounded. We ended up at Alberto's to grab food, then headed back to the DarkAlleywayofAfterSchoolSpecialNotoriety.

Early on, we jockeyed for position. I did not drive this far to stand in the back. We met the nicest guy, also jockeying for postion, that had brought his wife and son to the last concert Jonathan did in Salt Lake. They hated it. I could only express amazement that bordered on alarm, and one of my friends (It was Kelsey or Caitlin, I can't remember) joked that such things would be grounds for divorce in my case. I wish we had gotten his address, I would have sent him some of the pictures we got. We talked for a little bit, and held our spots in the front row.

Libbie Linton was the opening act, a talented folk singer that I ended up enjoying much more than I thought I would. Caitlin even ended up buying her EP after the concert, and we talked with her for a while. Nice gal. Another person who couldn't believe we drove that far.

Anyhow, I am going to get to the point. I swear.

After Libbie went off, the excitement began to build. I was standing right at the tip of the stage, blocked only by a large monitor at my feet. I stared up at the microphone, and it all felt a little surreal. Then I saw Tommy come in through the side door, dressed in a jaunty pinstripe jacket/ purple scarf combination. Surreal turned into "I can't remember the last time I was this excited".



Then, behind me, I hear Jonathan's voice. I whip around, and Bam!, coming up through the crowd, right friggin' next to me, is Jonathan Richman. I was immediately grateful to Kilby Court for being so small, as Jonathan moseyed onto stage, looked down at the monitors, and told soundboy he thought he said to strike the monitors. Here's about how it went, to the best of my recollection:

Jonathan: Derek, I thought I said to strike the monitors here.
Indie Soundboy: Yah, they're turned off.
Jonathan: *appears to contemplate the many colloquial meanings of strike* No, I meant get rid of them.
Indie Soundboy: *seems vexéd*
Jonathan: *hops off stage** begins to unplug the monitor right in front of me*
Indie Soundboy: *rushes over* Where do you want me to put them??
Jonathan: I don't know. It's unnecessary technology. *picks up monitor, and heads for the side door*
Concertgoer: I'll take that, Jonathan.
Jonathan: No, no, it's okay, I've got it.
Indie Soundboy: *follows Jonathan out the door with the other monitor, still seeming vexéd*

After that amusing interlude, Jonathan returned, telling us, that of course, cell phones are another type of useless technology, and perhaps we might turn them off. Then began the concert. Despite being one of the most long-winded people on earth, I can't find words to describe how much fun this concert was. Standing right in the front row, three feet or less from Jonathan, I couldn't believe that I ever thought I might be let down. He started out with "In Che Mondo Viviamo", translating for us along the way. We were treated to several new songs, including my new dearest love, "The Cellphone Song". If anybody has a copy of that, please tell me, because, in a tragic blow, it's not on the new CD.
Jonathan: But Jonathan, what if you get lost, and you're going to be late for a show? Well then, I guess I'll be a few hours late then, won't I? Hopefully I left myself enough time...

He also did "Let Her Go Into the Darkness", arguing with himself in English, French, Italian, and Hebrew. Jonathan sang "I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar", and got the whole garage to sing along with him. My sister observed that the dancing, guitar spinning, and goofiness are perhaps things that only Jonathan can pull off. We got to hear a new one called "Celestial" (I think), that I loved, and so, of course, also does not appear on the new CD. "Egyptian Reggae" got some proper stage time, but surprisingly enough, no "Pablo Picasso". Jonathan gave us a short speech about how you can't play a song if you don't feel it right then, even if you wrote it yesterday, and headed into "Es Como el Pan", which is a fun, bouncy little song. The reworking of "Old World" is about as 180 degrees from the original as you can get, as Jonathan no longer seems to want to go back to the Old World, but is satisfied to bid it goodbye.



The concert seemingly drew to a close, and Jonathan told us if we should happen to run into him after the concert, that he couldn't talk, under doctor's orders, because of a voice problem he had a few years ago. The entire crowd gave a sort of "awwww", and Jonathan told us not to feel bad for him, he was fine, you're just not supposed to talk after a concert anyway. Then he proceeded to play "Because Her Beauty is Raw and Wild", proclaimed that was no way to end the tour, played "My Baby Love Love Loves Me", allaying my fears that I wouldn't get to hear it, then, preventing Tommy from diving for the door for the third time, played "As My Mother Lay Lying". Holy Moses on the mount. I don't consider myself a particularly emotional individual, but listening to Jonathan sing about his Mom dying nearly undid me. It didn't help any that he got all teary, and at one point, I actually did think he was going to lose it up there. It was like everyone in the entire room was holding their breath. I've never seen a room packed like that so very quiet. It was uncomfortable and lovely, all at the same time. Tough to describe.



Then the concert ended, and my friends and I went home, satisfied, babbling a mile a minute. Luckily, they enjoyed it about as much as i did, and did not plot my eternal doom. It was 6.5 hours each way, 13 total, and I would do it all over again.

-- chimaerandi

See more pictures from this show at Flickr

Thanks for the fun review, chimaerandi!

Tuesday, March 25

Jojoblog Admins, or Un-Precise Modern Lovers Order

6 string banjo ©2008 RosebudPenfold

Jojoblog suffered a severe blow when we lost Scottish cofounder and banjo-picker Alan Edwards of Edinburgh in January of this year, although his gentle spirit still moves through the air and through everything you see here. It's springtime now (in the Northern Hemisphere), there are little petals all around, and a fresh lineup of admins is in place to help Jojoblog make its way through this transition. We're happy, and lucky (!) to have enjoyed a generous infusion of support and enthusiasm from you, our loyal global community of readers and contributors (thank you!); and to have been able to benefit from the unique talents and strengths of new admins Allan Hough, Alberto Torio, and Patrick Bainée this past couple of unsettled months, whose timing of arrival was surely an answer to a prayer. Our new admins have joined our old admins (faithful friends RB and Bob and Jacques) in looking forward to experiencing what the unofficial future brings.

Here we are in alphabetical order (also to be found in the sidebar to the right):

Alberto Torio of Spain
party.at.132(at)gmail(dot)com

Allan Hough of San Francisco, USA
allanhough(at)gmail(dot)com

Bob Spencer of England
bob.spencer(at)virgin(dot)net

Jacques Ball of France
jb.modernluv(at)gmail(dot)com

Patrick Bainée of France
luxivyig1(at)gmail(dot)com

Rosebud (RB) of Georgia, USA
suchstuff(at)gmail(dot)com

Welcome Alberto and Allan and Patrick!

Tuesday, March 18

interview #21 : Peter Zaremba from the Fleshtones




Peter Zaremba singer of the incredible Fleshtones. I never forgot that first paper in the NME towards the end of the 70’s, it was about a new rock’n roll eruption in NYC and this awesome band called the Fleshtones. I started to look for concert reviews of the band and saw that people were fussing about extraordinary fun events, fantabulously jivin’ songs, specially one called “the dreg” which was the piece de resistance as it could be extended ad lib with usually cameo appearances of fellow musicians present in the room, like the Plimsouls in California., Then the first EP, with the sax fuelled “Theme of the Vindicators” was there and it was like a dream coming true, everything was present, we had a rockin’ band which made your feet move, a dancin’ band which would make you yell for more. Those were the days.

Thirty years later the ‘Tones are still there as abrasive as ever and their last release “Take a good look” has been my regular rock diet for the last two weeks.
I was aware that, in a recent interview, Peter Zaremba had quoted Jonathan as being one of his influences and had also expressed his admiration for him. What could be a better opportunity to trigger a discussion with him.


So let's go :

- In "American Beat 84", the Fleshtones were revamping
one of their earlier tunes.The song ends with a list of all those
bands and singers who were essential to you, like some "naming the
heroes" tribute. In 1984, hearing you quote the Lyres, the Real Kids,
the Modern Lovers, the Plimsouls.. , my favourite bands at the time,
was like no coincidence. The Fleshtones were obviously from the same
musical family. To make short I would call it eternal garage-rock
music. Could you comment on this ?



The video clip for "American beat 84"


Well, we wanted to aknowledge all the great (and maybe not so great)
artists that inspired us, something that a lot of bands won’t do. My
only regret is that I failed to mention everyone that I should have.
Joey Ramone once reminded me of that, but the truth is the vamp was
pretty much ‘off the cuff’. There was a second take where in fact the
Ramones were included. Oh well, ‘garage rock’ or not, it’s rock and
roll and a little of all of it went into the making of the Fleshtones..

-Why are the Modern Lovers part of this list ? What did you
like in their sound ?


The Modern Lovers were a huge influence on us. You’ve got to remember,
these were the times of the ‘rock stars’ and glitter and god knows what
else. Here was a band that rocked without any of this bullshit, with a
lead singer who made a point of being a human being, and what great
songs, about real stuff that no other bands were singing about.

- Did you ever see the Modern Lovers on stage ? If you had
that luck, what are the memories you keep from that time ?

Yes, I’ve seen the Modern Lovers, but unfortunatly not the original
band.. Funny, Ernie Brooks once discussed joining the Fleshtones.

- How did you become familiar with Jonathan Richman's music ?

You know, I often wonder about that. I remember people talking about
‘Roadrunner’ when it came out, then someone have me a stack of 45’s
called ‘Beserkley Chartbusters’ ‘Roadrunner’ was included in the
collection and of course it was a sound I was desperately looking for
in those dark years.

- The Fleshtones are from NYC. From the mid 70's until mid 80's
the two places in the world where things were happening musically were
New York city and Boston. Were you aware then of some competition with
the Boston bands ?

Competition? We were delighted with Boston, which we discovered was the
hidden rock and roll capital of the world. We played with our label
mates the Real Kids all the time, and went clubbing in Boston a lot. I
remember Jeff Connolly saying he’d never leave his apartment again
because he hated the cover of his DMZ album so much, then later huddled
in our cargo van proudly playing a cassette of his new band The Lyres.
Long live Boston Rock n’ Roll!

- And what about today ?

We just returned from playing a show with
The Lyres and The Prime
Movers
, again I say, Long Live Boston Rock n’ Roll!

-
During the 80's, you were DJaying or MCing a show on MTV.
Would it have been possible for you to bring someone like Jonathan on
the show or was it totally scheduled. Maybe you did have Jonathan on
your show though.

Good thinking Jacques, of course we had Jonathan on The Cutting Edge. He
was a great guest, as you can imagine and a really nice guy. Just like
I hoped he would be!

I should have known better as Bob had included last year a video clip with Jonathan of that program on our Blog, see it here.

- The Fleshtones have been existing as a band for more than 30
years now and they are still releasing albums (the last one "Take a
good look" is not one month old, but already considered as one of the
best CDs of year 08. It is part of my three favourite Fleshtones
records, the other two being "Roman Gods" and "Laboratory of
sound").How do you keep the faith and apparently still enjoy yourself ?


Because we love this kind of music, we love the excitement and right
now we feel like we’re on an upswing! We don’t worship the past,
because the future belongs to
The Fleshtones!

- Jonathan has been having the same longevity, though his music changed through the years to a modern troubadour style when the
Fleshtones stay untamed. Are you familiar with Jonathan's evolution ?
what do you think of it ?

I think Jonathan’s evolution was the right thing for him, although
I await his return to his old rocking ways because he was so great at
that. Still, I admire him for not just doing that when his heart told
him to do something different, maybe in that way we’re like Jonathan,
we STAY this way because it’s in our hearts, even though logic might
say try something different (like another profession!)

- Another common point you have with him is that you have a
large following in Europe compared to your own country. It is quite a
paradox as Garage music is really American starting as an answer to the
first British invasion and evolving in its own field. Why is it that
you have so many fans in France, Spain or England ? Even the
Fleshtones tribute CD has been compiled and issued in France by Denis
on his Larsen label.

I don’t know. Hey that’s not much of an answer. I figure in our country, people always expected something new, since this is the country that invented this kind of music.
Europeans tend to discover something that moves them, and stick with it.
At any rate, it’s been great to be able to play to European audiences!

In the following clip Peter and Keith look for the ultimate rock record..



- In the 70's you started recording for Marty Thau' s ill fated Red
Star label. Miriam Linna was also working there. On the same label were
Suicide and the Real Kids. You covered one of Vega-Rev song on those
early tapes. What about the Real Kids, did you happen to meet John
Felice ?

Well, it just so happens that my first time ever to visit Boston was
with Miriam to see the Real Kids vs. DMZ at the Rat. I thought I had
died and gone to rock n’ roll heaven!
I was also at a few of their recording sessions for the first album on Red Star.

I particularly remember Jeff Connolly being on hand to play organ and tambourine

(or was I asked to play tambourine?!?!).

- What would be your favourite Jonathan song ?

Gosh, he’s written so many great songs. I tend to like
his Modern
Lovers
stuff like ‘All I Want’ (is that the right title?) – I guess Peter thinks of “Astral plane”, also ‘I’m A Little Airplane’ is pretty amazing the way it rocks out without slamming you over the head. Hey, how’s about ‘Give Paris One More Chance’ because it’s so moving and true, let’s give Paris another chance, and another!


- I remember the Fleshtones doing "Sweet Jane". If you covered
Lou Reed, what about covering Jonathan. Which song would come to your
mind ? (As for me, "Give Paris one more chance" would suit your band
very well, I think).

I glad you remember us doing ‘Sweet Jane’ because I don’t!
And bingo, there you go! Give Paris One More Chance would be perfect for us. We’ve
thought about doing it actually, but how can you top Jonathan’s
version? It seems to be just the way it should be. Maybe we should
stick to Michel Polnareff?!
(French pop singer of the 60’s/70’s)

At that point I sent an mp3 of that cover of “sweet Jane” to Peter

Thanks for this, I've forwarded it to ken, keith and steve coleman. I stand corrected. I must have been
a truant that day...

- Would you have any anecdote related to Jonathan?

Well, like I said, he was very nice to work with when he did a special
‘live’ performance for my TV show ‘The Cutting Edge’, and believe me, a
lot of recording artists might surprise you by being such assholes in
person! Anyway, a bit after that the Fleshtones played a festival on
the campus of Duke University in North Carolina with Jonathan. Anyway,
someone handed me a bunch of ‘magic mushrooms’ that I foolishly gobbled
up. We all agreed to go see NRBQ at a club after the festival. By the
time Jonathan got to the club I was desperately trying to keep my brain
together. He was trying to hold some sort of conversation with me, but
all I could manage was to smile and tug Keith Streng’s sleeve, who
seemed to be trying to ‘translate’ for me. Luckily NRBQ was wonderful
that night.

- My turn now to tell you an anecdote. In October 2006, Jonathan played in Paris and after the show I gave him a CDr of the Velvet Underground acetate which had been found at a flea market in NYC for $ 0.75, it was different mixes, takes and production of the first banana album. The result sounds quite like the second one “white light white heat”. Jonathan was delighted, he spoke to me when he had actually communicated with journalists on pieces of paper.
This CD was burnt for me by Patrick who happens to have given to you another copy of the same thing when the Fleshtones were playing in Normandy. So what did you think of that CD ?


Sorry but I must have lost the CD, it's hard keeping track of stuff on
tour moving moving moving. Ask Patrick if he can please burn me
another. I'll see you guys in May!

- When I go to Fleshtones gigs I find the same smiles on faces
around me that I witness while attending Jonathan shows. I would like
to thank you for all this great music you provided through the years,
the unique sound of the Fleshtones based on Keith's twanging guitar. We
are enjoying your sound, you make us smile and have fun.

I’ll take that as a big compliment! See you in Paris.


Saturday, March 15

More French shows (and one in Italy)

le 02/05/2008 à 21h00
THEATRE GARONNE1, Ave du Château d'Eau TOULOUSE


le 03/05/2008 à 20h30
LE POSTE A GALENE103, Rue Ferrari MARSEILLE

I found these at http://www.fnac.fr/

Also in Rome -

http://www.stazionebirra.it/

JONATHAN RICHMAN LUN - 5 MAGGIO, which, I'm guessing, is Monday 5th May.

Friday, March 14

Jonathan Richman to Play a Trio of Dates at the Make-Out Room in June



Pollstar just sent me an AutoNotify Update: Jonathan Richman will play three consecutive dates at his beloved hometown club The Make-Out Room, in the heart of the Mission District. Dates are as follows:

  • Tuesday, June 17th, 2008
  • Wednesday, June 18th, 2008
  • Thursday, June 19th, 2008

When Jonathan plays the Make-Out Room, it's always a bit more special than usual. More intimate, more off the cuff, and always full of surprises. He debuts new material here all the time, and half-written songs get filled out right before your eyes. We've seen him bust out the electric guitar (rare in recent years), and he'll often invite fellow San Franciscan Ralph Carney up on stage to provide some brass accompaniment. I will not be missing one second of any of these shows.

jonathan richman., originally uploaded by miscellania..

No One Was Like Vermeer



Back in the days of old Rembrandt
Back in the time of Jan Steen
All of them giants of shadow and light
But no one was like Vermeer

Some paintings smell of joy and sweat
Some paintings plain look so fine
And some are sad and passionate
But Vermeer sends a chill up your spine
Yeah Vermeer sends a chill up your spine

Vermeer was eerie
Vermeer was strange
He had his own color range
As if born in a more modern age
They may be oh a hundred or so years ago

What's this a ghost in the gallery
Great Scot the Martians are here
Why are his paintings so unlike the others
Unlike the other ones so near
No one was like Vermeer

Back in the days of Rembrandt
Back in the time of old Jan Steen
All of the masters of shadow and light
But no one was like Vermeer

Vermeer.......

-- Jonathan Richman

Proust on Vermeer

Thursday, March 13

setlist 40 Watt (1 March)


photo: C. Neil Scott

1. Egyptian Reggae (fragment)
2. Cellphone Song
3. Let Her Go Into the Darkness (unilingual)
4. He Gave Us the Wine to Taste
5. Here It Is
6. Pablo Picasso
7. The World Is Showing Its Hand
8. Cosi Veloce
9. When We Refuse to Suffer
10. El Joven Se Estremece
11. Le Printemps Des Amoreaux Est Venue
12. Not So Much to be Loved as to Love
13. Because Her Beauty is Raw and Wild
14. I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar (lots of dancing and guitar-flips)
15. Her Mystery Not of High Heels and Eye Shadow
16. No One Was Like Vermeer
17. My Baby Love Love Loves Me
18. Girlfren
19. Older Girl

Tuesday, March 11

Barrelling Down The Boulevard With Tom Waits and Jonathan Richman



I hate to self promote, but I'm very proud of this, a movie fully inspired by Jonathan Richman and Tom Waits. This was shot on a road trip to San Diego, the very first road trip we'd ever taken in the Volvo that led to my involvement with Jojoblog in the first place.

Jeffrey Lewis Anti Folk The History Of Punk Rock (on the Lower East Side, 1950-1975)

Here's a great introduction to Jeff Lewis which some of you might enjoy...

To find out more, and tour info, here's a link:

http://www.thejeffreylewissite.com/

More European tour

Another date of the forthcoming european tour :

le 07 Mai 2008 à 19h30
LE NOUVEAU CASINO109, rue Oberkampf
Café Charbon 75011 PARIS

Ticket price is 23.10 Euros, I wonder if Jonathan is aware of that ..

Of Mere Being: Vic Chesnutt

Vic Chesnutt ©2008 RosebudPenfold

The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze distance.

A gold-feathered bird
Sings in the palm, without human meaning,
Without human feeling, a foreign song.

You know then that it is not the reason
That makes us happy or unhappy.
The bird sings. Its feathers shine.

The palm stands on the edge of space.
The wind moves slowly in the branches.
The bird's fire-fangled feathers dangle down.


-- Wallace Stevens "Of Mere Being"

We saw Jonathan Richman and Tommy Larkins at the 40 Watt Club in Athens, Georgia, on a Saturday night (1 March). It was the beginning of their tour with Vic Chesnutt, and was billed as an "early show" which made for some anxiety since we couldn't get there "early" and besides which I was sick as a puppy and couldn't stand up. But not to worry, as it turned out they were late and started at the regular time anyway. I actually had a moment to spend at the X-Ray Cafe next door getting a therapeutic hug and encouragement from muse Paul Thomas, after which I was ready to brave the night. We walked in the door right behind Vic Chesnutt, who breezily rolled on through.

The reviews already posted on Jojoblog of the later shows more or less sum up the current tour. An evening with Jonathan and Tommy is always a fun evening that inevitably ends too soon. The crowd was hooked into the show as one from the opening chord and an exceptionally good time was had by all, except for by (perhaps) the people talking on their cell phones.

jonathanrichman2008-03-01-90 Mike White deadlydesigns.com
photo: Mike White deadlydesigns.com

The brilliant modern poet-songwriter Vic Chesnutt opened by flying up onto the high stage (helped by burly stagehands). He drifted into his songs in between chatting amiably and wandering into strange turns where his mind turned things over examining them from different angles. A touch of laryngitis didn't stop him from being his twinkly self.

vicchesnutt2008-03-01-3 Mike White deadlydesigns.com
photo: Mike White deadlydesigns.com

I love Vic Chesnutt and I don't understand why the show reviews so far don't mention more about him. Perhaps he's a bit too sardonic or spontaneous to anticipate what he'll do next so he's hard to fit to a groove. Perhaps he's too cerebral, or earthy, or salty, and therefore a tad uncomfortable for folks just wanting to have a night out, unchallenged. Allen Ginsberg called him an idiot, but not for the unfettered artistry of his vision. He's a perfect ground and foil to Jonathan's lofty heights and energy. They're like the angel and devil that sit on a body's shoulders, both sipping the same stream-strength of consciousness, partaking of the same fragile humanity, outside the main and happy out there.

vicchesnutt2008-03-01-18 Mike White deadlydesigns.com
photo: Mike White deadlydesigns.com

Vic Chesnutt's Morally Challenged live at 40 Watt (played on the omnichord):

Morally Challenged

"Should I do one I just wrote the other day? I don't know if it's good or not...

"I'm really an idiot for doing this...

"I'm an idiot. I should not do this. It might really be embarrassing. In fact I know it is. Why would I do this...

"Ok, I'll do it. It's really not good. Why am I doing this?"

After the show I asked Vic what he was going to call the new song. He smiled and looked away into the distance. "I don't know........

"I think....... I'll call it........uh......uhm........hmmmmnnn.

"'Robert Wyatt'," he said gently into the night. I looked at him, trying to repeat the words, not understanding.

"Robert Wyatt," he repeated patiently, turning to me with a smile.

"Oh! Is that a poet?"

"He's a songwriter."

Listen to more live Vic Chesnutt from the 40 Watt in Athens (and the next night in Atlanta at The Earl) at Southern Shelter

North Star Deserter

Vic Chesnutt's newest official release is the powerful North Star Deserter, recorded with Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band, Guy Picciotto of Fugazi, and more.


Vic Chesnutt's "Debriefing" from North Star Deserter, live in Munich 7 November 2007, featuring Vic Chesnutt's mighty howl

Vic Chesnutt website

Also of interest: Vic Chesnutt joined friends Cowboy Junkies to record Trinity Revisited (article in Harp Magazine)

More about Vic Chesnutt

More photos of Jonathan Richman and Vic Chesnutt taken by Mike White at the 40 Watt on deadlydesigns.com

Sunday, March 9

wandering all over Boston town

to the Middle East (actually in Cambridge, Massachusetts)

  • Richman’s airy, intimate performance personified whimsy that doubles as art. During fan favorites including “Pablo Picasso,” “Girl Friend” and “Give Paris One More Chance,” he sang in English, Spanish, French and Italian, often translating as he went along. He named-checked Picasso, Cezanne and Vermeer, the MFA, BU girls and at least three current and former Boston pizza joints. And he did it all with a cheeky-but-genuine joy. [more]

    -- Jed Gottlieb Boston Herald


  • Jonathan Richman's sweet indie-pop tunes are packed with positivity and endearing tales sung in several Romance languages. Vic Chesnutt delivers mesmerizing ballads made of expressionistic lines mired in dark humor. But what a weirdly compelling double bill they made at the Middle East Thursday night. For all their differences, they share common ground, and it's on the quiet fringes of pop music's comfort zone. [more]

    -- Joan Anderson Boston Globe


  • Will at Situationville has a small video of what might be called "The Cell Phone Song" that he made on his cell phone

  • Jere at A Red Sox Fan From Pinstripe Territory was there too, on Friday

  • gruebleen has Flickr photos
  • Saturday, March 8

    from musicdirect: tracklist for Because Her Beauty is Raw and Wild

    musicdirect is showing Because Her Beauty is Raw and Wild on vinyl as follows:

    Jonathan Richman Because Her Beauty Is Raw And Wild (LP + 7" Single With Bonus Track)... [more backstage]

    Friday, March 7

    more Spring 2008 European tour dates

    From Jonathan Richman officially-unofficial on MySpace:

    Fri May 02 Toulouse, France Theatre Garonne
    Fri May 09 London, England Shepherd's Bush Empire
    Sat May 10 Dublin, Ireland Whelans
    Sun May 11 Belfast, Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival
    Mon May 12 Galway, Ireland Roisin Dubh

    Confirm with venue before making travel plans

    Thursday, March 6

    Because Her Beauty Is Raw & Wild


    *Thanks to Alberto for the Photo*

    A poster for Jonathan's next CD... anyone know anything about it... release date, etc?

    Note from rb: we're keeping this post near the top of the blog until we find out more!

    UPDATE:

    "Although there’s scant info to be found online—as his label’s website vaporrecords.com states, “Jonathan Richman… does not participate in the Internet on any level”—the legendarily quirky songwriter and former Modern Lover is releasing a new album and hitting the road soon. According to Richman’s publicist, his 21st full-length, Because Her Beauty Is Raw And Wild, is coming out “on either March 25 or April 8,” and he’ll be trekking across the country with his guitar, his deadpan drummer Tommy Larkins, and dance moves that’ll make your head spin. Fellow songsmith Vic Chesnutt will open for Richman on a chunk of the tour"

    via A.V. club

    thanks chimaerandi!

    Vapor Records: Jonathan and Tommy Larkins have just completed a brand new album, Because Her Beauty is Raw and Wild. The album will be in stores in March!!! Jonathan will of course return to the road in support of the new album.

    UPDATE:

    Amazon.comand Barnes & Noble are showing April 8 and April 22, respectively, as release dates.

    Brooklyn welcomes Jonathan Richman


    Photo: Ryan Dombal

    March 4 & 5, Music Hall of Williamsburg

  • Looking as though he’d just flown in from Ibiza, Richman shimmied his way through the first of two sold-out shows at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, racking up yuks and dusting off numbers culled from his many solo adventures as well as from his days as a Modern Lover. After one uncomfortably enthusiastic female fan was escorted someplace else for punctuating the first quarter-hour of Richman’s acoustic work (including a not quite appropriate “Springtime in New York”) with love shouts, another chided him shortly thereafter for the lack of love en español. [more]

    Jonathan Richman Overwhelms the Ladies at First of Two Shows via New York Magazine



  • ...last night I saw Jonathan Richman performing in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. A sold out venue, a good atmosphere and great sound. Tommy Larkins providing accompaniment on the drums. It had been a mild day in the city, around 55-60F, and I'd noticed that, weirdly, there was still the odd pile of snow hanging around from last week... so it was neat when Jojo made the same observation in an extended version of 'Springtime In New York', a song that unsurprisingly went down well with the locals. Jonathan was more relaxed than I've ever seen him before and it looked like he was really enjoying the show. Bizarrely though, after a fun set, he left everyone with a slow, moving song about his mother dying in a care home! Jaws could be heard dropping throughout the hall... When he'd finished the last note Jonathan told us that this tale should'nt be thought of as something sad but rather as a beautiful thing. If only we could all view the world through Jojo's eyes. [more]

    Springtime in New York: Almost via Get On the Beam



  • You might recognize these guys from the movie "There's Something About Mary" as the singing duo that hangs out in trees, in front of buildings and all sorts of odd locations whenever something odd happens throughout the film.

    It has probably been 10 years (give or take) since I last saw that movie, but Jonathan has lost none of his vigor or talent.

    There were a number of songs dedicated to artists, like Vermeer, Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso (my favorite). He was also adept at singing songs in multiple languages (Spanish, Hebrew, Italian and English). It was pretty awesome all the way around.

    Its not just his virtuosity that rocks, its his storytelling capability. Jonathan crafts the oddest descriptions of events to make us (the audience) understand where he is coming from. [more]

    Jonathan Richman: Funny and Lyrical
    via Hansen Report



  • This is now the 4th time I've seen Richman, and, though it was unquestionably entertaining, it did remind me of the perils of seeing any artist you love in New York. First of all, it was in Williamsburg, which meant I had to deal with a bunch of rich, skinny hipsters that all looked like they were about 17 years old (you know, not to generalize or anything). I'm only in my mid-twenties, but does that already make me too old for this neighborhood? It certainly felt that way at times. [more+setlist]

    Jonathan Richman at the Music Hall of Williamsburg via Better Chatter



  • It is fine by me if Jonathan Richman never plays anything larger than the Music Hall of Williamburg; it was like having a longtime friend come back from a trip abroad and recount stories of loves found and lost in the museums and cafes of...well, yes you get the idea. [more]

    His Mystery Not of High Heels via Things Found in the Sea


  • more photos at Flickr:
    Dan Patterson's pix of Jonathan Richman and Vic Chesnutt
  • Wednesday, March 5

    Matt Gonzalez in the News



    In 2003, Jonathan Richman fought hard for the Matt Gonzalez mayoral campaign. He co-headlined a benefit concert at the Great American Music Hall, he marched in rallies (see photo), and he sang away our collective sorrows at Doc's Clock after Matt's eleventh-hour defeat.

    Last week, announcement of Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader's selection of Gonzalez as his running mate rocked (or maybe didn't rock) the political landscape here in San Francisco. With progressives roundly backing Barack Obama, the fear is that Nader and Gonzalez, in their quest to trumpet electoral reform and other issues, could siphon votes needed to ensure a Democratic victory come the general election in November. Progressives must decide between a "symbolic" vote for Nader/Gonzalez, or a vote for the Democrats (and against what they see as the fear, loathing and warmongering that is the John McCain campaign).

    The question is, what would Jonathan do? As far as I know, Jonathan is a true progressive's progressive, so it would be interesting to see how he fields this curve ball.

    (Photo by Pat Murphy)

    Tuesday, March 4

    possible songs on Because Her Beauty is Raw and Wild

    2619 ©2008 RosebudPenfold

    These songs are possibly on the new cd, Because Her Beauty is Raw and Wild:

    (random order- exact tracklist unknown as of now)

    Because Her Beauty is Raw and Wild
    Our Party Will Be On the Beach Tonight
    Es Como El Pan
    This Romance Will Be Different For Me
    Time Has Been Going By So Fast
    Our Party Will Be On the Beach Tonight
    Le Printemps Des Amoreux Est Venue
    When We Refuse to Suffer
    No One Was Like Vermeer
    Older Girl
    Old World
    Here It Is (Leonard Cohen)
    ??? and another song ???

    Amazon is saying this about the new release:

    Richman is one of modern music's most original artists, and quite possibly the friendliest, most sincere live performer on the face of the earth. This is his fifth release on Vapor, and his first new album in three years. Features eleven new tracks, plus a new version of "Old World" and a Leonard Cohen cover, "Here It Is". Vinyl version features bonus track on a 7-inch single. Look for Richman and drummer Tommy Larkins on their US tour starting February 25.

    Thanks Jerry, and WUOG!

    Her Beauty ... bonus

    Has anybody found the song list of new Jojo album ?
    Anyway, better buy the LP version featuring a bonus track

    Jonathan Bonanza on MetaFilter

    Yesterday, MetaFilter user y2karl, in honor of springtime, compiled a short list of fab Jonathan videos.

    Link.

    (Thanks, Malcolm M.)

    Saturday, March 1

    Jonathan Richman and a Janitor Walk Into a Bar


    image: Medialoper

    Podcast (no longer exists): Jonathan Richman and Modern Lover Brennan Totten are interviewed by CSU Fresno custodian Big Jim Hunsicker in 1987 for cable television- this is a link to the audio portion; apparently a video exists as well.

    Includes songs performed by Jonathan and Brennan: I'm a Little Dinosaur, UFO Man, Now Is Better Than Before, and Chewing Gum Wrapper

    via Kirk Biglione at Medialoper