Wednesday, December 30

Saturday, December 26

Vic Chesnutt, 1964-2009

Photo: Ben McCormick
Vic Chesnutt has died.

He is remembered here by Michael Stipe and others.

Thursday, December 24

Vic Chesnutt @ 40 Watt Christmas Party 12/16/05

Southern Shelter has the show files. We love you Vic.


Tuesday, December 22

Happy Holidays!

Ten songs of this decade that should be released someday (probably not in the next album). Most of your requests are here (sorry Jacob, I don’t have a good copy of Mr. Sorrow). In Spanish and Roman shows the sound quality is not great, but the other songs have very good sound.

· Cafe de la Danse, Paris, 25th October 2000
- J'aime Paris au mois de mai (Charles Aznavour cover)
- Barcelona

· The Variety Playhouse, Atlanta, GA, 15th February 2002
- Haseemla Classica
- Winter is over for me

· Sala Azkena, Vitoria, Spain, 8th March 2003
- Camina y ven pa’ la loma (Trío Matamoros cover)

· Circulo de Bellas Artes, Madrid, Spain, 27th October 2006 (Radio3 recording)
- Stupenda e misera cittá

· El Loco Club, Valencia, Spain, 3rd November 2006
- Partners in crime

· Dingwalls, Camden Lock, London, 30th March 2009
- My Affected Accent
- Older Girl

· Big Mama, Rome, 25th October 2009
- Keith Richards

You can download them at: (Thanks nugrape)

(File name: Size: 77.19 MB, mp3 files)


Sunday, December 20

Jonathan Richman Live 81'-82'

Hi Jojo Land!

There have been many twists and turns throughout Jonathan Richman's career, and some of those twists and turns can only be found through some real digging.
My favorite period of Jonathan Richman's career is the early 80's. Of course if you asked me that question a few months ago I would have said the late 70's, or a few months before that the early 90's.

But anyway, the early 80's are possibly his most "mysterious" time period, because of the lack of recorded output. "Jonathan Sings"(my introduction to jojo) was recorded and released around this time period, but Jonathan has not been shy to discredit the release as "not the way we really sounded." I remember hearing about that, and then years ago when I met him at the Cats Cradle in North Carolina, he verified that he wasn't very satisfied with the album, but he LOVES the songs.

I put together a compilation and a corresponding website in dedication to the awesome shows that him and his killer band at the time were playing. Most of the songs are not available on any released album, and I also threw in some classics as well.


Jonathan Richman Live 81'-82'

ps to any long-time JR fans out there, do you have any stories, experiences, etc about this time period relating to JR? I wasn't even on this earth yet, and I think there must be more knowledge out there that deserves to be documented somewhere.

Trading Card

I no longer recall how I came to possess a Jonathan Richman bubble-gum card, but it was too cool not to share.

Tuesday, December 15

Songs for the new album?

For the new album Chimaerandi has hopes for "My Affected Accent" and "Older Girl". I think that it will be great to have “Stupenda e misera cittá” on the new record.

And, what about the Jojoblog readers? Which one will be your song for the new record?

Probably Jonathan will make a completely different song selection on the record. But it could be done a “live record” with 10-12 songs of your selection, and we'll upload it (on dimeadozen, or megaupload, etc) as a Christmas present for all the Jojoblog readers.

Request a song!

Wednesday, December 2

New album in 2010!

Can I get a hell yes? Hell yes! This is according to brooklynvegan, and Vapor's website backs it up! I have hopes for "My Affected Accent" and "Older Girl". Which means, if history is any indication, there's no way in hell those songs will be on the album.

In other news, those of you who are getting to enjoy the Jonathan Richman experience on this tour, consider sending me or any of my lovely comrades a review of the show! We love to hear about it.

I got too excited and almost reposted a video from a few days ago. Whoops a doodle. So here's a different one, of Jonathan doing his thing at the Makeout Room. Whenever I see him perform, I'm always reminded of that old song of his, "Just About Seventeen". I mean, he's obviously gotten older, but there is something about him that is completely ageless, that makes him come across as much younger than he actually is. Part of that, I think, is the fact that after all these years, he still doesn't seem bitter or jaded to the whole thing. 99.5% of the stories I've heard about him show him being a kind and decent person. Or maybe it's just the dancing. I don't know, but I enjoy it.

Friday, November 27

12 Straight Hours of Jonathan Richman

On WHRB, 95.3fm in Boston.

"Twice a year we have special programming called "Orgy Season" in which we play solid blocks of themed music (an artist, a record label, some more obscure theme - you can find info about them on our website: This year, on Dec. 2nd, from 5am to 5pm, we're going to be doing a Jonathan Richman Orgy and playing as much of his music as we can fit straight through".

It can be heard at 95.3fm in the greater Boston area, or online at

Wednesday, November 25

More Ukulele

Ukuleles are go !

As Dorothee pointed out in her comment, here is another video of the Modern Ukulele lovers rehearsing "Egyptian reggae".

And there is Thierry Los another Jonathan afficionado (see interview) trying his brand new blue Ukulele...

Alberto shot this picture of Jonathan dealing himself with the Ukulele.

Tuesday, November 24

The Feelies Live in NYC

Live in NYC to download: Feelies: November 21, 2009 Maxwell’s via nyctaper (great sound) (link)

Wednesday, November 18

The Modern Ukulele Lovers

Here is a French band of fans of Jonathan's consisting in five ukulele players (one is left handed as you may notice), and a tub-bass player. Here they are playing their cover of Egyptian reggae. Definitely Jonathanish..

2009-2010 U.S. winter tour

New U.S. (southeast, east coast) tour dates (December through February) posted on High Road Touring (link)

We'll post them asap. Thanks Jay!

Wednesday, November 11

The Laura Palmer Tape

More cool stuff on Nugrape's webpage:

Laura Palmer Tape

Monday, November 9

The Historic Debt

"I'm just beginning to live" by JR and the Moderns Lovers from "The Historic Debt" video (released in 1991) on youtube.

Information about "The Historic Debt" from discogs: "This release is unique. All tracks have been donated royalty free and funds raised by this project will be used to pay back some of the huge debt still owed to independent labels from the collapse of Rough Trade Distribution. Special thanks to the artists who have donated their songs, and to everyone involved in the release who have willingly offered their services either totally free or at cost"

More infomation about JR discography and rare releases at:

Friday, November 6

Jonathan Richman and Tommy Larkins produce Vic Chesnutt's newest release on Vapor: Skitter on Take Off

Hat tip to T. Ballard Lesemann and Brooklyn Brewery, without whom I would not have known these exciting things about the amazingly prolific poet Vic Chesnutt because I have been under a rock sleeping for the past year:

JONATHAN: "My drummer Tommy Larkins and I were driving in the van across the United States as we do two or three times a year on our tours of clubs and I said, 'Y’ know, we should produce Vic’s next record!' And he said he thought so too. We both were thinking that the way to get the feeling for Vic as a listener was to hear just Vic – no arrangements, no guest guitar solo guys, no 'ironic' touches or anything else to cloud his voice or his poetry. His guitar playing is also the guitar playing on this recording because we think no help is needed."

"Tommy and I have toured with Vic several times and he’s long been one of our favorites. So we’re both proud of this record and glad for the chance to make it our way. A lot of it was brand new stuff - a few hours old or becoming a song right there as he sang."

VIC: "I’m honored to work with Jonathan Richman. Over the years he’s taken me under his wing and mentored me in a very meaningful way, truly shaping me into the songwriter and performer I am today. And it is an ongoing process.”

Read more at All About Jazz: (link)

Here Vic teams up with Jonathan Richman (guitar, harmonium) and Tommy Larkin (drums). Richman dons his producers hat capturing everything live and off the cuff.

Read more at Aquarium Drunkard: (link)

Vic Chesnutt's current extensive tour schedule and bio on Vapor Records: (link) (must click through frames)

Skitter on Take Off (released on Vapor Records, 6 October 2009) (link) (info on Amazon, buy locally if you can)

Also new from Vic Chesnutt: At the Cut (released on Constellation, 22 September 2009) (link)

Vic Chesnutt Band at 40 Watt, Athens, 2 November 2009 live show mp3s at Southern Shelter (link)

This song is from At the Cut, performance from June 2009 tour with Jonathan and Tommy:

Thursday, November 5

November 6: Happy Birthday Walter Johnson

Lineup for Yesterday
J is for Johnson
The Big Train in his prime
Was so fast he could throw
Three strikes at a time.

--Ogden Nash

Walter “Big Train” Johnson was a right-handed pitcher for the Washington Senators of Major League Baseball between 1907 and 1927. Johnson established several pitching records during his twenty-year career, many of which remained unbroken for nearly a century.

Johnson’s legendary gentle nature is still held up today as an example of good sportsmanship and friendly competition. Only fellow Hall of Famer Ty Cobb – coincidentally a prime example of the antithesis of good sportsmanship -- seemed to take advantage of Johnson’s disposition. While most batters were concerned about being hit by Johnson's blazing fastball, and were reluctant to stand close to the plate while batting, Cobb realized that the good-hearted Johnson was privately nervous about the possibility of seriously injuring a batsman. Almost alone among his peers, Cobb would actually stand closer to the plate than usual when facing Johnson—unless it was an overcast day.

Well now when pitchers throw their pitch to scare
They actually try to almost hit that opposing player
Walter Johnson wouldn't do that not even just a little
He made sure he through the baseball right down the middle
And all through baseball he was loved and respected
Was there bitterness in Walter Johnson? Well it was never

--Jonathan Richman

Tuesday, November 3

Vic Chesnutt on Daytrotter

Vic Chesnutt often appears with Jonathan. Here's a set of live stuff from Vic and Elf Power -- a June, 2009 Daytrotter session.

Thursday, October 29

Big Mama, Rome, 25th October 2009

One hour before the show, and when only a few people were at the venue, Jonathan gave a CD to the DJ, because he didn’t want to make a great change in the style of music when the show began. And after that, we could listen to some themes of Van Morrison and Elliott Murphy (among other songs that I didn’t recognize).

It was a great show, with a lot of new songs (six that I didn’t have heard before). And new lyrics in some others (like In che mondo viviamo, Cosi veloce, and Es como el pan). The rapport was great, specially in the Italian songs. The only problem was that Big Mama didn’t have a good visibility of the stage for some parts of the venue, but Jonathan fixed it up by approaching to the extremes of the stage. And in the middle of “Dancing in the moonlight”, he even walked through the crowd while he was singing. The show was a little longer than usual, distributed in two sets.

1st set:

1) Egyptian Reggae
2) In Che Mondo Viviamo
3) Pablo Picasso
4) Dancing In The Moonlight (King Harvest cover)
5) The Dark Crypt Like Arcade (?)
6) The Sadness Of The Youth (?) New song in Hebrew
7) Keith Richards (with 2 reprises)
8) I Was Dancing In The Lesbian Bar
9) Le Printemps Des Amoureux Est Venu

2nd set:

10) Her Beauty Is Raw And Wild
11) Sunday Afternoon
12) (?) New song in French
13) A Hard Time Saying Goodbye (?)
14) Take Me To The Plaza
15) Cosi Veloce
16) South American Folk Song
17) Vampiresa Mujer
18) Es Como El Pan
19) Springtime In NY
20) No One Was Like Vermeer
21) This Romance Will Be Different For Me
22) When We Refuse To Suffer

A girl yelled at the end: Torna pronto! And I’m sure that all the audience was thinking the same. Jonathan, come back soon!

Monday, October 26


Hi Jojo-sphere, trying to sort out what's wrong with blog loading! Will be back up asap! Thanks for your patience!

Thursday, October 22

Suspect Parts

The Suspects Parts (with ex members of Xlorox Girls & the Briefs) cover "She Cracked"
on their first single

Monday, October 19

Tribute to Jonathan

On Radio NK, Thursday 22th October at 21.30h.

Friday, October 16

Schauburg, Bremen, 1985

Thanks to Andi for sending us the link of a radio broadcasted concert at Schauburg, Bremen, Germany (3rd June 1985) posted on


1. Egyptian Regge (2:54)
2. Ice Cream Man (3:14)
3. Vincent Van Gogh (3:12)
4. Louie Louie (2:20)
5. When I Dance (5:00)
6. The Beach (3:11)
7. The Ufo Man (3:22)
8. Chewing Gum Wrapper (3:40)
9. Affection (4:30)
10. Corner Store (4:31)
11. Lover, Please (2:26)
12. Malaguena De Jojo (1:39)
13. Stop This Car (1:45)
14. Rocking Leprechauns (1:32)
15. Now Is Better Than Before (2:38)
16. Not Yet Three (2:38)
17. I'm Just Beginning To Live (2:30)
18. That Summer Feeling (5:00)
19. This Kinda Music (4:52)
20. Hey There Little Insect (2:59)
21. Shirind & Farah (5:25)
22. Chewing Gum Wrapper (3:23)
23. Give Paris One More Chance (4:00)
24. Walter Johnson (2:58)

Tuesday, October 13

Brudenell Leeds

Made my way up from Hertfordshire for the Leeds gig. Brought my 22 yr old daughter with me for her first (and hopefully not last) taste of Jojo. Arriving a bit early we stood outside whilst my daughter texted her friends (it takes a while). Whilst we were stood outside Jonathan came out with the show organiser who walked Jonathan up the car park to the main road giving him directions up the road past the (several) kebab and taxi shops, taking in the local attractions as you do!
I got the distinct impression, assisted by an overheard remark, that the guy (I suspect a committee member ), was particularly made up at having Jonathan “at his place”.
I had brought with me my Jonathan Songbook (highly recommended - only £9.85 from UK Amazon), with the intention of asking the great man to autograph it, but didn’t have the bottle, it didn’t seem seemly to chase him up the car park!
Sign inside the door gave details of doors open and on stage times for Jonathan, and a bit of a cryptic request for punters to remain quiet during the performance (!)
About 40 mins before performance time I espied Jojo walking across the club floor, past the stage and through the stage door, followed 5 mins later by Tommy holding a food carton (the sort which normally would contain a kebab or burger), sampling no doubt the local cuisine! They seemed to make it across the floor largely unnoticed!
When Jojo came on and had done 4 or 5 songs or so it became apparent that many had took the sign completely seriously and although the crowd (sold out) applauded greatly at the end of each song they were noticeably restrained during the performances, so much so that Jonathan saw fit to mention how quiet they were,(with good natured humour of course). Some chap in the audience called out about the sign and its request , which drew confused looks from Jonathan, and him saying words to effect that he “didn’t like the idea of that much”, which resulted in much laughter. After that there was no problem with audience participation!!!
I was particularly struck by the size of Tommy’s drum kit. Normally when i’ve seen him before he has had a smaller “jazz” type kit, but this seemed much bigger with larger crash and ride cymbals too. This was reflected by the sound, which seemed larger and “rockier” than at other times.
The litmus test was my daughter, brought up on Busted, McFly and now a devoted follower of unsigned indie bands and emo bands like My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy. How would she find Jonathan? Would she be bored, or find Jonathan ridiculous, or his songs silly? Result? A thumbs up ! She enjoyed the songs, thought his dancing spot on, and generally enjoyed the whole thing clapping along and joining in with the “I was dancing in the Lesbian Bar” choruses. Although Jonathan wouldn’t necessarily be going to the top of her “must see list”, she wouldn’t rule out seeing him again!
Don’t ask me about setlists – I can never remember these things, but it very much the same as the Glasgow gig. Particularly enjoyed “Keith Richards”, which if I recall had a tiny lyrical snippet of “Roadrunner” in it. Plus we got “Vermeer” at the end in the encore, which is my favourite at the moment.
Anyway, it all finished all too early,and we both went off to the Kebab shop up the road, and back off to our hotel.
Caught the train back down towards Kings Cross the following morning, fully aware that Tommy and Jonathan would probably be heading down to St Pancras for the Eurostar to Paris. Alas no Jonathan spotted on the train - so my songbook remains unsigned!

Deaf Institute, Manchester, 11th October 2009

What a great little venue the Manchester Deaf Institute is! Much smaller and far more intimate than the usual place Jonathan plays in Manchester (Manchester Academy just a couple of minutes away down the road).

The show had been sold out for weeks, so me and Jan got there early and positioned ourselves pretty near the front, at about 10 feet away from the stage. By the time Jonathan and Tommy came on, pretty soon after 8.45, the place was packed with maybe 300 people seeming to fill every space possible. I was glad we’d sorted out our places early on as there didn’t seem much ability to change position within the tightly packed crowd.

Jonathan did quite a few new songs, one of them 'Keith Richards' went down really well and seemed to be a highlight of the night, as was the 'Cellphone Song' which Jonathan did soon after someone had called out for it as a request. I'll post the set list below.

At one point, towards the end of the show, Jonathan broke off mid song to sing something like...

"Folks in the audience, this is Jonathan asking a question to you...

I use no watch or program on the stage, so I've no idea how long we've been playing... but if we're getting boring for being too long, just let us know, Please do..."

The response was an emphatic "NO - keep on going!” and Jonathan and Tommy carried on for something like another 20 minutes. The audience would have happily had them stay for long - much longer!

Among the encores was a excellent 'off the cuff' classical guitar piece that Jonathan performed solo, Tommy had left the stage thinking the show was completely over, but there was one more song that Jonathan had thought of as an afterthought that he really wanted to play to close the show, so a couple of minutes later after Tommy had been found, the show ended with another new one ‘Mr Sorrow’.

I really enjoyed the whole night and, judging by the overheard comments around us on the way out, many other people were also heading home extremely happy too! A great show and one of my favourites!

Set list: -

1) Celestial

2) I Was Dancing In The Lesbian Bar

3) Her Beauty Is Raw And Wild

4) No One Was Like Vermeer

5) When We Refuse To Suffer

6) Let Her Go Into The Darkness

7) This Romance Will Be Different For Me

8) The Dark Crypt Like Arcade

9) Take Me To The Plaza

10) Not So Much To Be Loved As To Love

11) Keith Richards

12) Egyptian Reggae

13) A Que Venimos Sino A Caer

14) A Hard Time Saying Goodbye

15) You Can Have A Cellphone, But Not Me

16) Fender Stratocaster

17) Nishi

18) Classical Guitar Piece (?)

19) Mr Sorrow

Train trip with Jojo

Thomas sent me a couple of photos from Manchester show, and this great story:

I have a cool story from this week that has pretty much made my day, week, year. I went to see Jonathan in Manchester on Sunday night... The gig was fantastic fun as I expected, but the day after I was waiting for my train back to Leeds when Jonathan and Tommy came up to the same station! I shook his hand and said what a great time I had an he was really courteous. Then we walked to the platform on the train and he actually came and found me at the opposite end of the carriage and said there's a seat next to him if I wanted to join him. Amazing! An hour in the company of the great man. Talking about Neil Young, new music (he really loves TV On The Radio), his part time stone-masonry, his past records (we agreed to disagree on Jonathan Sings, he hated it), his touring style, the French language and travelling. Just an amazingly down to earth inspiring fella. He also put me plus 3 friends on the guestlist for the gig in Leeds last night which was brilliant of him. I won't be forgetting it in a hurry. Hero!

Oran Mor, Glasgow

A review of the Glasgow show from Wojit. Also the complete setlist with some new songs (Keith Richards? I will love to hear that song!).

The performance was great. Purely joyful. Never have I seen a performer smile so damn much while on stage. Never have I heard so much handclapping and singing from an audience. The band consisted of him on guitar, plus one Tommy Larkins on drums. Occasionally he would put down the guitar to pick up a cowbell, or just dance awkwardly.

1) I Was Dancing In The Lesbian Bar (An insanely good choice of opening, as it immediately encourages both singing and dancing)
2) Pablo Picasso (With a great spanish guitar kind of sound, which made it extremely dissimilar to the punky original)
3) Springtime In New York
4) Keith Richards (New. Excellent.)
5) Egyptian Reggae
6) When I Dance
7) Because Her Beauty Is Raw And Wild
8) Girlfriend
9) Time Has Gone By So Fast
10) Let Her Go Into The Darkness (My least favourite of the night, for whatever reason)
11) Mr. Sorrow (?) (New? Pretty good!)
12) Old World (This is pretty interesting, because it's on both his first, and his latest albums. Back then he says he "stills loves the Old World," these days he wants to "say goodbye to the Old World." Time seems to have made him less nostalgic.)
13) Stultified (?) (New. Rather good!)
14) No One Was Like Vemeer (Best song of the night, for my money)
15) Le Printemps Des Amoureux Est Venu (So French.)
16) Es Como El Pan (An excellent song, even if it's twelve times too Spanish for me to understand.)
17) My Affected Accent (New? Look, no online video is going to capture how great this concert or this song was, but I'm going to embed one below anyway)
18) This Romance Will Be Different For Me
19) My Baby Love Love Loves Me

You can read the complete review here:

And a video of the opening song:

Sunday, October 4

Makeout Room/ Random Stuff Roundup

Our boy Jonathan played at The Makeout Room September 20th-23rd, and I'm now just getting around to doing the review roundup, due to my thesis-based lameassedness. (Expect me to be lame through December due to same/trying to graduate. I apologize.) Now, away from sorry apologies, and onto the reviews and such!

Katie Ann Doze of the
SF appeal is going to start us off, though I guess it can't be a review per se, since it was published the 20th. But, I love it anyhow. Katie shares my desire to give Jonathan a big hug and feed him dinner - though as far
as the wanting to wake up in bed next to him, you're on your own, Katie. Photo is by Russell Daniels.

Going to a Jonathan Richman show is like what you wish a
Litquake event would be. He sings of warm summer nights, youthful love, walking around in melancholy, sad heartbreaks. The all-encompassing love he sings about is the kind that, in real life, evaporates over time and age, but while you watch and listen to him, you daydream of this innocence you once had and what it would be like to have that again. So much so that you immediately fall in love and want to take him home and feed him a big dinner, hold him to your breast and put him to sleep - but at the same time, you want him to admire your beauty and caress your shoulder and sing to you in bed at 5 in the morning....

So here's some words of advice if you're having trouble with which day you'll go. If you are an older fan who enjoys the slower songs and likes to sit

down during shows, go today. If you're a die hard fan like me and like the mix of newly hashed-out songs, the slow, and the upbeat, go on Monday. If you've seen him 5 or more times, go on Tuesday. If you've never seen him, or maybe once or twice, or your favorite song is "I Was Dancing In a Lesbian Bar

", go on Wednesday.

Or you could be like me and see him and Tommy every night.

Going every night? A girl after my own heart. Read the rest here.

The next item of interest is not so much a review as Jonathan being a nice guy. He played in August for Creativity Explored, a group brings art to the developmentally disabled. I stole the picture from their website. you can see their storylet here.

And finally, Jonathan at the Make-out room, in video form. Pretty decent, if you can ignore the fact that the camera is on it's side. The first song is a newbie, which I am tentatively called "Stultified". And then stay tuned for Jonathan's patented dance moves! Every time I see a video from Make-Out room shows, I wish I lived in San Francisco.

Sunday, September 27

Coming European Tour Dates - October 2009

Here are the tour dates pointed out so far : -

Tuesday, 6th October - The Village, Dublin, IRELAND

Wednesday, 7th October - Cyprus Avenue, Cork, IRELAND

Thursday, 8th October - Roisin Dubh, Galway, IRELAND

Saturday 10th October - Oran Mor, Glasgow, SCOTLAND

Sunday 11th October - Manchester Deaf Institute, Manchester, ENGLAND

Monday 12th October - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, ENGLAND

Wednesday, 14th October - Cafe de la Danse, Paris, FRANCE

Thursday, 15th October - Stadtgarten, Cologne, GERMANY

Friday, 16th October - Prinzenbar, Hamburg, GERMANY

Sunday, 18th October - Manufaktur, Schorndorf, GERMANY

Monday, 19th October, Cafe Kairo, Bern, SWITZERLAND (see the comments for ticket info)

Tuesday, 20th October, Le Bourg, Lausanne, SWITZERLAND

Wednesday, 21st October, La Casa 139, Milano, Milan, ITALY

Friday, 23rd October, Suoneria della musica, settimo Torinese, Turin, ITALY

Saturday, 24th October, Bronson, Ravenna, ITALY

Sunday, 25th October, Big Mama, Rome, ITALY

Tuesday, 27th October, Lithgrafio Theatre, Athens, GREECE

Wednesday, 28th October, Rodeo, Patras, GREECE

Note - As usual please check with the venue before making travel arrangements

As we become aware of others we'll add them here, thanks for all the assistance so far!

Anyone else know of other dates?

Monday, September 21

Last Night: Jonathan Richman at The Make Out Room

From S.F. Weekly.COM:-

By Wade Grubbs

What must it be like to be Jonathan Richman? Guessing from his Sunday night show, it's equal parts joy and sorrow in abundance. The singer-songwriter's emotions are delivered in many languages; I counted English, Hebrew, Spanish, and French tonight. And he even got heckled in Hebrew.

Richman and longtime drummer Tommy Larkins played the first of a four-night run at the Make-Out Room in the Mission, something that has become a tradition. Richman mesmerized the attentive crowd with songs new, old, and improvised. He held us all rapt, never knowing where the twists in his thoughts and strumming might lead, but willing to take the journey with him as our guide.

The music led to many places. Richman's Spanish-style guitar flourishes and meanderings were a rich accompaniment to his verbal asides. His quirkiness wasn't wasted on the crowd, which was largely composed of middle-aged farts like myself who were slightly past their sell-by date but still capable of wonderment at a good show...

Read the whole review here:-

This Kind Of Music

Hi ya,
Well, well, well, I got nothing new to say about our man Jojo, but I was listening to singles tonight, including the Touch-Me-Nots. On their third and latest (last?)7", the canadian couple deliver an awsome version of "This Kind Of Music". As this 7" was limited to 200 or 300 copies I guessed that some of you don't have it.
So here it is :
I hope you'll enjoy

Thursday, September 17

The Jonathan Richman songbook

Hey, you crazy kids! I ordered the songbook when it first came out, but now have looked it over and have some pictures for you!

I highly recommend this. It's for guitar, which couldn't find online before I bought it. Unsurprisingly, the two albums that are best represented are Not So Much To Be Loved As to Love and Because Her Beauty is Raw and Wild, but it still holds a nice sampling of Jonathan's songs from the past and present, including the semi-grudgingly added "Roadrunner". Of it, he says: "Plus, I no longer want to drive around the cold, sterile, industrialized highways of America's suburbs, and I won't pretend I do for love or money". And that's really what makes this songbook so great. Jonathan has a bunch of commentaries, some printed, and some notes are in his handwriting. And he's his hilarious, off the cuff self. It's probably the most that we'll ever get to hear him say about some of these songs directly, I don't even play the guitar, and I found this entertaining. There's a shot of the intro over here.

You can buy it from several different places, one of them is Hal Leonard.

Songs in the book:
Because her Beauty is Raw and Wild
Behold the Lilies of the Field
El Joven Se Estremece
Es Como El Pan
Give Paris One More Chance
He Gave Us the Wine to Taste it
Her Mystery Not of High Heels and Eyeshadow
I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar
In Che Mondo Viviamo
Le Printemps des Amoureux est Venu
Let Her Go Into the Darkness
No One Was Like Vermeer
Not So Much to Be Loved as to Love
Pablo Picasso
Springtime in New York
There's Something About Mary
This Romance Will Be Different for Me
Vampiresa Mujer
Vampire Girl
Vincent Van Gogh
When We Refuse to Suffer

Tuesday, September 15

Make-Out Room in September

Sun 20 Sept San Francisco, CA (Make-Out Room)
Mon 21 Sept San Francisco, CA (Make-Out Room)
Tues 22 Sept San Francisco, CA (Make-Out Room)
Wed 23 Sept San Francisco, CA (Make-Out Room)

Make-Out Room (link)

Thanks DMD!

Thursday, September 3

Essential Recordings: Vampire Girl

In the Perfect 10 series of Rounder Records, a new Jonathan's CD will be released on Sept 22. It's called Essential Recordings: Vampire Girl (CDROUN9092 / 011661909229). A compilation of 10 songs, apparently selected for this release by Jonathan himself:

- Vampire Girl
- I Was Dancing In The Lesbian Bar
- Harpo En Su Harpa
- Let Her Go Into The Darkness
- California Desert Party - Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers
- Dancin' Late At Night - Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers
- Since She Started to Ride
- You're Crazy For Taking The Bus
- I Eat With Gusto, Damn! You Bet
- Twilight In Boston

Wednesday, August 26

Party in the desert ..

I would like to transmit a message from our friends Marc and Hillary, if you are interested you might bring a music instrument to play with...

My wife Hillary and I are hosting a Jonathan Richman sing-along party @ burningman on Mon/Wed/Fri/Sun at 11 am - from Aug 31st onwards. The event will be at the Lost Penguin Café at Esplanade and 3:30 in Black Rock City.

I would imagine that JR fans at burningman would want to know about this, so I thought I'd let you know.

Thanks !


Thursday, August 20

Jonathan Plays Oldies Covers

Hello Jojo World,

You've probably heard of "Jonathan Goes Country". You've also may have heard of "Jonathan Goes Funky". (if you don't have it then look through old posts on this blog, at one time a link was posted to download it.)
Well, I would like to submit a new entry into the "Jonathan Goes ... " - "Jonathan Goes Oldies Covers"!

I am a huge fan of JR shows (new and old), and one thing that I have always enjoyed is all the old classics that he does. He must have done "Louie Louie" a trillion times in his life.

So, I put together a compilation of some of my favorite Jonathan Richman old Rhythm and Blues covers for everyone to enjoy.

Check out such classic renditions of "You Are", "Pearl", and "Peppermint Twist."
Possibly my favorite song is "My Guy" which is superbly sung by Ellie Marshall.

So, just go to this webpage(don't worry, no ads or any of that crap) and click on the songs to listen, or right click and select "save target as" to download.

Enjoy!: Jonathan Plays Oldies Covers

Wednesday, August 19

I have a treat for you fine people!

I know I've been kind of incognito lately, between moving and my birthday last week...well...okay, I've been incredibly lazy as well. It's my last week of freedom!

He also told a lovely wine-based joke.

But, I bring you good tidings. My amazing friend Caitlin (you will recognize her as the girl that does all of my concert photography, like the one in this post.) found this song online and shared it with me. I had to share it with the world. It is something between a musical concert review and a story of lost love. It's by a guy named Scotter, who I have been unable to find anything about online. But he has this song. and it's great. Easily one of my favorite songs about Jonathan. The Jonathan impression in the middle of the song is worth the price of admission.

At The Jonathan Richman Show

I don't know how long this link will stay, so if it's gone and you have to have this, email me.

Wednesday, July 29

Remember when I told you to go to the San Francisco International Poetry Festival?

Here's why you should have. Jonathan Richman and Roy Chicky Arad, doing a groovy little Hebrew song and poetry thing. Afterwards, you can hear the translation.

Friday, July 24

If you're in San Francisco and looking for something to do tonight

The San Francisco International Poetry Festival is continuing on tonight at the Palace of Fine Arts. Jonathan showed up to the Alley kick off last night to play a few songs. (And looking quite snappy, I must say!)

The reading goes from 7 to 9:30 tonight, it's all free, and it's a great chance to hear poetry in the native tongue. You can find out more about the reading tonight, and the weekend's festival activities, here.You can also hear Jonathan performing on the KFOG morning show, playing "No One Was Like Vermeer." I don't know if they did any sort of interview or not, because this is all I can find to listen to. Had I know he was going to be on before, I would have listened it, but alas. Jonathan's song is about halfway down the page, under Wednesday.

There are many more pictures of this event at Steve Rhode's photostream. Check them out!

Thursday, July 23

Stuff that makes me happy for 500, Alex.

First of all, I love it when life is just a little strange. It should be. It needs to be. In that vein, I love this mildly surrealistic artist's rendering of a young Jonathan Richman. Not only are the Martian Martians coming, but Jonathan is among them.

This whole set holds a treasure trove of work like this, with a lot of these portraits. The artist's name is Owen Schumacher, and you should most definitely go check out his work here, and also on his blog, along with many other cool things.

You know, if anyone else has artwork of any stripe, either by or of Jonathan, I'd love to see it. Email me. Maybe I can get a big 'ol post of it in.

NEXT. I am so thrilled to have found this song online. If you have not gotten to hear "My Affected Accent", the song that's making the tour rounds lately, now's your chance! Youtube is truly the bringer of light.

Wednesday, July 15

Randi goes to SLC

From my blog: Anytime I go to a Jonathan Richman concert, it ends up being some sort of epic adventure. It really can't be stopped, being as I live in a place with very few concerts to speak of, and even less than aren't bands from the 80s trying to scrape by. So when Jonathan comes to Salt Lake City, I'm always very happy, since it's only 7 hours away. As opposed to my all time record, which 12 hours. In one direction. SO when I set upon planning this little escapade, I called on some reliable friends. My second, Caitlin, as been to, counting this one, three out of the four Jonathan shows that I have been to. I take all the credit for introducing her, and she took all the lovely pictures that I have here. Cathy, one of my best friends of a good number of years, agreed to come along for her second Jonathan experience. And John, oh John...he was actually a last minute deal. The girl who was coming along skipped out, so I called John in a panic.

Randi: John, do you want to go to a concert in Salt Lake? Ticket's free.

John: Who?

Randi: Jonathan Richman

John:Who...Oh, is that the guy on your wall?

Randi: Yes, John, yes it is. You coming?

He answered in the absolute affirmative, even though we would have to do a (minorly disastrous) pickup in Pocatello. Knowing nothing about Jonathan except that I liked him, he adventured along with us. I wasn't entirely sure we were going to make it in time. The Pocatello pickup from hell had taken longer than figured, and we were barreling down the highway, trying to get there in time for when the doors opened. We made it. I had told Cathy that it was a ramshackle little place at the end of an alleyway, but I'm sure she believed me until we were gazing upon its tin-sided glory. While John used the window to primp, we sat down and played with the cat of Kilby Court.

We finally got in the doors, and I saw a familiar face standing next to the stage. The guy we met last time! Who, I discovered, has an actual name. It is Mike. He and I talked Jonathan until the show started, while my friends either rolled their eyes or ignored me. I defended Jonathan's only playing his new stuff, we talked about the essays I'd managed to work Jonathan into, and our favorite albums. Good way to kill time.

The show started, with no opener, just pure Jonathan. They were about 15 minutes late, but once they started, nobody cared. He was even better than the last time I had seen him at Kilby, and though he didn't dance much, he was incredibly talky. While singing my affected accent, he told us that he was such a brat, and "40 years later, I apologize". He did his own backup singing on this tune, telling us that it was the chorus of angels. At the end of the song, he said, eyes upraised, "I'm sorry, the angels are sorry. Everybody's sorry". He also gave us a little speech about self-confidence during Pablo Picasso. "If he didn't care, the girls didn't care. It's not a problem". He sang this wonderful new song in Hebrew about this very sexy yet modest dress, "It looks like one of those dresses from the 40s"and how it just looks so great on her when she walks down the street. He told us that they have no problem keeping the electricity up when they sit at home together, doing nothing too exciting, just reading, although "It's not always poetry, right now it's Alexandre Dumas. The Three Musketeers. Oooh, some people say 'I won't pick up that big 600 page book', but it's wonderful". During a new song, he made a great comment about how sometimes he just wants to play his role with her, and grow old with her, and, he laughed "I've already got a head start." He also told us a joke during He Gave Us The Wine To Taste It, his encore:

So this rich guy gives his butler a bottle of wine for the holidays, and when the butler gets back, he asks him how he liked it. The butler goes, "It was just right". And the rich guy asks, "Well, what do you mean by that?", and the butler goes, "If it was any better, you wouldn't have given it to me, and if it was any worse, I couldn't have drank it!"

At one point during the show, the aforementioned Kilby Court cat wandered onstage. Jonathan stopped playing for a moment and watched it, everyone laughed as it circled the stage and decided this was boring, and it had better things to do. Jonathan assured us that this was not a humans-only show, and everyone was welcome here, quadruped or sextuped alike. The show ended, and Jonathan stood on the stage by the door, shaking people's hands as they left. No matter how long he plays, it's always over too quickly.

And I still didn't get to hear My Baby Love Love Loves Me. But I'll forgive you, Jonathan. Just this once.

You can see more pictures, there's like 80-90 from this show, on my flickr. The ones from this show are at the bottom of the set. All the other shows I've been to are in there as well.

Tuesday, July 7

Roaring hot at the Lion's Lair

I picked up a couple reviews of our Jonathan at the tiny, packed Lion's Lair in Denver, CO. (Kilby Court was similarly hot and tiny - I will have a review once I get my pictures.) First is from the Reverb blog over at the Denver post. Jonathan was apparently better this time than the last time he came around the Mile High City, and Billy Thieme had plenty of nice things to say.

It’s obvious he’s made the 100-person capacity venue a regular stop. And it’s clear why: he knows exactly how to make the Lair look so much like its own legend — comfortable, intimate and unassuming — a home for the regular, and just as comfortable for a fan.

As I walked into the venue, filled to what had to be capacity with an already sweaty throng, Richman was playing ”My Affected Accent.” He regaled the happy crowd with his characteristically naive banter with, of course, an exaggerated Boston accent. In his eyes, you could see he was still living out his adolescent spirit, belied by the salt-and-pepper in his hair and a few visible lines in his face. The crowd ate up every word, with a few of them hollering out requests (Richman ignored them), and added laughter to the already tight knit atmosphere....

The pair played a hilarious rendition of “The Lovers Are Here and They’re Full of Sweat,” that had the entire audience laughing through the almost uncomfortably appropriate, sweaty heat of the Lair. When they performed the hit “I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar,” he set down his guitar and took up a set of reindeer bells as Larkins played a drum solo, and then had the entire crowd singing the “Ohm-hmm” part of the chorus over and over, never losing that light behind his eyes.

After a short break, Richman was barraged with resounding approval when he asked if we wanted a couple more, and added “…We’re not tired! We just didn’t want to bore you,” and then played easily the best set of the night with “Our Party Will Be On the Beach Tonight,” “He Gave Us the Wine to Taste It,” and a brilliant rendition of “You Must Ask the Heart.”...

The last song, in which he sporadically interrupted himself with narration and wry romantic comedy, inspired a watershed moment for me. I realized that Jonathan isn’t just a brilliant singer-songwriter, nor is he merely the “godfather of punk,” as he’s been dubbed. Jonathan is a quintessential street performer, the archetypal busker. His easy naiveté grasps audiences, and his banter is designed to keep them transfixed until he’s finished, and begins to pass the hat. Only, rather than spare change, Jonathan asks for participation, and to share in his infectious happiness.

You can read everything I skipped here.

The second is from another music blog, Backbeat Online.

Indeed, it's difficult to imagine such communal encouragement and sustained interest taking place at a larger theater. More importantly, perhaps, a larger stage would surely have subtracted from Richman's inimitable stage presence. The founder of the Modern Lovers took full advantage of the small Lion's Lair stage, constantly moving away from his two microphones to sing directly and unamplified to the nearby crowd. Richman found several occasions to temporarily lay aside his guitar in order to take a cowbell solo, a stint on the shaker or just an impassioned dance break.With his eyebrows arched high and his piercing gaze aimed directly at the audience members, Richman seemed on the brink of some kind of emotional breakdown during the entire performance.

The effect of Richman's theatrics and his intensity were as contagious as they were affecting. The sound was simple and the instrumentation understated, but the two performers filled the room with their instrumentation. The audience also kept up a respectful amount of silence during the slower songs and clapped along during the more energetic numbers. The crowd likewise stayed fully engaged during songs that alternated in tone and topic between the ridiculous and the forthright. Richman's pleading, insistent tenor voice and his earnest, searching facial expression elicited encouraging responses during songs like "You Must Ask the Heart," which deals with fairly straightforward matters of love and heartache, and tunes like "I Was Dancing in a Lesbian Bar" and "In High School I was Such a Brat," which incorporate a degree of Dadaistic ridiculousness. Lyrics that casually referenced William F. Buckley got as considerable a response from the crowd as songs about "the springtime of love," rendered in both French in English.

Even Richman's forays into foreign languages and interpretive dances failed to loosen the rapt attention of the crowd, who cheered for the words they did not understand and hooted during the dance breaks. The effect would surely have been lost in a more spacious and more anonymous venue. Songs like "Let Her Go Into the Darkness," "Time Has Been Going By" and "Celestial Es Como El Pan" and "Because Her Beauty is Raw and Wild" benefited from Richman's direct input with the crowd. In between verses, Richman would address the audience directly, riffing on a theme and offering observations or anecdotes. What's more, the pair's instrumental approach also seemed ideally suited for a smaller space. Richman's flamenco strumming style and elaborate solos rooted in bar chords played on a nylon string guitar fit the scope of the space, as did Larkins' small jazz drum kit.

Sounds like it was an awesome show, all around. You can read the rest of the last one over here.

I always laugh when people talk about how hot it is at a Jonathan show. Seriously, folks, wear as a few clothes as possible and pray for a cool night. That's your best bet. :)

First two pictures are also from Reverb, the bottom one is from stakerpix.

Tuesday, June 30

I love Alexandra Molotkow

Seriously. I want to be her best friend. Some of this may be that she titled her article "What Would Jonathan Richman Do?", one of my daily reminders to myself not to be such a sassy twit and actually try to be nice to people. Or it may be that she also mentions "Not Just a Plus One On The Guest List Anymore" as one of the happiest songs about all the reasons someone is leaving you. Ir maybe I'm really jealous of the fact that she got to have dinner with Jonathan. Or I love the way she writes. In any case, I felt lucky when I stumbled across her piece at the Walrus Blogs today.

Jonathan Richman doesn’t believe in air conditioning. He doesn’t think that our comfort is worth expanding the ozone hole for, and he feels that “when we refuse to suffer,” we “cheat feeling.” Fair enough, but the motionless ceiling fans above the Great Hall in Toronto, whose floors are slick with sweat, are a bit of a kick in the ass. Sandwiched between my boyfriend and a pair of loudmouthed forty-somethings who are yelling out song requests and botching the titles (”play Summertime Feeling!”), watching Jonathan make eye contact with the audience and wiggle through his dance routine, I’m torn between primal rage and tears of joy. Don’t get me wrong—I take Jonathan’s words as gospel. Living them is a different story.

JR was one of the great discoveries of my life. One of the hardest parts of growing up is realizing that life is actually pretty good, that what seemed like serious pain was really boredom and sexual anxiety. At sixteen, having obtained a fake ID, and, with much effort, convinced someone to sleep with me, I was content. It wasn’t easy. For one thing, I could finally see my musical heroes for what they were: petulant children with undiagnosed personality disorders. Nevertheless, my record collection remained a monument to unwarranted self-pity. When I found Jonathan, I found the idol I should have started with. Whereas most rockstars’ songbooks read like manuals for fucking up your life, JR’s is the ongoing autobiography of a satisfied person.

Jonathan called me the following evening. My mother asked me who it was and what he wanted; I told her that the middle-aged singer from There’s Something About Mary had invited me out for supper. She panicked. Of course, she didn’t need to: Jonathan is the only fifty-something I can think of who could go for dinner with a couple of teenaged girls in absolute innocence. I sat to the left of Jonathan and ate hunan tofu on rice. He talked when he had something to say and smiled otherwise. When the meal was over, my fortune cookie read, “Stop looking forever—happiness is sitting right next to you.”

I spent the following year in a state of apple-cheeked optimism. It was the simple fact that people like him existed, that it was actually easier to be happy than to be hung up on petty disappointments. I prided myself on my positivity, and took heart in the fact that Jonathan Richman would have disapproved of all the jerks who gave me attitude.

Go read the rest over here. Not if you want to, just go read it.

Pictures are stolen in the dead of night from the talented Mr. Forester of flickr.

If you have any reviews or tips for me, email me using my address from the button in the sidebar. However, I will be GONE Thursday through Saturday to go see Jonathan in Salt Lake (!!!), so don't be offended if I don't get back to you right away :)