Tuesday, March 31

Pictures from the show in Brest (France)

There are excellent photos shot by Hervé Le Gall of our man Jonathan during the concert at L'espace Vauban in Brest in Bretagne on March 19.

Hervé is a talented photographer and there are other pictures of Jonathan linked to his page
where he has written a rather funny review in French (there you go Chimaerandi...) of the show. Funny in the sense that he had never been to a Jonathan concert before and had never heard of him neither of the Modern Lovers. And he is a bit puzzled by the connection between Jonathan and Charles Trenet.

He could not really understand all the fuss going on about Jonathan playing in his town so he focused on taking pictures... go figure !
Thanks Hervé and welcome to Jojo's fanclub .

Monday, March 30

For all of you

The second interview from "Take Me To The Plaza". Jonathan tries to set the record straight about things he's never said, and how he loathes some of his earlier work. This is the whole thing.


Video time!

If you follow this blog, one might be led to believe all I do is troll Youtube all day.

Here's Jonathan performing a version of "Cosi Veloce"

And doing his "Let Her Go Into the Darkness"/"He Gave Us the Wine to Taste it" thing in Berlin.

Setlist in Breda, 26th March 09

The complete setlist in MEZZ - Breda (Holland). Thanks to Dan

Egyptian reggae
No one was like Vermeer
In che mondo viviamo
Because her beauty is raw and wild
Let her go into the darkness
Hard time saying goodbye (new song ???)
When we refuse to suffer
Les etoiles
This romance will be different for me
Her mystery not of high heels and eyeshadow
Pablo Picasso
Here it is (L.Cohen)
Take me to the Plaza
My affected accent (new song ???)
Stultified (new song ???)
He gave us the wine to taste
Not so much to be loved as to love

Tuesday, March 24

New Concert - Iceland, 1st April 2009

Just noticed, thanks to Jacques and the link to Fanshake, that an extra date has been added to the current European Tour.

Wednesday 1st April - Cafe Rosenberg, Reykjavik, Iceland

And as usual - Check out the details with the venue before travelling

New Fan Group

A new Jonathan fan group has just started on FanShake. Their page is under construction and there is a nice concert/show indicator. Anyway they are eager to improve their general display and wish to get comments about what is presently available. Do not hesitate to express your critical analysis ! They asked me to transmit their URL, which I do now, join the FanShake group

Slight return on the Lyon and Lille concerts

(pic - courtesy of k4rl)
A slight return on two of the French shows provided by Fabien for Lyon and by JC for Lille. Thanks to them for sharing their impressions and let me put them on the :JojoBlog: ...

I sort of freaked out thinking that the gig might have been cancelled as I reached the venue in Villeurbanne, no cars on the surrounding sidewalks as is usually the case when there is an event at the Transbordeur. And the parking lot was definitely not full. The concert was scheduled for 8pm with a German singer (Suzanne Piesker) as opening act. Having listened to her songs before and being not really a fan of Goethe’s language, I had decided to skip this part and showed up at 8:30 pm, a last puff on the ciggie and in I went to find out that Jojo had already started. Fortunately it was only the beginning of his first song, “Springtime in NY”. He was playing the club
room not the large hall, which was far better. But only 200 people there to attend his first concert in Lyon since 1984, I think so. Adds for the gig had been dramatically missing, a pal of mine even called me the next day because he had just realized there had been a Jonathan concert the night before. !!! Another reason is the ridiculously expensive price charged for tickets in Lyon compared to other towns, not mentionning what you are paying in the US. In Lyon, a ticket costed 28 Euros ( about $ 40 ).

Jonathan and Tommy are on the left of the stage and songs are nicely flowing, "Silence alors, silence", then a song in Spanish, another one in Italian. Then a classic, "Egyptian reggae". Then , many songs in Spanish, and some more in French like "Le printemps des amoureux est venu". More classics are entangled in between like "Pablo Picasso", "I was dancing in a lesbian bar" (the audience is choir singing the chorus), or else "Let her go into the darkness". Personnally, I really missed “Give Paris one more chance” and some other songs from my recent favourite albums like "I'm so confused" or "Her majesty...". It ended with a terrific ovation followed by a very short encore and eventually a second run of “Egyptian reggae”. Jonathan came back again one more time for an a capella song in French. After the strongest possible requests from such a small audience, Jonathan showed up one last time on stage after a few minutes but just to wave his hand.

Jojo is still his usual self, singing and playing his guitar out of the microphone range, getting close to the edge of the stage, putting his guitar down to dance on 2 or 3 songs (well, you know what I mean !!). As for Tommy Larkins, as always he is one expressive and smiling guy (ahahah).

I am missing the Jonathan from the past who was bringing more craziness on stage. But it was such a thrill to see him again. This was the shared feeling of all those I met at the end of the concert and who are not that keen on the spanish and french part of the repertoire. All in all, a perfect evening which I would like to relive more often. But I am afraid it is unlikely to happen soon in the “capitale des Gaules” (Lyon).


Ten months after the last Paris concert, the Lille concert was quite similar. A club type of place, as in Lyon, which was full with a new younger audience compared to the pre YouTube/mp3 generation which composed Jonathan’s audience usually.The playlist was roughly the same (though he did not sing “You can have a cellphone”) as last year, no new title, but as in Lyon the last encore was a short a cappella rendition of Charles Trenet’s “Coin de la rue” and it was very emotional.

Jonathan and Tommy’s performance was really good but the concert was disturbed by a couple of characters who spoilt a bit the show.


What JC told me reminded me of the infamous "ring of fire for Sweden" episode during the London December 1989 concert (hello Bob!).

Friday, March 20

So many videos...

Because apparently that's what you do in Mallorca. That's where all of these come from.

Jonathan having a tiny dance extravaganza.

Everyone's favorite earworm, Egyptian Reggae. I swear, I think about this song once, I have it stuck in my head all day.

Vampiresada! I know, I know, but I love it.

And to all of you going for the Jonathan Richman experience in Lille tonight (and, if my concept of French time is right, very soon) enjoy yourselves!! Bon weekend!

Thursday, March 19

Tribute Song!

Fort Lauderdalian band The Technicolor Gramaphone shot me an email,Jonathan Richman 2 2002 06.29 telling me they had a song about Jonathan on their new album. I of course was happy to share it with the group here.

They have it posted on their myspace, available here. Thanks for the share, guys!

photo is by maclown

This is the French week...

As Jonathan is doing " his grand tour" of France this week, it seems fair enough to share some chronicles from his devoted French fans as Chimaerandi started in the previous mail.

Our esteemed friend JC Brochard, sometimes contributor to the JojoBlog in the past, is on his own BLog reviewing records which remind him of periods of his life. It is always bringing back lost memories to the reader. It is witty and also funny but often quite fascinating.

Recently JC found this, a rare copy of the "Lydia" single. It is of course for him a way to speak again about Jonathan, JC is a die hard fan, he starts speaking about this single, about Jonathan current tour and give us also some pieces of news he has picked up on the web (Vic Chestnutt will release two new CDs soon, one of which being recorded with Jonathan and Tommy). I encourage you to read the full chronicle, you will also get there a link to listen to the original 1956 "Lydia" by Lewis Lymon and the Teenchords here.
It is written in French, French week oblige !
Just to give you some impressions and to illustrate, I am translating below the ending sentences :

...As Beserkley had probably run out of studio or live leftovers, the B side (of the Lydia single) is an "oldie" recorded three years before on the 1st LP (Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers). And, "Important in your life" is indeed the jewel on that record. The subject as well as the sound are very close to "Back in your life" and more generally to the eponymous album. Finger snapping, hand clapping, briliant harmonies, light singing, guitars, bass and drums playing in unison: everything is perfect in this very easy going love song:

Darling, tell me

Tell me you love me

I'd have to hear how I'm important

In your life

Tell me I'm important in your life.

-Merci JC-

Wednesday, March 18

My French is abysmal, so forgive me

I found a little reviewlet from Lyon, courtesy of Faire face à la souffrance et Avancer. For those of you with French skills:

L'âme vagandonde de Jonathan a tôt pris les chemins de traverse. Sa carrière de star s'est arrêtée le jour où sa maison de disque voulu lui imposer sa playlist de concert. Jonathan a pris sa guitare et s'est dirigé vers la station des bus Greyhound la plus proche.
Jonathan Richman en Barcelona
Ce soir JoJo se tient en scène avec son fidèle batteur Tommy et sa guitare espagnole. Nous sommes en retard - mon dernier client a quitté le cabinet à 20:30. Jonathan a les traits tirés. Il se lance dans When we refuse to suffer, when we refuse to feel. Il le chante même en français : Quand nous refusons de souffrir - pas d'émotion et pas de vie! Droit au coeur.
Ensuite il chante Pablo Picasso, les peintures de VanGogh du musée d'Amsterdam, et les anciens maitre Flamands No-one was like Vermeer. Alors qu' il chante les fissures des tableaux, l'âme insensible à la peinture que je suis entrevois enfin quelque chose... Ses chansons allient abstraction et simplicité entrainante. Le public les reprend en choeur (j'allais écrire en coeur).

You can read the rest ici.

Jonathan Richman en Barcelona

Pictures are actually from Barcelona and by alterna2.

Awesome pictures AND flickr is cooperating? I hear the horsemen.

Quique López is my new personal hero. Why, might you ask? He took some awesome photos at the Barcelona show, and I can actually figure out to post them!
Jonathan Richman @ Apolo
How about that? Also, secretly I have have loved the name Quique since I started taking Spanish in 8th grade. Moving on! Pictures! Fotos! Bilder! Photos! Etcetera!
Jonathan Richman @ Apolo

Jonathan Richman @ Apolo

You can see all of his delightful photos aquí.

Tuesday, March 17

Moving east to France, looking back at Spain

Jonathan is in France this week, but we're still coming off the Spanish goodies of last week. For our Spanish-speaking friends, there's this little review over at Oficionats, which has maybe one of my favorite titles, "Love You Like a Richman":

Lo de la Sala Apolo fue un concierto más optimista que óptimo. Asistir a un concierto de Jonathan Richman es siempre una inyección de buen humor y de buena salud –el estado de forma del de Massachussets sigue siendo muy satisfactorio; lo demostró haciendo sus típicos bailoteos y malabarismos con guitarra en mano y pidiendo al público que no fumara para que sus cuerdas vocales no sufrieran tanto-.

La gente le hizo caso y el humo se esfumó. Y es que Jonathan Richman debería llevar pantalones de recambio en los conciertos porque nadie como él se mete tan bien al público en el bolsillo. Otro momento de conexión fue cuando un grito espontáneo de un asistente pidiendo el tema “Pablo Picasso” provocó un inmediato “OK” por parte de Richman con la posterior interpretación del clásico homenaje al pintor.

You can read the rest here.

And then there is a video of Jonathan doing "Vampiresa mujer" in Barcelona. The video quality is not the best ever, but I just like hearing this song done live. I like this song enough that when I still taught Spanish lab, my students always ended up getting it stuck in their heads. Hey, maybe someday they'll end up having to ask if someone does ritual sacrifice. And then won't they be glad I taught them!

Monday, March 16

Video from Spain! Rock on!

Now that I am back from my magical Spring Break adventure, I bring you goodies from the concerts of España.

Here's Jonathan doing "Pablo Picasso" at the Teatro Lloseta.

And here's the whole opening of his show in Barcelona:

There are pictures as well, but flickr is being a pain, so I will just offer you links. Pictures as done by Joan R. Bellido and elchicodelaleche

Enjoy your day, fellow Jonathan fans near and far!

Murcia, 14th March 09

-Maestro de la luz, se puede haber un poquito en el público también?
Something like: “Master of lights, Can have the audience a little bit (of light) too?”

That was the beginning last Saturday at Auditorio Victor Villegas in Murcia, not fully completed, but with a devoted audience clapping their hands and singing “Juanito, Juanito” in unison. It was a great show, almost completely in Spanish, with a lot of explanations and translations for every song.

Jonathan talked more and danced less in a very intimate show, far from the microphones and close to the audience, reaching to sit down at the border of the stage.

Oh! and we saw Tommy Larkins smiling once.

the set-list:

Egyptian Reggae
¿A qué venimos sino a caer?
In Che Mondo Viviamo
Because Her Beauty Is Raw and Wild
Des printemps des amoreux est venue
I was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar
No One Was Like Vermeer
Springtime in New York
Es Como el Pan
This Romance Will be Different for Me
Cosi Veloce
You Can Have a Cell Phone That’s Okay but not Me
Here It Is (Leonard Cohen )
Yo tengo Una novia
Vampiresa Mujer
Ha Muerto la Rosa

Sorry!, No photos. It was strictly forbidden. If someone have it, please write here!

Sunday, March 15

Jens Lekman

This is an old review, but interesting nonetheless....
...Like Jonathan Richman, Jens Lekman is a doe eyed and baritone voiced songwriter who travels the world singing simple, unaffected songs about universal experiences. And like Richman, he writes some of the purest, most genuine music ever recorded.

But where Richman relies on just a primitive guitar drum setup to share his vision in concert, Lekman aims for something grander...


we'll spill things, and we care

Susanne Piesker 2008 by Astrid Koniarski
Susanne Piesker 2008 by Astrid Koniarski

The darkly ethereal and talented Susanne Piesker (now without the z in her name!) is again opening for Jonathan Richman and Tommy Larkins in France and Germany this tour. You can listen to her and see the dates on her website and Myspace page. She performed the haunting dissonant piano part (a first for Jonathan's recordings as far as I know) (besides toy piano early-eighties Modern Lovers anyway) in "Our Party Will Be on the Beach Tonight" on last year's Because Her Beauty is Raw and Wild.

Susanne had kindly written and then she wrote again, concerned her email had gone awry because I didn't respond. I apologize to her. I need to take this opportunity to apologize to all who've tried to correspond and received no reply—everyone. I've not personally kept in touch with anyone. I have been unable, although it's not for lack of interest. It's been my good fortune to meet quite a few Jojoblog readers in person over the years and those who have met me will understand I have health struggles that are sometimes better, sometimes worse, and sometimes simply overwhelming. It is inexcusable that I let my email inbox grow to such a monstrous pile but it is that and again I am so sorry for losing control over it and all the things that tried to bloom only to fade away. I've been in sort of a no-man's-land where time has jumped ahead all of a sudden in a startling way.

Last October (to me it seems last week! I saw Jonathan in Charlottesville! I missed the show! I tried to see Jonathan in New York City! I missed the show! Arrgh!) our delightful Chimaerandi agreed to put on the editor's hat of Jojoblog for which I will speak for all in saying we're truly and forever grateful to her for coming on in such a spirited way in emergency mode with no roadmap or navigator. She is a courageous woman and I'm proud to call her my friend. I should have welcomed her on the blog with a fancy post but was unable. I know you all join me in applauding her splendid efforts, as well as those of the great team of admins Jojoblog has accumulated, and all the faithful readers. There have been many many wonderful posts and comments, and now with the tour in Europe we are so fortunate to have Alberto, Patrick, Jacques, and Bob on the scene.

Jojoblog was envisioned to be a team blog, a running conversation and show-n-tell. If you're on the team and wish to post something, please do. If you're not on the team and want to be, just let one of the admins know and you'll get an invite. It's relaxed and loose and friendly. It's not a strictly perfect way for fans of Jonathan Richman to reach out and spark like-minded souls, but it's a pretty good way because of the way Jojofans are. They care! Thank you all for that!

Monday, March 9

Madrid, 7th March 2009

At the beginning of the European tour, two sings were at the door of the Neu! Club. “Smoking strictly forbidden by artist request“, which made that all the smokers went to the bathrooms for a quick puff during the show. And surprisingly, a “Sold Out” sign. This is the first time that I go to a Jonathan show in Spain and there aren’t tickets. Maybe three years without a show in Madrid it’s too much time, or perhaps his performance at Primavera Sound Festival and M80 Radio have brought a new (and younger) audience to his shows.
The show was great, even when he didn’t talk as much as he used to do. But instead, he did a lot of dancing. And even attended requests, which is very unusual
My favourite part of the show, a new song called “My affected accent”. The lyrics are something like this:

In High School I was such a brat
I spoke with an accent I didn’t have
I borrowed from this, and I borrowed from that
To make my affected accent,
His affected accent

Such a brat, such a brat

I criticized this, and I criticized that
I borrowed accents from the TV set
To make my affected accent,
His affected accent

I had a fake professor
I talked about subjects I don’t know
My affected accent,
His affected accent

The set-list:

No One Was Like Vermeer
In Che Mondo Viviamo
Egyptian Reggae
Es Como el Pan
You Can Have a Cell Phone That’s Okay but not Me
Cosi Veloce
Pablo Picasso
Because Her Beauty is Raw and Wild
Vampire Girl / Vampiresa Mujer
Springtime in New York
When We Refuse To Suffer
Her Mystery Not of High Heels and Eye Shadow
Take Me To The Plaza
Les Etoiles
My Affected Accent
Let Her Go Into The Darkness
(speaking in Spanish, Italian and Hebrew)
My Baby Love Love Loves me

Maybe a walk home from Natick High School

P.S. At dimeadozen, there is an interview from March 5th in Radio3 (Thanks to orereta!)

Friday, March 6

Conan O'Brien is truly awesome

Conan had Jonathan on what, 4 times? 5? I can't remember exactly, but either way, it makes Conan even more worthy of praise. And I loved him already. This clip is from 1993, with Jonathan performing "Vampire Girl", and then a little interview afterwards. Enjoy!

Conan should really have Jonathan on again, I feel.

Thursday, March 5

¿A qué venimos sino a caer?

In the back cover of Munster records’ ¿A qué venimos sino a caer? Jonathan writes some lines about the origin of this record and some of the songs.

Jonathan says that Javier Hernandez (tour manager of Bizzproducciones) had the idea of making this record because in Spain it’s not easy to find his records in the stores. This is a collection of 12 songs recorded from 2003 to 2007 in two different places (San Francisco and Tarifa). Besides, Jonathan does an adaptation of “La canción del pirata” from José de Espronceda (Spanish romantic poet of the 19th century). He wrote a poem about the atmosphere of the Tarifa recording studio located in the Strait of Gibraltar and very close to Africa.

Jonathan also says that he wrote the lyrics of “A que venimos sino a caer” in paper serviettes in Madrid at Plaza de Santa Ana’s coffee bars. Like “This romance will be different”, and “Silence alors silence”. And the song “Es como el pan” was an idea to help him to improvise during the show at Barcelona in 2006 with the singers Muchachito Bombo Infierno, and Kiko Veneno.

Finally, Jonathan says that during a visit to a small village in California, he found a Mexican book entitled “Hasta el infinito”, where he took some ideas for the songs “El joven se estremece” and “Ha muerto la rosa”.

Two videos of that show with Kiko and Muchachito:


Tuesday, March 3

What's on? Jonathan's on!

I squealed a little bit when I found this, because I had seen a tiny, tiny clipping of it on Myspace many eons ago. It's an interview from 1978, on a show called, apparently, "What's On". We find out that Jonathan shares my love of William Blake, and likes when he doesn't have to use a P.A.

God, he's adorable. God bless chatham43 for finding and posting this.