Thursday, December 15

2012 UK and Europe dates updated

Jonathan Richman ©Nathan Connelly via NGCCartoons All Rights Reserved

The tour will go continental in March. Please let us know if you come across other dates. Thanks!

(Previously in UK)

Sun 4 Mar Essen, Germany Grend (tix)

Tue 6 Mar Frankfurt, Germany Sinkkasten Arts Club (tix- no info)

ALSO IN ITALY (info courtesy Alberto via Bob in comments, venues unknown):


10 MARZO 2012 - NAPOLI

11 MARZO 2012 - ROMA



15 MARZO 2012 - MODENA

Sun 18 Mar Murcia, Spain sala 12 y medio (no info)

Mon 26 Mar Feyzin, France L'Epicerie Moderne (tix) w/ Zak Laughed

Thu 29 Mar Paris, France La Flèche d'or (tix)

Confirm with venue before making travel plans

Thanks to Nathan Connelly for the use of the great cartoon!

Monday, December 12

Bohemia: Friday at The Smell in LA (9 Dec 2011)

Jonathan Richman with Tommy Larkins - 'Bohemia' via BLACKTENTPRESS

Elsewhere (Santa Ana), Todd A writes:

In what’s become an annual tradition, I went to see Jonathan Richman last Thursday night. This time, he was in the Constellation Room at the Galaxy Theater. (read more, great pics too)

Friday, December 9

the man does what he wants

jr_IMG_1748 ©2011 RosebudPenfold
image ©2011 RosebudPenfold

︙Sam Lefebvre at SF Weekly on Wednesday's show at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco:

Indeed, when he played "Old World," a cut from the first Modern Lovers LP, it was straight-ahead, but inflected with the nervous and emotive vocal style cultivated on recent records. Only half the song was actually performed: it ended abruptly, and it was difficult to tell whether that was intentional or not. But Richman gracefully began a new tune immediately. The man does what he wants. (read more)

Sex Pistols – Roadrunner via geminiLIZ

︙Sean J. O'Connell at OC Weekly on Thursday's show at the Galaxy Theatre in Santa Ana:

Johnny Rotten once told Spin magazine that he "hates all music." "Not one song?" asked the interviewer. "Oh yeah," he responded. "'Roadrunner' by the Modern Lovers." How's that for an endorsement? (Read more)

Old World

Tuesday, November 29

next week in London: an evening with The Modern Ovens, rock food, and avian sex

The Modern Ovens - 'Astral Plane' via AliceBarfield

If you're in USA West Coast next week, then of course you should see Jonathan Richman and Tommy Larkins at any of a number of places (see sidebar). But if you're in UK on the other side of the astral plane at that time, why not snag a ticket to see The Modern Ovens perform as well as experience an evening of erudition about bird love and learn about a worthy charity cookbook?

Via The Quietus: Monday, 5 December- Brighton-based British Sea Power's Jonathan Richman tribute group The Modern Ovens, Klüb Gütenberg at The Old Queen's Head, London (tix) (read more)

Astral Plane

"They sure sound like a HOT band!" - Jonathan Richman (via)

Tuesday, November 22

Jonathan Richman and Tommy Larkins 2012 UK tour dates

April 24, 2010- Buenos Aires, Argentina: the amazing painter-performance artist Malcolm Roxs with JONATHAN RICHMAN via DIARY OF DEMOLITION

Satisfied Mind

~~~~~~2012 UK~~~~~~

Please let us know if you find more tour dates!

Thu 23 Feb Bangor, Gwynedd UK Hendre Hall (tix)
Sat 25 Feb Queens Road, Leeds UK The Brudenell Social Club (tix)
Sun 26 Feb Liverpool UK The Kazimier (tix)
Tue 28 Feb Cardiff UK Clwb Ifor Bach (tix)
Wed 29 Feb Shepherds Bush, London UK Bush Hall (tix)
Thu 1 Mar Powis Square, London UK The Tabernacle (tix)
Fri 2 Mar Islington, London UK Union Chapel (tix)

Update: Europe (more dates anticipated)

Tue 6 Mar Frankfurt, Germany Sinkkasten Arts Club (tix- no info)
Mon 26 Mar Feyzin, France L'Epicerie Moderne (tix) w/ Zak Laughed
Thu 29 Mar Paris, France La Flèche d'or (tix)

Confirm with venue before making travel plans

Friday, November 4

faster miles an hour

Image: Rhythm & Pencil Vol.00000000000001

The Daily Guru rhapsodizes and expounds upon teenage Jonathan Richman's classic Modern Lovers song: The simple chord progression found on "Roadrunner" bears an uncanny resemblance to that of "Sister Ray" by The Velvet Underground, and yet Richman manages to give this arrangement a fresh kick, stripping it down to a more basic and powerful sound.  As the chords ring across the track, one can almost hear him "creating" the punk rock style that would explode a few years later, and in many ways, punk rock was never better or more pure than this single performance.

Read more on The Daily Guru

Roadrunner on Ramon's web site (note the updated URL- Ramon recently moved the entire (Unofficial) Jonathan Richman Chords page)

Fast-forward a few decades (oh my, where does the time go?) –

Of the more recent September 25, 2011 show in Portland, Oregon, Holly Homan writes: The final song, Sa Voix M’Atisse, also from his latest album, was sung entirely in French. But he didn’t leave the stage for long. He returned for an encore and began pointing out people in the audience and singing lines about them. “See that girl with the digital camera. I bet she knows how to go on the computer. All right. See the girl with the tattoos. I bet she knows how to grow organic corn. See the guy with the pork pie hat on. He left his camera out on the lawn. But it’s all right". This elicited enthusiastic cheers from the crowd.

Read more on East Portland Blog, great videos and pictures too

December 2011 Tour Dates

USA, West Coast

Fri 2 Dec Olympia WA Olympia Film Society (tix)
Sat 3 Dec Eugene OR Sam Bonds Garage (tix- no info)
Mon 5 Dec San Francisco CA Great American Music Hall (tix) with The Sea and Cake and Lia Ices
Tue 6 Dec Sacramento CA Blue Lamp (tix- no info)
Wed 7 Dec San Francisco CA Great American Music Hall (tix)
Thu 8 Dec Santa Ana CA Galaxy Theatre: The Constellation Room (tix)
Fri 9 Dec Los Angeles CA The Smell (tix only available at door on night of show)
Sat 10 Dec Visalla CA Cellar Door (tix)
Sun 11 Dec Santa Cruz CA The Catalyst Atrium (tix)

Confirm with venue before making travel plans

Tuesday, November 1

the door to Bohemia

Bohemia by Jonathan Richman at The Haunt in Ithaca, 24 October 2011, via Armin Heurich

Armin Heurich says Jonathan hasn't been to Ithaca, NY in 19 years. This was the last song of the show.

My parents didn’t stand in my way when I was 16 years old… They knew I had to find, they knew I was pining, for the door to the art world… They knew that I had to find the door — to Bohemia.  I had my pretentious artwork, but my parents didn’t laugh too bad… I needed to be reined in once in a while.  But they didn’t have a hateful vibe, they didn’t demean.  In fact, I’m grateful because they didn’t… stand in my way, when I was — standin’ in Harvard Square, pretentious artwork in my hand.  The New York hipsters saw me standin’ there, and they knew this young man was looking for the door…. To Bohemia.  There I was standin’ in the square, pretentious artwork folio, but they knew I had to find the way…. To Bohemia.

I was bratty.  Bratty… but sincere.  Yes, I was bratty… But I had to know, they knew I had to go.  Pretentious Artwork Folio, it showed me the door, to Bohemia.  High school was night.  But they showed me light.  When they helped me find the door to Bohemia.  Desperate, desperate, hook or crook… I searched for Bohemia in the high school dusty art book.  Faintly, faintly, conjured I — I searched for Bohemia in the darkened Boston sky.  And once they saw that I wouldn’t back down, well they showed me the door to Bohemia.

Bohemia transcript from Moonraking- read Moonraking's account and thoughts of the show at The Bishop in Bloomington last Friday (28 October, 2011), including his reading of the song "Bohemia" here

I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar at The Haunt in Ithaca, 24 October 2011, via Armin Heurich

• shaka tron had a memorable encounter with Jonathan at The Bell House in Brooklyn (22 October, 2011).

• Jonathan helped mop up the place at The Union in Athens, Ohio on 26 October, 2011

Friday, October 28

naked with a stone

Jello Biafra, Jonathan Richman, Mark Kozelek, Chuck Prophet via a2unesgrl

West Memphis Three World Awareness Day 2006 in San Francisco

Jonathan sings at 5:12:

Well when David fought Goliath
There on the valley floor
That gave hope to the underdog
Ooh but David fought Goliath
With a stone

Ooh David fought Goliath
Naked with a stone
Power of the Spirit
Over the bone

King Saul
(What about King Saul?
What was his position on this subject?)
King Saul said you can't fight him
He's a giant, don't you see?

Look, I've already fought a lion
This Goliath just don't scare me

Ooh David fought Goliath with a stone

Ooh David fought Goliath
Naked with a stone
Power to the Spirit over the bone

Awright what did Goliath think about all this?
Goliath laughed at David
What? Have they sent a boy with sling?
Come closer to me youngster
Let the vultures laugh and sing

Ooh but David fought Goliath with a stone

Ooh David fought Goliath
Naked with a stone
Power to the spirit
Over the bone

The West Memphis Three were released 19 August 2011 after 18 years of imprisonment.

Background: West Memphis Three on Wikipedia

Current status and news updates: Free the West Memphis Three

Skeleton Key Art Auction via a2unesgrl

Michale Graves (from the Misfits) sings to a slideshow of Damien Echols' Skeleton Key Art Auction at Minna Gallery in San Francisco; Music by Michale Graves, Lyrics by Damien Echols

Skeleton Key Art

Damien Echols was interviewed on Death Row by telephone about his Zen Buddhism practice by Parabola Magazine in The Justice Issue in Winter 2008:

The days thirty-three-year-old Damien Echols spends alone in a nine-by-twelve-foot concrete cell are not unreal. But how he spends his time is strictly up to him. “You can either turn it into a monastery and or it will turn itself into hell,” he tells me by phone. Intended for terrorists, spies, and other prisoners deemed extremely dangerous, especially those connected to groups, super-maximum prisons keep inmates in isolation and under constant surveillance, and have earned condemnations for inhumanity from a United Nations team and other groups. (read more)

Previously on Jojoblog: Jonathan and Damien

Update 2016: The old has been merged with

Hello Jonathan Richmanians,

If you are interested in learning more about Jonathan here is a site that me and a buddy made:

We took the text on Bob's Nerdy Webpage and put it in a database and wrote a webpage interface to it.

For example...did you know that three songs off of "Rockin' and Romance" were first played in the 70's? You can search things like that by going to the songs list.

Or...did you know that the last year "Affection" was played regularly was 1988?

Of course I don't stand for things like ad's or anything to do with $, so feel free to click anywhere.

Finally...Thanks to Bob for having the original site with an incredible amount of data to use!

Friday, October 14

gravitas and tenderness in Saskatoon

The highlight of the set was a new tune that must have stretched out at least eight minutes, a delightful story-song about how he used to frequent Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts while growing up. Sometimes his parents dropped him off, sometimes he would take the trolley, but regardless the hippies and artsy-types that held a kind of arts-based communion there during the 60s and 70s would always help “Show (him) the door to Bohemia.” It’s remarkably touching, honest, and illuminating; Richman admits to creating some pretentious poetry and also makes it easy to see where his journey to becoming the songwriter he is now and always has been really began. It’s amazing to think it took him this long to write it. To my knowledge it hasn’t been recorded yet and part of me hopes it won’t be. It seems like a song meant for the intimacy of live performance, a real piece of the artist’s soul that couldn’t possibly carry the same gravitas and tenderness it did on this particular Saturday night if it was shackled to tape for eternity.

-- Pat (Sound Salvation Army) read the rest

bright ideas

'They're Not Trying on the Dancefloor' covers another of Richman's over-riding concerns - that people are self-conscious when dancing or watching bands... It's a real pretty song too. 'At Night' is full of the beauty and joy of staying up late on a summer night, complete with thin Hawaiian-inspired guitar and slightly odd turns of phrase ("When the daylight ain't but the planets are/ the door to the arcane is thrust ajar!"). It's one of the absolute best Richman songs out there.

-- Al Brown "Lost Classics: Having a Party with Jonathan" (Soundblab) read more

Thanks keepsakes!

At Night

Saturday, October 8

1983: Jonathan Richman/John Cale Interviewed- Vincent Van Gogh, and other things

via nirta26

1983 Interview with Jonathan Richman and John Cale where Jonathan sings a great version of Vincent Van Gogh in the TV studio. They were on an Australian tour at the time.

I hope everyone has had time now to read through and listen to NuGrape's Song Focus: Affection post (below). If you haven't, please do so when you have a chance, since it will remain on the blog indefinitely. I think it's a wonderful way to listen to a song, to watch it grow and change and yet still somehow retain its essential nature. When you go to a museum and look at a Van Gogh, is the experience more meaningful to you because you know a bit about the work beforehand? Because your understanding has been enriched by background? Well maybe yes and maybe no. There's not really a one size fits all answer to that. Some people just naturally engage with things that speak to them on a personal level- and find it's a pleasure to find others who can relate. And some things take time to mature, like taste, and wine, and friendship, and well.... affection.

Some years ago an attempt was made to start a song club, which began as a discussion on the old mailing list and then migrated over to Jojoblog- the first and only song so far in that song club was 'I'm Straight' (read here).

Here is a video from the mid-80s After Dark show in Australia (where would we be without YouTube? I remember when this blog was first started and we had a discussion about how could we possibly incorporate video which we really really wanted to do but couldn't figure out how? And then as if by magic suddenly there was YouTube). Anyway as far as I know Jonathan only returned to Australia once after this tour- I wonder why?

In more recent news, the current North American tour is going well and I hope some of you will be able to see it. It seems that Fender Stratocaster is back on the setlist and I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar has an added story element. Also phone videos are being discouraged according to this review from Toronto, so please respect that. Don't distress the artist!

Thursday, September 8

Song Focus: Affection

"Sometimes it's hard for a man to just hug a woman
She's gonna think you want her to sleep with you
And it's even harder for a woman to just touch a man
Cause he'll misunderstand the same way too"

When you go to a Jonathan Richman concert there are always a few classics that have at least a 50% or higher chance of being played (Lesbian Bar, Egyptian Reggae, etc).
One song, Affection, certainly fell under that category starting in the late 70's and went strong all the way up to the late 80's.
He's played it a bunch of times after that but it seems to have ceased being a staple of a show.
Still, Affection has had a remarkably long run compared to trillions of other JR songs that would only last a few years, or even weeks.

Affection is almost the quintessential Jonathan Richman song.
- It's got a message. A strong, emotional message. One that would make some cringe in embarrassment, and others wide-eyed in awe.
- You are taken through a roller coaster of emotions without feeling like someone forced you - you willingly surrender to Jonathan!
- It's got funny spoken word parts that serve at least two big purposes:
1. It further explores the idea at hand to the people who've already heard the song and are honing their understanding of the message.
2. And it keeps the first-time listeners incredibly entertained at the wacky style of this bizarre troubadour.

Affection has gone through several stages throughout its 30-plus(!) year lifetime.
It started in (at least) 1978 as a more stream-of-consciousness thing. Something that would be enjoyable, but didn't really hammer home the message in a lucid way that would come later.
By the time 1979 came around it had developed more-or-less into the "classic" version, with the "chorus" which is really just a more structured verse!
Somewhere along the line he added a funny but sobering little "chat" with the audience about how even the ones who say they love affection might be hiding their insecurities more than they let on. This section was slowly retired eventually.
Throughout the 80's the song was honed and went through several different Modern Lovers lineups and was clearly a fan-favorite.
By the 90's it was usually shorter, more experimental, and when he plays it now (as of a 2011 show) it's kind of been given the "Old World" treatment.

So what is the actual message of the song?
I am no Richman, and the best I can do is offer my personal favorite versions with small descriptions.
Let Jonathan show his wisdom through his incredible skill of memorizing you in performance.

Enjoy, and don't chicken out!

1978-03-03 Chicago, The Quiet Knight
With Asa, D Sharp, and Leroy Radcliff
He starts this song by stating that the song is called "simply Affection"
The crowd doesn't really know what to make of it at first, but he wins them over when he get's real emotional!
"I need to be touched during the day or there's a loneliness at night"
"I don't need sex right now. I just need simple affection"

1979-07-13 Chicago, USA Gaspars
Follows the typical early structure
Still clinging to the little instrumental bit (mimics the guitar lick with his voice). That part get's lost as the song evolves.
Get's heckled a little...handles it like a pro!

1981-02-20 Mt. Vernon, NY Left Bank
With Ellie and the early 80's Modern Lovers

March 1981 Detroit, MI Bookies
With early 80's Modern Lover's and Rockin' Robins
Great piano presence (Ken Forfia)
Jonathan sounds exasperated

1983-10-09 Bloomfield, NJ The Dirt Club
Early 80's Modern Lover's and Carla on Sax!
Has IMO the best explanation of the idea behind the song
Recording unfortunately cuts off, but there's enough to get the idea

1986-09-08 Bloomington, IN Second Story
If you only listen to one version...Listen to this one!
With classic mid-80's Modern Lovers.
My favorite version of the song
Masterful execution!
Lot's of ad-libs

1994-10-14 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue
Early sighting of Tommy!
Song has matured a bunch by this time

2011-02-25 Chapel Hill, NC Local 506
With Tommy
Very 2011-ish version
Set the mood for the show (I was there, and recorded this!)

Thursday, September 1

our time is now


Jonathan had such a voice, such a way round a low key melody and turn of emotive phrase. When he sang, it seemed like you could hear the tinkle of magic from somewhere outside the grimy windows and grey skies, the promise that not all pop stars were arrogant, self-loving bores. When he sang, it suddenly made it OK to be male and sensitive. It was fine to find beauty in the insignificant details.

Music critic Everett True on Collapse Board with a collection of his writings on Jonathan Richman:

Read Jonathan Richman | COLLAPSE

Everett True has posted a lovely early demo of Jonathan Richman's 'Morning Of Our Lives' here:

Listen to 'Morning of Our Lives'

Ramon's Morning of Our Lives page

Wednesday, August 31

Jonathan Richman & Tommy Larkins: Sept-Oct 2011 USA/Canada Tour Dates


Les Gripkey has been mailing out these handy postcards for years and years now, taking over from Dan Scanlan who used to mail them in the olden days from Grass Valley, California. Les Gripkey is also the only authorized official merchandise vendor for Jonathan Richman. If you ever see a merchandise table set up at a Jonathan Richman performance, most likely you will also see Les there!

Take a look at his website and see if you need anything:

Jonathan Richman Merchandise

To get on the snail mail list to find out when Jonathan Richman and Tommy Larkins are coming near your town, send a letter with your neatly printed or typed address to:

PO BOX 8024

September-October 2011 North USA and Canada Tour Dates

Sat 24 Sep Portland OR Aladdin Theater (tix)
Sun 25 Sep Seattle WA Tractor Tavern (tix)
Mon 26 Sep Seattle WA Tractor Tavern (tix)
Tue 27 Sep Vancouver BC Biltmore Cabaret (tix)
Thu 29 Sep Edmonton AB The Starlite Room (tix)
Fri 30 Sep Calgary AB (Broken City tix)

Sat 1 Oct Saskatoon SK The Refinery (tix)
Sun 2 Oct Winnipeg MB The Pyramid Cabaret (tix)
Wed 5 Oct Toronto ON Revival (tix)
Thu 6 Oct Toronto ON Revival (tix)
Fri 7 Oct Ottawa ON Zaphod Beeblebrox (tix)
Sat 8 Oct Montreal QC La Sala Rossa (tix)
Wed 12 Oct Portland ME SPACE Gallery (tix)
Thu 13 Oct Cambridge MA Middle East Upstairs (tix)
Fri 14 Oct Cambridge MA Middle East Upstairs (tix)
Sat 15 Oct Cambridge MA Middle East Upstairs (tix)
Sun 16 Oct Providence RI Firehouse 13 (tix)
Wed 19 Oct Fairfield CT Fairfield Theatre Company on StageOne (tix) with Hilton Valentine
Thu 20 Oct Baltimore MD The Patterson (tix) with Billy Colucci
Fri 21 Oct Brooklyn NY The Bell House (tix)
Sat 22 Oct Brooklyn NY The Bell House (tix)
Mon 24 Oct Ithaca NY The Haunt (tix)
Tue 25 Oct Youngstown OH Cedar's Lounge (tix)
Wed 26 Oct Athens OH The Union (tix- no info)
Thu 27 Oct Columbus OH The Summit (tix)
Fri 28 Oct Bloomington IN The Bishop (tix)

Thursday, August 11

My favourite album: The Modern Lovers – The Modern Lovers

The Guardian and Observer (UK newspapers) have a series of My Favourite albums. Today Michael Hann (the Guardian Film & Music editor) chooses "The Modern Lovers" - you can read it here

Friday, July 22

Jonathan at the Make Out Room

Hello Jojo-ians,

Checkout our hero playing some cool covers at the Makeout Room (in San Francisco) on July 13:

He plays Day-O (Trad. Jamaican Song), Chain Gang (Sam Cooke), and I Was Dancin' in the Lesbian Bar

Thank you Sarah, Alberto, and Jerry for pointing me to this video!

Monday, June 20

tour 2011 halfway through the year

1978's I'm a Little Airplane!

Happy Summer Solstice dear Jojofans! It's hard to believe the year is half over. I'm posting the earlier tour information here for the archive- next up are 3 shows at the Make-Out Room in San Francisco in July. Be there if you can and tell us all about it!

Tue, Wed, Thu 12-14 July San Francisco Make-Out Room

Remember: Jonathan Richman has no involvement with Jojoblog or with any other internet site.


Mon 7 Feb Albuquerque NM (Launchpad)(tix)
Tue 8 Feb Marfa TX (Marfa Book Company)(tix (call venue)
Wed 9 Feb Austin TX (Hole in the Wall)
Thu 10 Feb Austin TX (Hole in the Wall)
Fri 11 Feb Austin TX (Continental Club)
Sat 12 Feb Austin TX (Continental Club)
Sun 13 Feb Denton TX (Rubber Gloves)
Tue 15 Feb Springfield MO (Outland Ballroom)
Wed 16 Feb St. Louis MO (Off Broadway)(tix)
Thu 17 Feb Huntsville AL (Flying Monkey Arts Center)
Fri 18 Feb Atlanta GA (Highland Inn)(tix)
Sat 19 Feb Atlanta GA (Highland Inn)(tix)
Sun 20 Feb Tallahassee FL (Club Downunder)
Tue 22 Feb Gainesville FL (Common Grounds)(tix)
Wed 23 Feb Savannah GA (The Wormhole)(tix)
Thu 24 Feb Asheville NC (Grey Eagle)(tix)
Fri 25 Feb Chapel Hill NC (Local 506)(tix)
Sat 26 Feb Washington DC (9:30 Club)(tix)
Sun 27 Feb Baltimore MD (The 8X10)(tix)
Tue 01 Mar Philadelphia PA (First Unitarian Church)(tix)
Wed 02 Mar Northampton MA (Pearl Street Downstairs)(tix)
Thu 03 Mar Somerville MA (Somerville Theatre)(tix)
Fri 04 Mar Rochester NY (Bug Jar)(tix)
Sat 05 Mar Buffalo NY (Mohawk Place)
Sun 06 Mar Cleveland OH (Beachland Ballroom)(tix)
Tue 08 Mar Pittsburgh PA (Mr. Small's Theatre)(tix)
Wed 09 Mar Newport KY (Southgate House)(tix)
Thu 10 Mar Ferndale MI (Magic Bag)
Fri 11 Mar Chicago IL (Metro)(tix)
Sun 1 May Salt Lake City UT Kilby Court
Wed 4 May Lincoln NE Knickerbockers
Fri 6 May Minneapolis MN Triple Rock Social Club
Sun 8 May Chicago IL The Hideout
Tues 10 May Indianapolis IN Radio Radio
Wed 11 May Louisville KY Zanzabar
Thu 12 May Louisville KY Zanzabar
Fri 13 May Nashville TN The 5 Spot
Sat 14 May Nashville TN The 5 Spot
Sun 15 May Memphis TN Hi-Tone Cafe

Friday, June 10

Baby Jonathan!

Can I just say it blows my mind that he's 60? God, the older I get, the quicker time goes by. ( I also get stupider as I age, but that's another topic for another day.)

Monday, May 16

Happy Birthday Jonathan Richman!

Happy birthday to Jonathan Richman, 60 years young today! ♡♡♡ We love you!!!

Jonathan Richman at the Hideout (Chicago, May 8), uploaded by flaiztube

Jonathan Richman in Nashville

Hello Jojo-ites,

I just got back from a road trip to see the great troubadour, Jonathan Richman.

He played two shows in Nashville, Tennessee at a place called “The 5 Spot”. I liked this venue. It was very small and the stage was less than a foot high. There seemed to be college-age people running everything and it was very appropriate for a Jonathan Richman show.

1st night:
To my surprise, only about 30 people attended this show. There were people seated at a table in the middle of the venue and some other people to the side. Throughout the show Jonathan would walk through us while playing his guitar as if he was feeling us out. He would frequently hop off the stage so that he would be right next to us and dance in the way only he can.
He played the song “Bohemia” which was a huge highlight for me. After the intermission I told him how much I loved that song and he mentioned how sometimes his Dad would drop him off at Harvard Square and other times he would “take the trolley or somethin’”.
I also asked him about a band called “The Shaggs” (there is a cd of theirs that has a quote from him on the back). He said he loves the Shaggs and they are “real”.

2nd night:
This was a complete change from the previous night’s show. This time people came out and the place was much better attended. There was a slightly rowdy element to the crowd but instead of distracting it actually enhanced the experience because they were clearly into the show and participated warmly.

The absolute pinnacle of the show was another version of “Bohemia” but with a very different feel than with other versions. When he started the song he had the complete attention of the crowd, so much that he quickly started to get them to sing along with him. Most of them hadn’t even heard the song before but after only a few minutes the entire venue was doing a sort of call-and-response bit with him! There were many choruses and at the end there was the kind of applause that tells you that everyone had just gotten something very special from that song.

He closed the set with an up-beat version of “He Gave Us the Wine to Taste” that was continued for a sort of half-encore.

The one thing that was in common for both shows was the connection that the audience gained with Jonathan. Whether it was the quiet, subdued first night, or the rowdy, triumphant second night, one could not help to feel that they knew Jonathan on a first-name basis!


Because Her Beauty Is Raw and Wild
In Che Mondo Viviamo
O Moon, Queen of Night On Earth
Egyptian Reggae
I Was the One She Came For
Le Printemps Des Amoreux Est Venu
No One Was Like Vermeer
Italian Party Song?
Her Love Is From Somewhere Else
Let Her Go Into the Darkness
El Joven Se Estremece
That Summer Feeling
When We Refuse To Suffer
Keith Richards
Not So Much To Be Loved As To Love

No One Was Like Vermeer
Let Her Go Into the Darkness
Her Love Is From Somewhere Else
Come To Our Party? (hebrew)
If You Want To Leave Our Party Just Go
O Moon, Queen Of Night On Earth
Keith Richards
Because Her Beauty Is Raw and Wild
Take Me To the Plaza
These Bodies That Came To Cavort
Sa Voix M'Atisse
Vincent Van Gogh
I Was Dancin' in the Lesbian Bar
That Summer Feeling
When We Refuse to Suffer
My Baby Love Love Loves Me
He Gave Us the Wine to Taste

Saturday, April 9

Campfire Soul

I was listening to the excellent NPR Podcast "Playback" last night and was surprised to hear this interview with Jonathan Richman from 1986, right before "It's Time For" was released. Never heard the term "campfire soul" until this interview. 

I edited the rest of the podcast out. Of course this is Copyright National Public Radio....

Here's an Apple Lossless version, if you are into that sort of thing.

Friday, March 18

More Tour Dates!

Sun May 1 '11 (7:30pm) Salt Lake City, UT Kilby Court
Wed May 4 '11 (9pm) Lincoln, NE Knickerbockers
Thu May 5 '11 (9pm) Omaha, NE The Waiting Room
Fri May 6 '11 (9:30pm) Minneapolis, MN Triple Rock Social Club
Sat May 7 '11 (9pm) Madison, WI Orpheum Stage Door
Tue May 10 '11 (9pm) Indianapolis, IN Radio Radio
Wed May 11 '11 (9pm) Louisville, KY Zanzabar
Thu May 12 '11 (9pm) Louisville, KY Zanzabar
Fri May 13 '11 Nashville, TN The 5 Spot
Sat May 14 '11 Nashville, TN The 5 Spot
Sun May 15 '11 (9:30pm) Memphis, TN Hi-Tone Cafe
Tue Jul 12 '11 San Francisco, CA Make-Out Room
Wed Jul 13 '11 San Francisco, CA Make-Out Room
Thu Jul 14 '11 San Francisco, CA Make-Out Room

Sunday, February 27

Jonathan Richman in North Carolina

Hello Jojoblog,

I took a roadtrip across North Carolina to see Jonathan Richman play in Asheville and Chapel Hill.
Here's how the shows went.


Feb 24, 2011 Asheville, North Carolina at the "Grey Eagle"
Me and a friend got to this show real early, and I saw Jonathan setting up his stage setup.
After a while he walked over and we got a chance to chat a little. He was real nice and I asked
him about the song "Circle I". He said that the "I" part was some reference to how reggae artists always use that word in their songs.

I told him that I loved his new album(o moon) and he said that he and Tommy were always trying to reach a certain sound and he was happy with how the album turned out (seeming to indicate that with each passing album he is getting more and more satisified with the sound atmosphere).

The show itself was pure magic. It was more loose than other shows of his that I had attended with most songs having long drawn out intrumental sections or spoken word parts that Jonathan carefully ad-libbed.

The highlight for me was "Bohemia", a new song that was an 11 minute epic full of emotional twists and turns. At one point he said something like he was so pretentious during his Harvard Square days that he "even talked back to the Velvet Underground"!

During the song "Celestial" things got real delicate and soft and he used his sleigh bells to almost "bless" us with it's power! Every time I see him he has a new trick up his sleeve with his sleighbells and they are far more than any standard prop.

At the end of the show he said that he didn't want to leave us without a word about one of his favorite musicians and then ripped into a great version of Keith Richards that had such an unexpected false ending that Tommy had to go back to his drumkit to finish the song!

As the audience clapped for what (they thought) would be the last moments of the show he started directing "magic" at us again with his sleighbells and it almost sent a chill in the air! He then finished with an unaccompanied version of "Arrividerci Roma".

1. No One Was Like Vermeer
2. Bohemia
3. He Gave Us the Wine To Taste
4. El Joven se Estremece
5. Here It Is
6. Because Her Beauty Is Raw and Wild
7. Springtime in New York
8. My Affected Accent
9. Celestial
10. O Moon, Queen of Night On Earth
11. We'll Be the Noise, We'll Be the Scandal
12. Let Her Go Into the Darkness
13. Sa Voix M'Attise
14. Take Me To the Plaza
15. Her Love Is From Somewhere Else
16. Keith Richards
17. Her Mystery/I Was the One She Came For
18. Arrividerci Roma


Feb 25, 2011 Chapel Hill, North Carolina at the "Local 506"
This show was also great! A little more uppity than the previous show, but having mabey even more "sentimental" moments such as the opening dialogue for When we refuse to suffer" where he says that we were meant to "screw up" and if we didn't we would still be up there (points to the heavens).

When the show was about to start you could hear some clapping in the very back of the audience and then expand to the middle of the audience and finally to the front as Jonathan and Tommy waded their way to the stage.

Before Jonathan got to the stage a nice woman handed him a Valentine and he stopped for a moment to read it.

Jonathan instructed Tommy to start a beat while he got prepared to play. He then instantly started a short rendition of "Affection" which really started off a great feel for the night.

During one of the new songs "Her Love Is From Somewhere Else" he got the entire crowd to sing with him in a sortof call-and-response way. It was a great moment.

Another special moment was a point where the crowd was clapping along but starting to quiet down. When Tommy started into a drum solo Jonathan jumped down to the floor next to the audience and clapped along with us... needless to say it energized the entire venue's clapping!

When the show ended he put on his coat and put his guitar in his case and escaped via the back-door behind him. Me and my friends later saw him wandering around on the street near the venue and he told my friend that he really loses himself on stage and sometimes doesn't know how long he's been playing for.

It was sortof like he was looking for a plaza where "people stay up till 3am" and talk. His version
of "Take Me To the Plaza" was a real treat, and he prefaced a lot of lines as if he was talking to a
taxi driver, asking him to take him where the people are. He made it clear that he didn't want to use a map or a GPS system...he wanted to be told where to go like it was "1970 or somthin'"!

Just a great show, and it left me kindof speechless at how intimate it was.

1. drum intro
2. Affection
3. If You Want To Leave Our Party Just Go
4. Her Love Is From Somewhere Else
5. Egyptian Reggae
6. No One Was Like Vermeer
7. Let Her Go Into the Darkness
8. I Was the One She Came For
9. Dancing In the Moonlight
10. A Que Venimos Sino A Caer
11. My Baby Love Love Loves Me
12. When We Refuse To Suffer
13. Bohemia
14. I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar
15. Sa Voix M'Attise
16. It Was Time For Me To Be With Her
17. Take Me To the Plaza
18. O Moon Queen of Night On Earth
19. These Bodies That Came to Cavort
20. Because Her Beauty Is Raw and Wild

Saturday, February 26

Jonathan at Off Broadway

Two reviews for the price of one!

Starting off with Roy Kasten's poetic musing on Jonathan's set:

"There I was in Harvard Square," began Jonathan Richman at Off Broadway last night. There we were as well, a respectable crowd, paying our respects to one of the oddest, strangely charismatic performers in don't-call-it-rock-&-roll, bopping down the bizzaro, bohemian sidewalks with him.

Which you can read the rest of here, at Riverfront Times
And then slipping into Scott Allen's lengthier piece, which also includes in it a link to the video of Jonathan's 1978 interview:

Turning to his longtime drummer Tommy Larkins a few songs into the set, Richman had his own take on last night’s performance remarking, “Last night everything was real fast, tonight everything is kinda slow. What are you gonna do?” That statement set the tone for the evening as the intimate surroundings and exceptional sound of Off Broadway offered some great moments during the show.

You can read the rest of that here, at KDHX.

Photo is from Piera Peruvian

Tuesday, January 25

Jonathan Richman, man among gods

Sometimes I find something I really like. I have a deep appreciation for people that can express how they feel about Jonathan Richman, and more importantly, why. I mean, my explanations roughly all come down to: "Look at him! His shirt doesn't match his t-shirt and he looks like he needs a hug. AND NOW HE'S DANCING. HOW ARE YOU NOT IN LOVE?" While I am obviously truly articulate about my love for Jonathan Richman, at this moment I must hand the day (Actually, this was written in May, I just stumbled across it at work today) over to Matt at I'm a Little Teapot. His blog post/article about how Jonathan's humanity in an industry that tends to make people into the divine incarnate, at least in some people's minds, was in a word, awesome.

I'll shut up and just show you some choice bits.

Here's the thing about Jonathan of 2010. He has no Facebook page. There's no official MySpace. No Twitter Feed. He has no web site. There's a stub on the website of his "label", Vapor Records, which carefully points out Jonathan has nothing to do, at all, with the internet. At the concert, there's no
swag or souvenirs for sale - no t-shirts, no CDs, nothing to buy. What you get is the experience of Jonathan singing. I feel like such an...Ass-o, Fanboy that I am, when we started talking to him before the show. I asked him if I could take a picture of him with my son -- which he obliged, coming down off the stage -- Jonathan's response was "hey, do whatever you like." I awkwardly told him about my own Massachusetts roots as we both got tea. He said, "I'm from Natick." I paused, dorkily. "Um, I knew that!"
Jonathan looked at me and said, "How'd you know that?" Here's where my ugly past as a self-absorbed poseur, a reader of fan magazines and liner notes and self-described encyclopedias of rock and roll, a browser of Wikipedia, was shamefully exposed. The best I could do was to say um a couple of times and respond..."I'm psychic...?"

Read the rest over at I'm a Little Teapot! Speaking of choice bits, how awesome are those photos from napkinshoe? They've got a whole little gallery of photos from the Providence show. This is doubtless my favorite.

Thursday, January 20

Radio Video

This is a live recording that was re-aired on the radio, and recorded by a kind soul, then uploaded to Youtube. Ah, technology. I love the way he says "Pierre Cardin" in this recording, he sounds like people from my home state.