jonathan richman: is this guy a class fucking act or what?

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seriously...i was (only barely grudgingly) drug to see him tonite and frankly wasn't expecting much...yes, yes we all know he was one of the Touchstone Inventors of Punk Rock(TM 2002 The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame/Experience Music Project), right there alongside the Velvets and Iggy Stooge and David Bowie in his "homo from Aldebaran" (c. 1974 L. Bangs) phase...but, really, who gives a shit? yes, yes...one of the greatest songwriters of his generation (cf. "astral plane", or "pablo picasso", or really any damn modern lovers song) and yes he probably midwifed whatever this thing we call "indie" into existence as he was the guy more than any other who stripped rock of it's buck stud posturing and "urgggh i'muh gonnuh makeuh you muh woman toniiiite" blather and replaced it with pimply horny paens to the impossibility of true (puppy) wuv with that college chick at the art museum with the flat front brown skirt and knee high boots...yes, he locked into the primal harmony-of-the-spheres repetition which has driven the best pop music...but, really WHO FUCKING CARES?

the truth of the matter is that tonite he was something very different from any of that. sure the blank stare of barely supressed joy at the awww-shucks amazingness of getting paid to play this music remains, but the goon-mumble which pow-pow-powered "roadrunner" into infinity and beyond has grown into a sometimes marvellously rich, well, not croon exactly but it's as close as he's likely to get. there's some sprightly tub thumping, some suprisingly gentle spanish inflected guitar play (i say this shocked as someone who knows nothing of his solo material.) his delivery was po'faced, yes, but it's also executed with the timing and inflection of a comedian, albeit stripped of all sardonicism. the songs themselves were wonderful. i knew not a one, but he made me feel like i did, instantly. it was a sly, un-manipulative insinuation, and i liked it.

i say all this as a person who is nominally/normally put off by all the things this perfomance contains/represents: purposefully witty/"charming" songcraft (see also my irrational distrust of stephin merrit), a man and his acoustic guitar, vocals/lyrics/delivery privileged over "pure" (whadever the fuck that means) sound, cute-ness in music... i'll admit it, i was charmed. i don't see myself rushing out tomorrow to beef up my collection, but i will surely see him again on his next go around. he's gotta be pushing 50 now, doesn't he? he doesn't really "fit" in 2002 does he? lumping him in with any sort of neo-singer songwriter movement is false: how does he compare to smog, pete yorn, or alicia keys to name but three? and while it's safe to say he's a major reason 1/2 japanese existed, lumping him with any idiot-savant acousticians (the moldy fucking peaches?...oh jad, what haf you wrought??) is likewise doomed to failure: closer to four-track aznavour than cuddlecore songs about blowjobs (and thank fucking christ for that.)

one of the first songs he played was "springtime in new york" (at least i assumed that's what it was called), and i can't really described the mood it called up, comparable with so very few things in the vast morass of art about nyc, maybe the gentlest work of paul auster (cf. moon palace) or the experience of living in the city itself (which, like that ridiculous song suggests, everyone should do once before they become hardened.) it's a love song to a place which so effortlessly trumps any of the post-9/11 blather (neil young, stick your head up your own arse in abject shame, please.) it made me happy to be alive, which few things do these days. so cheers, i guess.

jess, Sunday, 7 April 2002 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

new. anyway, i'm drunk, it's late, i'm going to bed. goodnight, springfield, there will be no encore.

jess, Sunday, 7 April 2002 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

also, i like the fact that the audience was comprised of everything from this little old lady who did crazy dances to the expected bedheaded indie tarts to a family with two seven year old girls. i like the fact that he feels no need at age 40- whatever to play songs he wrote just after his balls dropped. i like the fact that even though he helped birth all those kids standing up front he's probably just as boggled by them as i am.

jess, Sunday, 7 April 2002 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

yeah he is ace! jess you write good when yr dronk.

unknown or illegal user, Sunday, 7 April 2002 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

agreed. yay jess!

modern moonlight, Sunday, 7 April 2002 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

He's simply the most charismatic performer I've ever seen. Funny thing abt JR, when you actually look at him, he's this big tanned handsome hairy-chested muscular guy, not some Jad Fairesque geeko.

Andrew L, Sunday, 7 April 2002 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

yeah, his music is like the opposite to ghost world, not really though

maryann, Sunday, 7 April 2002 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

oh, i've seen him too, it was great, he wouldn't play because of the bartenders gratuitously clinking glasses, like he was really angry and serious about it. you know, he wasn't some wimp.

maryann, Sunday, 7 April 2002 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

uh...DUH

M Matos, Sunday, 7 April 2002 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

actually the only time i saw him play i was bored, he was in a crowded pub in christchurch with a loud drunken audience but still insisted on playing quite quietly as is famously his wont. i suppose it was a lot of it the audience's fault but it was frustratingly faint & not-quite-ever-rocking.

unknown or illegal user, Sunday, 7 April 2002 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

i still luv him tho

unknown or illegal user, Sunday, 7 April 2002 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Funny thing abt JR, when you actually look at him, he's this big tanned handsome hairy-chested muscular guy, not some Jad Fairesque geeko.

yeah, that was a little disconcerting too. i was totally expecting the uber-geek to walk on stage, when out came this dapper fellow (if a little "intense" in the blank stare dept.) i'm sure he could have become the makeout king of montana with any girl in the place, and he certainly had the crowd eating out of his hand.

i had forgetten i wrote this little epic when i woke up from my 11pm nap.

jess, Sunday, 7 April 2002 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

so inspired by this thread and because i've never heard any of his stuff (well, aside from there's something about mary, i guess) i hunted for a couple of his songs. apparently he recorded a whole album in spanish! of the two songs i found - "yo tengo una novia" is very nice, and "twilight in boston" had enough pleasant namedropping to make me wish i lived in boston again. anyways, yeah, i see what you're talking about. anyone know enough to make this a search/destroy?

dave k, Sunday, 7 April 2002 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Great piece, Jess. And you're dead right - you can't help adoring him. I remember seeing him in Bristol in the late-'80s, and he did Pablo Picasso - he said that we deserved something extra cos he was a bit croaky. Anyone know how often he's performed that since the '70s?

As for my pal Andrew L's understandable interest in his chest, can I just mention that I HAVE TOUCHED JR'S BARE CHEST! Mmmm...

Martin Skidmore, Sunday, 7 April 2002 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Search: Jonathan Sings!, Jonathan Goes Country, Modern Lovers '88, Jonathan Richman, You Must Ask The Heart, Surrender to Jonathan.

I've seen JR about five times, and was only disappointed once. He has nothing to do with punk, except that he occasionally sings a song called "Velvet Underground." He is a troubador. He sets down his guitar and dances, accompanied only by his own singing and clapping. He's charming, and cute like a bunny. But he tackles serious subjects (cf. "My Little Girl's Got a Full Time Daddy Now", "The Neighbors") that most songwriters wouldn't touch. And he's an extremely nice guy.

J, Sunday, 7 April 2002 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I agree completely. Seen him twice (last time was $5) and I love this guy. Something incredibly positive about a Joanathan Richman show. Of his solo stuff I like I, Jonathan best, and he plays a lot of that stuff in concert so you might give it a listen.

Mark, Sunday, 7 April 2002 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I would like to reiterate how truly lovely "Yo tengo una novia" is - it's been a really really pleasant cambridge day and i've had it running through my head because it's such a nice match.

dave k, Sunday, 7 April 2002 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

"Yo Tengo Una Novia" is GREAT!!!

Keiko, Sunday, 7 April 2002 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I agree totally Jess. Your letter made me smile cos "Modern lovers live" is on my stereo at the moment. It's one of the 2 albums which seems to have the ability to put me in a good mood no matter how cack I feel (The other is Risque by Chic)

I've never seen him live but the rumour is he's playing Glastonbury so here's hoping.

By the way, love your prose, wish I could write like that when pissed.

Kris.

Kris England, Monday, 8 April 2002 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

The last time I saw Jonathan Richman there was a short little woman standing next to me. She sang along to every single one of Jonathans songs almost under breath but just loud enough for me to hear it. Normally that would be annoying but I couldn't stop smiling.

lawrence kansas, Monday, 8 April 2002 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I've seen Jonathon Richman perform once. I was with a friend who was obsessed with him. The entire crowd was obsessed with him. I felt like I was at an Amway convention. It was creepy and unenjoyable. To this day, when people start talking about Jonathon Richman I carefully put on my glassy-eyed "dealing-with-fundies" smile and back out of the room as quickly as is polite.

So, I guess my answer is "what". *smiles glassily, backs quickly but politely out of the room*

Dan Perry, Monday, 8 April 2002 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

We're going to get you, Perry. Your days are numbered.

Mark, Monday, 8 April 2002 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

thanks dan. no, i mean that.

jess, Monday, 8 April 2002 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Opposing viewpoints are always healthy. Now please, put down the gun.

Dan Perry, Monday, 8 April 2002 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Jonathan Richman is definitely a class act and, based on the one and only time I met him, a thoroughly nice bloke as well. I saw him play the Zodiac in Oxford about 6 years ago and he and his band came out and played "Get Up (I Feel Like A Sex Machine)" which wasn't what most people were expecting. Needless to say it was brilliant.

Chris Sallis, Monday, 8 April 2002 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

i say all this as a person who is nominally/normally put off by all the things this perfomance contains/represents

Yes, and you see that people who are great performers, or something else superlative, often blow away your conceptions of liking or disliking the domain in which they work. Your first paragraph indicates your reluctance to buy into received opinion about "greatness", "importance", etc., and it's true these opinions are often the result of stupid canon-happy past-never-experienced pseudo-worship, but sometimes people who are called great really (still) are when you get to see them. So yeah, Jonathan Richman is great, but what you're really writing about is how suprised you were that your contrary-ness was disarmed in spite of yourself. Hope it happens more often.

arch ibog, Tuesday, 9 April 2002 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

has nothing to do with punk, except that he occasionally sings a song called "Velvet Underground."

[sputtering]...he INVENTED punk rock on The Modern Lovers!

M Matos, Friday, 12 April 2002 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

i love how people are literally dissecting something i wrote at 1 am piss drunk.

jess, Friday, 12 April 2002 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

and just think how many people have spent how many hours dissecting music people created while piss drunk at 1am on this entire fucking borad

M Matos, Friday, 12 April 2002 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

saucer of milk, table two.

(i was referring to the post above yrs actually, m.)

jess, Friday, 12 April 2002 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

[sputtering]...he INVENTED punk rock on The Modern Lovers!

This is something of which I am well aware. I was describing Jonathan circa now, as opposed to what may be fairly described as a bit of an anomaly in his career. He's never done anything like that record since. "Government Center" may be one of the happiest, most compassionate songs ever written, but it's probably the only thing on the record that wouldn't seem out of place if Jonathan busted it out today. I certainly don't see him playing "She Cracked," "Hospital" or "I'm Straight." Maybe "Girlfriend," but "Pablo Picasso"? I don't think he would curse onstage anymore!

J, Friday, 12 April 2002 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

one year passes...
I saw him play the Zodiac in Oxford about 6 years ago and he and his band came out and played "Get Up (I Feel Like A Sex Machine)"

I was at this gig too, Chris and I agree that it was brilliant (inc. Sex Machine cover). Was a tad disappointed that he didn't play "That Summer Feeling" which was the first song of his I heard, but with such a long career & large repertoire such things are inevitable I suppose.

MarkH (MarkH), Monday, 9 June 2003 07:39 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

five months pass...
That was great, jess!

(revive!)

@d@ml (nordicskilla), Monday, 17 November 2003 23:06 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

wow what a cool thread!

amateur!st (amateurist), Monday, 17 November 2003 23:09 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

actually, I have seen Jonathon pull out a few of the old Modern Lovers tunes from time to time. Pablo Picasso, even, complete with a long and funny story about how he wrote the song. Always a fun show, but I wish he would not do "the Rose".

pauls00, Monday, 17 November 2003 23:18 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Im a big fan of Jonny. His sense of humor never gets in the way, and his tone is always fun.

In fact, his sheer un-rock n' roll attitude is what makes him so punk rawk.

Plus, he can write a fuckin mean song.

David Allen, Monday, 17 November 2003 23:27 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I'm a sucker for the trebly guitar shtuff

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Monday, 17 November 2003 23:37 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

anyone else seen the new DVD of a recent S.F. show? officially released and everything, complete w/video interview about the Modern Lovers and his history generally. pretty nice, though he's really a weird guy. (shockah!)

M Matos (M Matos), Monday, 17 November 2003 23:38 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I'm kinda surprised there aren't more (any?) actual Modern Lovers Tribute Bands out there. You could get a crowd moving if you had a guitar-keys-bass-drum combo doing the original stuff.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Monday, 17 November 2003 23:41 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

the entire city of Olympia to thread

M Matos (M Matos), Monday, 17 November 2003 23:41 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The Modern Lovers had a rhythm section

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Monday, 17 November 2003 23:42 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

the entire city of Olympia doesn't

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Monday, 17 November 2003 23:44 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Apparently, he is the interview subject from hell.

@d@ml (nordicskilla), Monday, 17 November 2003 23:45 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

no, he kept the Modern Lovers name LONG after he stopped rocking.

M Matos (M Matos), Monday, 17 November 2003 23:46 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

cf. Modern Lovers 88

M Matos (M Matos), Monday, 17 November 2003 23:47 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

well yeah. that's why I used words like "the original stuff" and "guitar-keys-bass-drums."

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Monday, 17 November 2003 23:49 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I tried to go to the North 6 show all 3 nights in a row when he came last month. But real life called and I only made one. I love it when people see jojo perform live for the 1st time. A mixture of glee, confusion and horror. And you know, he sings in foreign languages. I should buy him some knee pads, so when he dances he doesn't get banged up. He once yelled at a guy cuz the guy put his drink on the stage. I respect this.

Carey (Carey), Tuesday, 18 November 2003 02:42 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

memories relating to this thread just made me cry. bastards.

fiddo centington (dubplatestyle), Tuesday, 18 November 2003 02:44 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

When I saw him the crowd consisted of the "indie" kids, the old people, and a bunch of members from the local improv comedy group.

A Nairn (moretap), Tuesday, 18 November 2003 02:58 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

ive seen him play many 'modern lovers' songs. maybe this is just a boston thing. the man is a total trip*

kephm, Tuesday, 18 November 2003 20:25 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Ishkode! Ishkode!: Jonathan Richman’s first new album in five years

Have not heard this yet

curmudgeon, Thursday, 7 April 2016 20:02 (one year ago) Permalink

it has terrible distribution!

wizzz! (amateurist), Thursday, 7 April 2016 20:03 (one year ago) Permalink

i've heard it, it's good!

tylerw, Thursday, 7 April 2016 20:07 (one year ago) Permalink

It is good, and it does have terrible distribution. Not sure if the no-digital thing was part of the plan or if they just don't care

Evan R, Thursday, 7 April 2016 20:25 (one year ago) Permalink

richman is pretty anti-internet, i don't even think he does email.

tylerw, Thursday, 7 April 2016 20:28 (one year ago) Permalink

all his shit has been terribly distributed since, like, forever. the one exception being that album that came out after TSAM

Οὖτις, Thursday, 7 April 2016 20:59 (one year ago) Permalink

it's not even on amazon. or in my local record store. you kind of have to buy it from the label (which is a tiny label run by a guy who has a record store in cleveland; i don't think they've signed any other artists).

i get the feeling that richman is either totally ignorant of, or more likely, totally indifferent to the record industry. i'm not sure that his albums are afterthoughts per se (certainly his /songwriting/ is not an afterthought) but the actual distribution of them is obviously not foremost on his agenda.

similarly, he seems positively sanguine about the fact that the majority of his old records (most of the ones not on rounder) are out of print. but i don't think it's helped his legacy. imagine deluxe editions of his 80s records, for example, would get a fair bit of press for him.

but oh well, he's jojo! he just does his artisanal masonry stuff a few months out of the year, and tours w/ tommy larkin the rest of the time. don't think he gives much of a shit about the rest of it.

wizzz! (amateurist), Thursday, 7 April 2016 21:58 (one year ago) Permalink

i missed his closest concerts this time out. but i saw him on his last two tours--the last one not even supporting a record IIRC.

wizzz! (amateurist), Thursday, 7 April 2016 21:59 (one year ago) Permalink

he was still great the last time i saw him two or three years ago. but yeah, i think he reallllly does not care about the business side of things. he could easily have the profile of at least someone like robyn hitchcock, but even that tiny level of cult fame must be unappealing to him.

tylerw, Thursday, 7 April 2016 22:02 (one year ago) Permalink

I don't blame him really. He's a great live show, great songwriter, great player, good for him for just focusing on the stuff he likes to do.

Οὖτις, Thursday, 7 April 2016 22:04 (one year ago) Permalink

yeah, it's totally refreshing really -- I hope he makes enough dough to just keep doing it his way. (though yeah, i wouldn't mind reissues, or a nice box set or something)

tylerw, Thursday, 7 April 2016 22:07 (one year ago) Permalink

Saw him for like the 5th time live last night. It definitely had its great moments but this may have been the first time I was a tad disappointed. A short gig-an hour, and he raced through some cuts--"That Summer Feeling" and started and stopped others quickly.

I liked his delivery though of "When We Refuse to Suffer," "Take Me to the Plaza at 2 am"(not sure of the exact title), and “As My Mother Lay Lying"

curmudgeon, Friday, 8 April 2016 14:27 (one year ago) Permalink

No merch for sale at the show. He strolled onstage in a winter coat carrying his acoustic guitar in its case. He threw down the coat on the stage, opened the case and started strumming. I was told he likes to take the train from town to town when he can. He said he doesn't have a tv and doesn't like having one in his hand.

He encouraged the crowd to clap and dance and said "I don't do concerts, Beethoven does concerts (and he does them well)."

curmudgeon, Friday, 8 April 2016 14:32 (one year ago) Permalink

Saw him on this tour, too. Wasn't utterly moved the way I have sometimes been in the past, but I was charmed as always, and as always I left feeling like I understood him and his world view a little better. I teared up a little at "As My Mother Lay Dying," too.

Evan R, Friday, 8 April 2016 14:34 (one year ago) Permalink

Paramahansa Yogananda composition on the new album.

timellison, Friday, 8 April 2016 23:43 (one year ago) Permalink

He made a vague yoga mention at the show I saw

curmudgeon, Saturday, 9 April 2016 16:01 (one year ago) Permalink

huh never noticed this before for some reason

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVfCOfh_7VE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdZAQwIMx7k

Οὖτις, Monday, 18 April 2016 15:07 (one year ago) Permalink

He played near us the night of the San Bernardino shootings. There was just a heaviness in the air and going to see him play in a Costa Mesa strip mall seemed like the right thing to do. 34 years of going to gigs and somehow I'd never seen him before or even made note of the albums after than one with "Velvet Underground" on it.

At first I was freaked out. Jonathan sounded depressed! He moped. I thought of Margaret Keene paintings. He interrupted songs with a routine about not wanting to go back to an earlier time. His eyes bugged out unsettlingly. He sang in French and Arabic about Van Gogh and I was overcome with this feeling that I (as an audience member) really didn't want to disappoint Jonathan Richman. After about twenty minutes of this he broke and in that unmistakable voice, shouted to someone in the back of the room "HEY, IS THAT BAG OF FRIES STILL THERE? LEMME HAVE THOSE FRIES." I think I was so caught in all the odd stories about him that not once did I consider that he's a master showman and works the crowd like a fucking pro. Great show. Definitely go see him if he passes through.

https://farm1.staticflickr.com/776/23494874812_c71702f28f_z.jpg

Elvis Telecom, Tuesday, 19 April 2016 01:48 (one year ago) Permalink

He also came on stage in the big coat and did the same routine with throwing down the coat, opening the case, and go. Couldn't tell you if it's all part of the act, but he definitely seems to have constructed his own space out of things. As noted upthread, he definitely seems indifferent to the business/marketing/hype cycle of the world.

Elvis Telecom, Tuesday, 19 April 2016 01:53 (one year ago) Permalink

haha that sounds fabulous. I can see how he would take on the local vibe of an evening to some degree, and work with it until he got it right.

the 'major tom guy' (sleeve), Tuesday, 19 April 2016 02:03 (one year ago) Permalink

how long has he been touring w/ tommy larkin? must be over 20 years now.

wizzz! (amateurist), Tuesday, 19 April 2016 04:40 (one year ago) Permalink

No, not as long as that but still TOO LONG! Wish he'd put together a little and and tour. He got really unambitious after There's Something About Mary.

everything, Tuesday, 19 April 2016 04:51 (one year ago) Permalink

I think he's been playing with him like 23 years, actually, but I don't know if that was all duo?

timellison, Tuesday, 19 April 2016 05:12 (one year ago) Permalink

there's about zero chance that jonathan richman is going to get a band together.

wizzz! (amateurist), Tuesday, 19 April 2016 16:47 (one year ago) Permalink

He has grown very complacent it is true.

everything, Tuesday, 19 April 2016 16:49 (one year ago) Permalink

yeah, but he's retirement age, so it's OK.

wizzz! (amateurist), Tuesday, 19 April 2016 16:59 (one year ago) Permalink

he's a master showman and works the crowd like a fucking pro

otm

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 19 April 2016 17:05 (one year ago) Permalink

He got really unambitious after There's Something About Mary

tbf it's probably hard to go more ambitious than Major Role as Singing Narrator in Hollywood Blockbuster. then again he had been doing the stripped down music thing for decades by then.

maybe it's more ambitious to not do the easy thing and just slap together a band that runs through Roadrunner every night.

last saw JR in Athens at the 40 watt club and the experience was a lot like described above. most charming performer i have ever seen.

AdamVania (Adam Bruneau), Wednesday, 20 April 2016 11:00 (one year ago) Permalink

I've seen him with a band inside the last 20 years, but I couldn't peg a date to it …

Roaming gang of aggressive circlepits (ithappens), Wednesday, 20 April 2016 12:52 (one year ago) Permalink

August 96, it turns out.

Roaming gang of aggressive circlepits (ithappens), Wednesday, 20 April 2016 12:54 (one year ago) Permalink

what was it, drums and bass?

tylerw, Wednesday, 20 April 2016 14:51 (one year ago) Permalink

wait you're saying richman did a drum'n'bass album in the 1990s??

wizzz! (amateurist), Wednesday, 20 April 2016 17:34 (one year ago) Permalink

yeah a collab with µ-Ziq iirc

tylerw, Wednesday, 20 April 2016 17:37 (one year ago) Permalink

maybe it's more ambitious to not do the easy thing and just slap together a band that runs through Roadrunner every night.

Ok, forget about the first Modern Lovers album. I'm with Jonathan in that don't rate it that highly. And I don't have a problem with him performing solo, or with Tommy on drums - I've paid money many, many times for just that, but I'm not gonna pretend that I'm seeing the best Jonathan Richman show. He was a much better performer in the 70s and 80s than now, and one of the reasons is because he was writing songs that involved other people in their performance. Yeah he's a charming performer, but even more charming were the harmonies and the call and response thing that formerly featured in so many of his songs. Often his performances sound mawkish and self-indulgent. Every song ends the same way (by softly singing the title) and a big chunk of his repertoire hasn't changed since the 90s. Let's not pretend he's doing anything edgy.

everything, Wednesday, 20 April 2016 19:59 (one year ago) Permalink

edgy is overrated

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 20 April 2016 20:03 (one year ago) Permalink

ive never looked for edginess in the music of jonathan richman

trickle-down ergonomics (jim in glasgow), Wednesday, 20 April 2016 20:32 (one year ago) Permalink

Keep meaning to pause this summer feeling set, but not yet not yet (from the Burger Boogaloo, or something like that, last year in Oakland; 39 minutes): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4TjC20AOds

dow, Wednesday, 20 April 2016 23:05 (one year ago) Permalink

Now that's a band.

dow, Wednesday, 20 April 2016 23:29 (one year ago) Permalink

it's true that the early-mid 1980s was the high point for him, viz.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ta6EnFN48xk

wizzz! (amateurist), Thursday, 21 April 2016 19:11 (one year ago) Permalink

There's so much wisdom, purity and personality in his current live act that I hadn't even considered the idea of him touring with a full band.

But it'd be interesting to see; even on the new record he's got a ton of backing singers all over his songs, and he has a lot of fun playing off of them. I kept hearing them in my head when he played "Let Me Do This Right" live (great song, btw).

Evan R, Thursday, 21 April 2016 19:23 (one year ago) Permalink

xpost. Pretty much any live recordings from the Rockin' Robins period are essential!

everything, Thursday, 21 April 2016 21:01 (one year ago) Permalink

five months pass...

absolutely class act

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbUYJfbZ-Qc

niels, Friday, 14 October 2016 08:55 (one year ago) Permalink

Nobel Prize one day surely.

(SNIFFING AND INDISTINCT SOBBING) (Tom D.), Friday, 14 October 2016 09:13 (one year ago) Permalink

three months pass...

last year's album has finally been put on the bandcamp they created for him the other month

https://jonathanrichman.bandcamp.com/

Isi, Wednesday, 18 January 2017 12:44 (ten months ago) Permalink

five months pass...

The ancient weird guy in his toga
Staff in hand
The ancient bearded guy doing yoga
On the sand

AdamVania (Adam Bruneau), Saturday, 8 July 2017 14:52 (four months ago) Permalink

Really glad to get to hear Ishkode! Ishkode! all the way through and all the other recent material. It's a really good album, I think. I find what he has to say to still be very interesting and I love his musicality. The abstractness in his compositions has obviously gotten even more extreme.

timellison, Monday, 10 July 2017 00:09 (four months ago) Permalink

From Bandcamp: JONATHAN RICHMAN DOES NOT USE THE INTERNET. ALL EMAILS WILL BE SENT TO BLUE ARROW RECORDS, HIS LABEL.

smug dinner-jazz atrocity (Dan Peterson), Tuesday, 11 July 2017 21:56 (four months ago) Permalink

I wish I could say more than "I love his musicality." I suppose it's not the simplest thing to discuss. He's obviously exploring the use of very minimal melodic and harmonic materials more and using more dissonance. I live his voice as an improviser, too, in his singing and his playing.

timellison, Thursday, 13 July 2017 03:49 (four months ago) Permalink

*like*

timellison, Thursday, 13 July 2017 03:53 (four months ago) Permalink

Jonathan re-wrote and re-recorded Old World for the 2008 album

years late but ty for this, had no idea that new version was on an album. as I mentioned upthread, it floored me

sleeve, Thursday, 13 July 2017 04:07 (four months ago) Permalink


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