Thursday, August 17

Egyptian Reggae video .... Jojo in an interesting mood

In decades of following Jonathan, I never once felt that he was being ironic (contra most normies). But, in this video of Jonathan doing Egyptian Reggae, he may have ju-u-uu-st crossed the line.  The situation may have caused it. The modern lovers have had a breakout hit in some countries, and are being asked to"play synch".  Jonathan seems to be in Andy Kaufman mode, aping Early-70s soft rockers.  The only one that pops to mind is David Gates.

Jonathan smiles broadly and winsomely.  The video is truly ... as the kids say - top kek.

Lost Song: The Old Snack Bar

I really enjoyed Emmett's beautiful post regarding the first day of summer which described a "lost song" with a "sweet melody". There was also a somber observation that the song may "soon be destined to become a completely faded memory in the annals of Jonathan lore"...

Well, let's try to at least delay that fate! I finally found some time to look through my collection and found the mentioned version of "The Old Snack Bar" from December 1989 at London's Subterranea club.

It is indeed a great lost gem, which to my knowledge is not available on any of the bootleg comps I've seen.

Enjoy, and enjoy the last few days of a hopefully never-forgotten summer!

Download link: The Old Snack Bar

Well now the beach is crowded back there
The old snack bar is closed up
and I'm feelin' bad inside

Well the seagulls they're going by
but my friends 'aint around
I know my friends can't be around all the time
I know you gotta be lonely sometimes
but that snack bar is closed
and I gotta tell
That I'm not taking it well

Let's start a punk bar, let's the thing
We gotta do some of that rockin' thing
The old snack bar is closed up and I'm hurt inside

We gotta jump jump
We gotta shake shake
I can't stand that cold weather thing

The old snack bar is closed and I hurt inside

I know you will be coming, and the seagulls?
But I'm not taking it well right now

The old snack bar where my friends and I used to hang out
is closed up and I'm hurtin' inside
(Please post lyric corrections in comments)

Wednesday, June 21

Happy First Day of Summer, Northern Hemispherers!

It's the first day of summer here in the northern hemisphere.  And my mind wanders not to the justifiably famous "That Summer Feeling" but to a long-lost song of Jonathan's which evokes summer a little more subtly. And that like the Summer of '69 (or '84, or '02, or '14) is soon destined to become a completely faded memory in the annals of Jonathan lore, because no known recording of it exists.

But I heard it myself. Somewhere in the Eighties.  I think the scene took place on a beach in summer. The song went (as I remember):

I'm walking by the boarded-up snack bar
Trying to chase down a feeling

It had an extremely sweet melody. It was a meditation on the memories that that little snack bar contained.

The only reference to it online that I can find is to a title "The Old Snack Bar" performed by Jonathan in December 1989 at the Subterranea Club in London. I was not at that show. So it must've been performed at least twice. I'm thinking earlier 80s. Which is a good sign because it's possible that Jonathan may have performed this for as long as a decade at various times and places.

Obviously if you have a recording of this, please get in touch.  Because

Time has been going by so fast
So that I can foresee
The day we'll say goodbye

The names and significance of Jonathan rarities like this will someday be forgotten, and exist merely as a twinkle in the eye of the children or grandchildren of long-gone Jojo fans.  Maybe that's okay.   Maybe it's even the way it should be.  But while we've got the technology, let's chase them down now.  I am doubting the world will ever have a better song about a boarded-up old snack bar.

And not to tease, here is an Australian talk-show performance of That Summer Feeling .. ironically from the place where they are celebrating the opening of winter today... Australia. A continent, according to this very blog, he has only visited twice so far: 1983 and 1997.    (But what the hell is this from setlist?).

In the upper-left corner of the frame, you can see the heads of the other After Dark guests (including Jello Biafra and John Cale), and host Donnie Sutherland exploding as the show is - very abruptly and totally - commandeered away from snark/smirk (or is it smirk/snark?) by perhaps the most "extra verse" cog-dis inducing version of TSF ever performed by Jonathan.  

ps I wonder if Jonathan was influenced directly by Jerry Mathers role as the Beaver ... or maybe it's just a primordial slightly-puzzled American kid look (from another Australian tour interview):

pps:  Dont miss this classic exchange @3:39
Interviewer: "Do you write books?"
Jonathan: "Do I write 'em? No." 
Interviewer: [disappointed] No??"

Wednesday, March 8

That's All We Need At Our Party

Sweet new 7" from Jonathan's Bandcamp site!
7" vinyl record featuring "That's All We Need At Our Party" b/w "Sad Trumpets Of Afternoon"
Check it out:

Saturday, November 12

New Song!

Jonathan has been receiving such a positive response from this song he has been performing while on tour that we here at Blue Arrow Records decided to release it online! Check it out here!

Friday, November 11


Blue Arrow Records is excited to announce
the release of this new 45 in limited edition of 100 splatter colored vinyl, hand numbered, as in the picture $15 for each (random colors will be shipped). They are also available in a beautiful translucent blue for $10. These are 2 new songs: SAD TRUMPETS OF AFTERNOON & THAT'S ALL WE NEED AT OUR PARTY. They will be available at on November 15, 2016!

Monday, October 17

Ask Jonathan Richman: Gram Parsons

Jonathan has been answering fan questions in the new Rough Trade magazine and here's a gem regarding Gram Parsons:

Hey Jonathan,

The whole crazy story about The Modern Lovers playing at a party to pay for the fine levied on Phil Kaufmann for burning Grams coffin (the only crime they could do him for). I'm sure there are lots of people who don't know about it, but how much is true and how much is myth?

Dave O’Grady


Dear Dave,

Yah, we played at it. When the Modern Lovers were with Warner Bros. Records, the company tried to help us find a manager which they said we needed. Of the ones presented, my vote was for Eddie Ticknor. He already managed Emmy Lou Harris and Gram Parsons. As road manager for both singers, Eddie used Phil Kaufman. Phil had a house in Van Nuys where everyone would hang out and eat chili, including us and especially me who loved to eat stuff and got along great with Eddie, Phil and Gram. I got to know Emmy Lou well enough that if we’re at some big festival together, I still go over and say hello and chat a bit. Gram stayed in this little guesthouse that Phil had out in the back. I’d go out there and me and Gram would play guitar and he’d sing me songs. If he’d lived another six months, he’d probably sung backup on our records or something.

Phil and I have stayed friends from those days ‘til this. I keep in touch and whenever me and Tommy my drummer are in Nashville we try and see Uncle Phil. And if he burns up any more dead guys we’re right there to play.

Oh, if you’ve also read a story about Gram supposedly stepping in to save the Modern Lovers from being harassed at a show by a gang of thugs who somehow were supposed to have gotten into our dressing room, that one didn’t even come close to happening. Total horseshit. That audience had no interest in advancing towards us. They couldn’t wait to be away from us!