A youthful Jonathan Richman and a surprisingly (for the time) clear-eyed John Cale interviewed on After Dark by Aussie TV host Donnie Sutherland when the pair played some dates together down under in 1983. Richman describes their Australian gigs as “Bozo the Clown opening for Jean-Paul Sartre.’
Jello Biafra was on the same show, but sadly there’s not video of that on YouTube.
In the clip below, Cale sings “Chinese Envoy” accompanying himself on an acoustic guitar:
Don’t you love it when wonderful people find each other? Bub’s dude said “They telepathically shared meditation techniques”. Of course they did.
Of all the proto-punk auteurs and of all the famous Internet cats, there is no more potent combination that that of Jonathan Richman and Lil Bub.
There will be an impulse by many to infantilize this moment in glorious Internet cat/music history, the famously earnest Richman, Lil Bub with her adorable physical anomalies. But I maintain this is no less than a beacon! A sign that there is goodness in this world, and that we’re just beginning to live.
One of the better ones is this show that was taped on January 10,1969 in Boston, at the Velvets’ “home away from home,” The Boston Tea Party nightclub.
Future Modern Lover and huge Velvets fan Jonathan Richman was often in the audience during the Boston shows:
“Sometimes you just plain couldn’t figure out where on the stage those strange sounds and harmonics were coming from, because of the eerie calm with which they played and improvised in front of you, and because every time they’d come to town they’d introduce at least one new song that would, for better or worse, sound like nothing else that had gone before in rock music.”
The opening act that night were folk freaks The Holy Modal Rounders.
There’s a particularly good take of “Move Right In” (with a Moe Tucker savagely pounding her floor toms), nice readings of quieter numbers like “I’m Set Free” and “Candy Says”; and a great rave-up of “I Can’t Stand It.” It ends, natch, with a roof-raising “Sister Ray.”
The whole thing sounds great for an old audience recording, but it sounds so much better if you REALLY CRANK IT.
1. Heroin (0:00)
2. Move Right In (8:26)
3. I’m Set Free (13:12)
4. Run Run Run (17:49)
5. I’m Waiting For The Man (25:39)
6. What Goes On (34:35)
7. I Can’t Stand It (39:05)
8. Candy Says (45:23)
9. Beginning To See The Light (50:10)
10. White Light/White Heat (56:00)
11. Pale Blue Eyes (61:42)
12. Sister Ray (68:10)
Poor guy. I’m sure all he wanted was to talk to the founder of The Modern Lovers, but all he got was Richman’s now notorious silent treatment. I’ve heard quite a few journalists and fans revel in some variation of this same story, delighting in the perceived eccentricity of a man who says he’s taking care of his voice and avoids contact with crowds if he can help it.
For the record, I’ve seen Jonathan Richman twice (once for his Because Her Beauty Is Raw and Wild tour- amazing). He made quite a bit of whispered small talk and took pictures with my friend and me. Maybe his voice is sensitive, maybe he has social anxiety, maybe he just prefers fans to sweaty music journalists trying to get an interview. Regardless, in my book, he seems nothing short of a swell guy with a couple of lovely idiosyncrasies.
Dangerous Minds is a compendium of oddities, pop culture treasures, high weirdness, punk rock and politics drawn from the outer reaches of pop culture. Our editorial policy, such that it is, reflects the interests, whimsies and peculiarities of the individual writers. And sometimes it doesn't. Very often the idea is just "Here's what so and so said, take a look and see what you think."
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