Mar 012013


Last week, I was in England visiting friends and family, and during my journeys several songs came to mind relating to the places I was traveling. You may be able to imagine what was going through my head at Baker Street Station, Waterloo Station, Victoria Station, and along The Strand.

On my flight back to the US, I picked up a copy of The Guardian, and came across an article that also referenced music and place, “Beltway Belter.”

“In 2007 Laura Barton wrote an ode to a Jonathan Richman song. Inspired, Massachusetts now wants it as a state anthem. What is it about Roadrunner?”

In the article, Ms. Barton mentions about her previous newspaper piece, for which she traveled along good ol’ Rt. 128 to visit the locations mentioned in the song. Apparently, the article has since spurred a bill that “seeks to anoint Roadrunner the official rock song of Massachusetts,” and if passed, will join the other official Massachusetts songs (a folk song, a glee club song, a polka, and The Official Song).

So tonight I did a little web research and found the original article, a pleasant foray into music obsession that I believe many of us can relate to:

But wait, there’s more. If you thought Jonathan Richman had the nomination for Official Rock Song of Massachusetts wrapped up, you can Dream On:

What do you think? I’m reaching out to you, bostonhistorian, misterioso, diskojoe, and others, to help us understand, weigh the evidence, and sort out with this controversy of Official Rock Song of Massachusetts.

And while you all are mulling over all this, does your state have an official song? Apparently, Oklahoma locked on to the Flaming Lips‘ “Do You Realize” in 2009; that’s a lovely song, but is it worthy enough to be official? Does it match Ohio’s “Hang On Sloopy”? Or Washington’s “Louie, Louie”?

RTH, help us determine, ONCE AND FOR ALL, what should Massachusett’s Official Rock Song be, AND what is the best official state song?

Oct 232009

As many of you know, I’m a big fan of Roy Wood, in particular his work with The Move and his solo album Boulders. However, once he crossed the line into ridiculous, futuristic-retro glam with Wizzard, I have trouble keeping up with the guy. First of all, his recordings sound worse than ever. I’m no audiophile, and I’ve always found something charming about the overloaded sound of The Move records and the claustrophobic Boulders, but Wizzard simply sounds terrible – and not in a good way.

More troubling is the progression of Wood’s Look and what it says about his interest in communicating with humans on any level. As seen in this 1972 ELO video, the guy was pushing it a few years before Wizzard and his Mustard solo album. It’s one thing to be “eccentric,” quite another to announce to the world that you do not intend to ever be taken seriously, not even in a joking way.

Anyhow, I’ve rarely found interviews with Wood, and my attempts at reaching him myself have not been fruitful. I’m all for rock’s outsiders, wildmen, and such, but someone needs to put a little scrutiny on Roy Wood, someone needs to ask him one question:
Continue reading »

Feb 132009

Mention, yesterday, of Jonathan Richman‘s disregard for the great Modern Lovers album that John Cale produced made me think of this most juvenile thread: What talented rock artist would you most like to give a wedgie? For me it’s Richman. Once he ditched the straight-edge VU sound of his early recordings and got into all that cutsie thumb-sucking music, I’m ready to yank up his briefs and see if I can’t get the elastic up to his shoulders. How about you? I know most of you are a lot nicer than I am, but what talented rock artist would you most like to give a wedgie? (It’s gotta be someone who’s produced a record or two that you love and at one time put a lot of stock in – not some band like Journey, unless you ever loved anything by them and are willing to admit that.)

Feb 092007

Live Review 02/08/06
Jonathan Richman feat. Tommy Larkins @ Johnny Brenda’s, Philadelphia, PA

Jonathan Richman is the buskering “Everyman.” His Look: a plain white t-shirt, plain white sneakers, unkempt hair, probably 3 days of unshaven beard, and a pair of black pants. You almost expect your Mom to pop out and say, “What did he, roll out of bed in that shirt?” And even before then, this is when you do believe that the guy spent weeks sleeping on someone’s couch in NY to gather his ideas and get his start, catch some Velvet Underground shows, and go on to form The Modern Lovers.

The first song that I ever heard by Jonathan Richman, was out of my first boyfriend’s older brother’s record collection; the song, “Ice Cream Man” (this same collection of Jim’s also brought us The Clash, The Jam, Billy Bragg, and The Blue Aeroplanes). I remember alternately loving that song, hating that song, and then loving that song again (it seemed to go on forever!) – but even Jonathan Richman has a sense of humour about his music as he knowingly sang last night, “…you will love me or you will hate me”. Continue reading »


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