Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Jonathan Richman, Protopunk

Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa

I heard Jonathan on the radio back in 1970.

Jonathan was just a kid then,,, only a year out of high school. He was singing his hit "Roadrunner" on FM in the early morning hours. Back then he was leading a group called the Modern Lovers. I had already graduated from college, spent five years in the military, gone to Viet Nam, married twice and had children.

Roadrunner, roadrunner
Going faster miles an hour

Gonna drive past the Stop 'n' Shop

With the radio on

.I was electrified and kept looking for Jonathan's albums (vinyl and later CDs) in record stores  for the next 40 years. I never found anything, but once in a while I would hear him again on the radio..

Imagine my delight to learn that Jonathan was headlining at Skipper's Smokehouse on February 12th; 2013. I bought my tickets on line and took Mrs. Phred along for the ride. At first she was a little miffed because Tuesday is her night to go out dancing with other guys, but as she listened to Jonathan, she became an instant fan and was glad to have made the 120 mile drive into Tampa and back.

Now that we have the Internet, of course, Jonathan is much easier to find and I can see that he has written hundreds of songs. He dances a lot in slippers during his performances and is known to have no use for computers or air conditioning (he considers it loud and says it feels funny)..

Jonathan's style has been described as childlike. I would also call it blithe and lighthearted.  He is considered the father of punk rock.  One member of his band went on to the Talking Heads.  Jonathan is still relatively young chronologically at 61 and very young in his songs and viewpoint.."

    HAIL to thee, blithe spirit!
        Bird thou never wert—
      That from heaven or near it
        Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.


1 comment:

  1. Looks like you both had a great time...I have never heard of him...interestingly we went to a concert of a man that tom remembers from his youth...Tom was great...sil