Friday, August 19, 2011

There's Something About Jonathan - Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers - Tim Mitchell

As promised, after reading and enjoying the cool Sonic Transmissions, I picked up this book of Tim Mitchell's, as well. Having been a fan of Richman's Modern Lovers since one of my 70's bands covered "Astral Plane", I was interested in finding out more about the band and Jonathan's solo work. This eccentric character has been going strong since the early 70's and it's fascinating to discover the different changes he has gone through over time.

As with his other book, Tim does not indulge in gossip here, but does give the reader some personal information, such as Jonathan's obsession with a married fan of the Modern Lovers who later became his wife (and source of happiness) until the relationship dissolved (no details of either the seduction or the split are included). A great many of his songs are based on either his fantasy or the reality of this union.

Mitchell gives a good discography and overview of each record and the wildly varied styles and musicians involved (from full band to accapella songs, from country to Mexican - ! - to ballads to r'n'r) and recounts many live shows from personal memories as well as those of other fans.

Sometimes the details get hazy - I'm still not sure when John Felice, later of the Real Kids, was in the band, since he came and went more than once - but the tale is quite enjoyable and compelling and told from a real fan's viewpoint.

Through this book I also found out about a cool live Modern Lovers CD - more on that later!

Again, a good read for those who want to know more about Richman's musical journey - as long as you are not looking for dirt!