Jonathan Richman featuring Tommy Larkins
As everyone knows by now, there really is "Something about Mary," thanks to the summer's sleeper hit movie. But what many of the millions of fans of "There's Something About Mary" have learned, too, is that there's something about Jonathan . . .Jonathan Richman, that is.
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Richman appears throughout the film, performing the musical interludes (with his longtime drummer Tommy Larkins) and moving the action along. But while filmgoers may be new to him, knowledgeable music fans have long known Richman as one of the most celebrated performers in rock 'n roll history, having formed the legendary and hugely inspirational Boston band The Modern Lovers way back in 1972, well before the advent of the punk rock/new wave era which he so strongly influenced. Indeed, the keyboard player with The Modern Lovers, Jerry Harrison, later joined the celebrated New York rock group Talking Heads, while drummer David Robinson went on to become a member of The Cars, the Boston band that was one of the most commercially successful rock groups to emerge out of the new wave era.
The leader of The Cars was Ric Ocasek, and after crossing paths with Richman many times over the years, Ocasek has now produced "I'm So Confused," Richman's 19th album. The new album is Richman's second for Vapor Records, and follows the acclaimed 1996 release "Surrender To Jonathan."
The unique ability to move listeners and audiences, through deeply affecting lyrics and enchanting and often hilarious performances--on stage and on record--have made Richman that rare artist who can transcend both musical styles and generations. His uncommonly loyal fan base, built over the years of nonstop worldwide touring, now extends from the adult rock 'n' roll age group which grew up with him, down to young kids who may know his wonderful children's songs "I'm A Little Airplane" and "Ice Cream Man" from their exposure on "Sesame Street," as well as today's college crowd, members of which have come aboard through older siblings or friends' word-of-mouth, and now, through the power of Richman's star turn in "There's Something About Mary." When the film's first camera shot reveals Richman and Larkins performing the title track song way up in a tree, the zany mood of the inane movie is immediately set--as is its super-sentimental romantic tone. Richman and Larkins, meanwhile, reappear to perform three more songs, including the befitting "True Love Is Not Nice," which is included in "I'm So Confused." "True Love Is Not Nice" is but Richman's latest great love song in a career full of them. And now, with the success of "There's Something About Mary," the rock 'n' roll played by Richman is more accessible to the mainstream rock audience than ever before. Long a favorite of "Late Night With Conan O'Brien," where he's been the most frequent music guest, Richman has recently appeared on Comedy Central's "Viva Variety," "Penn & Teller's Sin City Spectacular," and "Saturday Night Live." He also participated in Neil Young's annual Bridge School Benefit in San Francisco, and is currently taking his old and new songs to his old and new fans all over the world.
And as if that's not enough, he's also an apprentice stone mason!
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