Hometown: BOSTON, Massachusetts
Led by Jonathan Richman, the protopunk band The Modern Lovers came out of Massachusetts in the early 1970s. Their classic debut album contained heartfelt songs about dating awkwardness, growing up in Massachusetts, and love of life. Many feel their best work is the first album and the outtakes from those sessions. The sound of the band owed a great deal to the influence of The Velvet Underground, but also pointed the way towards much of the punk, new wave and indie rock of the following decades. The band included Richman, bassist Ernie Brooks, keyboardist Jerry Harrison, and drummer David Robinson. Early on, the group also included guitarist John Felice, who would later form the seminal Real Kids. After recording several sessions in 1972 and '73 with producers including Kim Fowley and The Velvet Underground's John Cale , Richman wanted to scrap the tracks that were recorded and start over with a mellower, more lyrical sound. The rest of the band, while not opposed to such a shift later, insisted that they record as they sounded now. These issues stymied efforts to complete a debut album, and, eventually, led to the band's breakup by the end of 1973. In 1976, the Berserkely label issued a posthumous LP, titled simply The Modern Lovers, drawn from the demo sessions – including tracks such as "Roadrunner", "I'm Straight" (referring here to abstinence from drug use), and "Pablo Picasso". Harrison moved on to the seminal new wave band Talking Heads. Robinson became the drummer for the hit Boston-based pop band, The Cars. Richman reused the name for subsequent bands which he put together in the 1970s and 1980s. These were always billed as Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers.
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