It's been a wild and woolly week since we broke the news that State Rep. Marty Walsh and Joyce Linehan -- the legendary rock publicist turned political rainmaker -- had teamed up to file HD3506, a bill to make "Roadrunner," by Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, the official rock song of Massachusetts.
The story has since gone viral, getting picked up from Boston to Belgium, by outlets including the Associated Press, Rolling Stone, and Gawker, among others. On Facebook, the novelist Nick Hornby wrote, "I have never urged anyone to vote for anything
on FB. But here, finally, is a cause we can all agree on. Good luck,
On a Facebook page established to support the campaign, Linehan has
released a series of "talking points" for constituents lobbying their
state reps. But that might not be necessary. While Walsh told the Phoenix that he expected to take
some heat for sticking his neck out, the act has already attracted at least four co-sponsors in the House: Paul Brodeur of Melrose, Lori Ehrlich of
Marblehead, James O’Day of West Boylston, and Thomas Petrolati of
It's also drawing support from a range of local politicians, including
Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone, who asked the rhetorical question, "Should Massachusetts have the coolest state song in the history of state songs? Absolutely yes."
In a twist you can't beat, there's another supporter in the House with a special connection to the song, as well: State Rep Aaron Michlewitz, of Boston, is the nephew of a former Modern Lovers' backup singer. Contacted by a constituent who'd heard about the bill, Michlewitz responded, "To give you a little history, my aunt Ellie was a member of the Modern
Lovers from 1977-1983 and Jonathan actually sang at my first birthday,
so I am certainly happy to see him getting this type of recognition
after all these years." (Wikipedia claims Michlewitz's aunt, Ellie Marshall, didn't join the group until 1980, but let's not split hairs.)
In fact, there is only person who seems unhappy with the idea of making "Roadrunner" the state rock song of Massachusetts. And that's . . . Jonathan Richman.
In a comment that surprises absolutely nobody familiar with
"Roadrunner"'s reclusive, grumpy author, Richman continued a
decades-long streak as a professional contrarian by issuing a statement
(though a spokesman, mind you) that while he was flattered, "I don't
think the song is good enough to be a Massachusetts song of any kind."
Don't worry: people are paying about as much attention to Richman's demurral as they've paid to his last dozen or so albums. And elsewhere, other members of the group are heartily endorsing the campaign.
"I can't tell you how many congratulatory emails I've gotten," former Modern Lover Jerry Harrison -- who went on to join Talking Heads -- told Rolling Stone.
PREVIOUSLY: 15 Reasons Why "Roadrunner" By Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers Will Become The Official Rock Song of Massachusetts in 2013