This past weekend, fans and organizers were excited to see Jonathan Richman returning to Olympia, Washington to play at LoveOly Summerfest. The former Modern Lovers frontman was set to take the stage for his first show since the COVID pandemic started. Unfortunately, it was too good to be true. Organizers were shocked to learn that they had been bamboozled by an imposter masquerading as the legendary singer.
Just before the festival was scheduled to begin, Richman and his managers revealed to the festival organizers that they had never heard anything about the show. This surprising news came to light after Mark “Markly” Morrison, who is a DJ for the Evergreen State College radio station KAOS, reached out to Richman’s publicist for an interview on Friday. Richman and his publicist were confused by this request, as they had no prior knowledge of any scheduled performance.
The Olympia Film Society, who organized the festival, were fooled by an imposter posing as Richman. In a press release, executive director Audrey Henley expressed her shock and disappointment. Henley claimed that this is the first time something like this has happened in the 30 years the festival has been booking bands. The Olympia Film Society is hopeful that this unprecedented event won’t ruin their future relationship with the real Richman.
The same press release also contained a short message from the authentic Richman. Claiming “no hard feelings,” the singer expressed his desire to play at the festival someday in the future and even poked fun at the comical situation. “Did the guy who called you up manage to imitate my voice pretty good? Cuz if he did, you’ve got to hand it to him, most people can’t do it!”
Richman reiterated that he is sorry for any disappointment and expenses caused by this scheduling snafu and that he will be making a trip in the future to play for the Olympians. Local Olympian band Oh, Rose ended up taking Richman’s place as the headliner. The scam is reportedly being investigated by the Olympia police.
Richman is an American singer, songwriter and guitarist and founding member of the influential proto-punk band The Modern Lovers. Active in the music community since 1970, Richman has developed a cult following and has been a major influence to the punk and indie scenes.
Earlier this month, it was announced that Richman’s scheduled performances with Matt Sweeney and Bonnie “Prince” Billy were being postponed to 2022. Richman’s Having A Party With Jonathan Richman was one of the Record Store Day exclusive drops released on June 12th.
Photo Credit: Erik Noonan