Say It's Your Birthday: Jerry Harrison

Jerry Harrison is so darn helpful, he must've been a Boy

Scout. Born this day in 1949 in Milwaukee, Jerry was attending Harvard (not

only helpful but bright too!) when he met a local Boston kid and Velvet

Underground fanatic named Jonathan Richman. With Jerry's organ playing John

Cale to Jonathan's Lou Reed guitar, Richman's dream of his own Velvets became a

reality called the Modern Lovers. When the band devolved to nothing in 1974,

Jerry and Lovers bassist Ernie Brooks lent sympathetic backing to the songs of

Elliot Murphy. Talking Heads were a downtown art project until Jerry joined the

original trio in 1977; alternating between keyboards and guitar to flesh out

David Byrne's nervous observations, Jerry Harrison made the quartet a band.

Jerry has made several solo albums since Talking Heads drifted apart in 1990,

but his greatest contribution continues to be of a supportive nature. He has

turned out to be an exceptional record producer, especially when it comes to

coaxing personality out of young, studio shy artists. Among the artists who've

benefited from his perceptiveness and patience are the Violent Femmes, Elliott

Murphy and the Crash Test Dummies. His nurturing skills are currently on

display on the fine debut album by a group called The Verve Pipe. Could be

another merit badge on the way. It is also the birthday of Nina Simone,

Mary-Chapin Carpenter, Ranking Roger, from the English Beat but currently of

Big Audio Dynamite, Mark Arm (Mudhoney, Bloodloss) and some guy named David

Geffen.