Wednesday, April 09, 2008

JONATHAN ROUND Shakespearean SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL


Overbaked cackling. Sound effects of hellish winds and thunder. Lyrics recited like a mad actor more than sung like a rock star. Wow, what a great version of "Sympathy for the Devil!"

The "Devil" was the only song that interested critics when Jonathan Round's album arrived. That is, if anybody reviewed it at all. A few also commented on Round's album actually being die-cut in a round shape, which was quite an uncommon trick. Even so, the years passed, the album disappeared, and so did the artist.

I sometimes dug up "Devil" to play on the radio. You can hear that version below. While it's taken from a broadcast tape, it's in better shape than the R-share download of the complete album, which has a bit of crackle accumulated over the years.

The Rolling Stones cover version is the best thing on the album, although the rest isn't bad journeyman rock. On a gospel shout like "Don't it Make You Wanna Go Home" he aims for a male Janis Joplin (modern listeners might say this ground Round sounds like Meatloaf.) The throaty soul affectations dominate the rock tunes, but on a softer folkie piece, like "Tolu" (all about "saving karma," man) he sounds like he could've been a slightly hoarse warm-up act for Gordon Lightfoot or Cat Stevens.

While I do know plenty of ill folkies and obscure rockers, and some have even crashed here in Illville for a night or two, the whereabouts of Jonathan Round are unknown to me. I assume he's still a'Round somewhere.

UPDATE: Sadly, Jonathan is no longer a'Round...he was JOHN A MARIOTTO (Feb 1, 1949-Feb 16, 2009). This particular post is one of my proudest, because John did read it, and people who've been unable to find this album in any condition at any price now have it. It's turned out, in his life and in death, to be a place for people to express their feelings about him in the comments section. It makes me so glad I started this blog.

Jonathan's own comment on this recording:

Thank you all for remembering the work. The Westbound Album was the first deal I made after having started performing in the early seventies. Anyone who signed a contract in those days found out very quickly how little say they had over artistic issues. Overall I am proud of what was done. Many of the decisions made came about as a result of having signed with an R&B label. Many of the artistic decisions wrere made by folks who had been doing R&B all their careers. A second and then an independently produced third album were done but unfortunately never released. Either of these two more acurately reflect where I was artistically at the time. Perhaps I'll get a chance to post some cuts from these some time in the future. Once again, thanks for the memories. PS - There is no truth to the rumor that I was ever at any party where "spiked" kind bud was passed out. I'm still looking for the guy who started that story -- and so is my lawyer.


The comments below...at first wondering where he was, then the surprising news of his passing, show that the little known can leave a big legacy. Maybe someday there will be a CD re-issue, with bonus tracks from his unreleased albums.


"Sympathy for the Devil," grandly recited with stagey, cackling laughter. Version from one of my radio broadcasts, with a bit of reverb at the end
The whole Round album, the "Sympathy" version doesn't have the elaborate fade-out as the single-song download version.

74 comments:

Anonymous said...

okay i dont know what your deal is but jonathan round is my uncle! and an amazinggg writer!! wayyyy better thannn you are you loww life! and he hasnt gone anywhere! its really not your bussiness to wonder where he went! id take this sight off of here! your the ill folk!

Anonymous said...

sorry i read more on this site and i dont think you were being mean. but you can delete these comments cause i didnt mean to be like that. sorry.

Ill Folks said...

All good wishes to Jonathan! You're right, it's "no business" of anyone's as to why somebody moves on to some other career, or chooses to step out of the limelight. One hopes that their privacy is protected, since that's often what they wish.

All fans of Jonathan's amazing "Sympathy for the Devil" can at least be thankful for this addition to their music collections, and a credible albums' worth of songs, too.

And if, like an old school chum or a distant relative, we find ourselves wondering where they are today, and what they're doing, it's usually meant in a friendly or concerned way.

Thanks for re-reading, 'cause this blog, as stated in the header, is more for celebration and appreciation. It re-shines a light on creative people who in some cases have been crowded from the spotlight by so many other albums and songs out there.

Anyone who has signed a deal and made a record has a right to feel proud. Your Uncle is lucky to have a caring defender. Good luck to you both.

Anonymous said...

Jonathan Round is actually my cousin. In the 80's he was writing "punk rock musicals" for a night club in Detroit. I have lost touch concerning his whereabouts. My mom would probably know more than me. I will ask her and post an answer when I get it.

Anonymous said...

I dont know who wrote the comment of him being their cousin, but all I know is that he is my uncle and is amazing. I wish to see him soon<3 and yes I understand that this site is more for celebtration. Thankyou for showing appretiation for my Uncle John.
[I love you Uncle John; It's Becca by the way <3]

Anonymous said...

ohh and i appreciate you as to being so kind in writing back to the first thing i said. Thanks for understanding that i misunderstood the site at first.
-All good wishes to you as well. :]

Hazy Dave said...

One of those more-seen-than-heard LP's from the seventies, and not really often seen, either. Perhaps more copies were sold around Detroit. It certainly is a different approach to "Sympathy" than Blood Sweat & Tears'...

Some more views and recollections, largely if not completely complimentary, are collected here:

http://tinyurl.com/5d3pv3

And, yes, it does appear to be spelled "Jonathon" on the cover.

Anonymous said...

Jonathan/Jonathon. Did the record label get it wrong? That happens (witness Elektra releasing two albums, one from Fred Engelberg and the other Fred Engleberg).

The March 31 1971 ad for a Palladium appearance has him third billed behind Ted Lucas, and Princess & The Frog, as "Johnathan Round."

At Answers.com a Jonathon Round request comes back "Do you mean Jonathan Round." And that's where the track list of his album is.

James said...

John and I were best friends. I can tell you that he was not Happy to say the least about the production of the album. It did not really reveal the real Jon Round's music and talent. He was a solo act for most of his career. The album was very commerical. If they would have produced it the way John wanted it to be, we may have heard a lot more of his songs. He is a great song writer, actor, etc.
JK Roseville

Anonymous said...

I wrote earlier. He is my cousin. I got a voice message from him on my voice mail. I called him and left a message on his machine. we're playing phone tag. But my mom says he is living in Colorado and has taught acting workshops. He is apparently (or has) written a book about acting improv?

Anonymous said...

I work with John and he is a good friend of mine. Great guy, wonderful storyteller, and I love this album. He is creative and fascinating to talk to. I know that the world will continue to hear from him perhaps not musically but that is definitely not his only talent. He is an incredible writer and a beautiful mind. It's great to see people still talk about him and his work.

Anonymous said...

This is is the kinda thing that makes surfin' blogs a joy.I would never had heard this tune or read these comments otherwise.Thanks.gaz

babyboomer said...

This is to anonymous who claims that Johnathon Round is an uncle. If that's true what is the first letter of his REAL last name? I knew John way back, even before the album. If you're right I'll confirm it.

Anonymous said...

To James. I worked with a very close friend of Johns back in the sixties. His first name was Jim. Did you happen to have a job relating to boats in the summer of 1968?

Anonymous said...

I,ve enjoyed reading everyones comments to this album
My dad played the drums on this album and I think that there is some really good songs on it.

Anonymous said...

I was cleaning out my grandfathers home last weekend and found a copy of Jonathan Round's album mixed in with some of my Aunt's records. After listening to his Sympathy for the Devil I just had to find out more about him and this album. Unfortunately there seems to be very little info about him or his album on the net.

Anonymous said...

I grew up down the street from Jon and was best friends with his brother Frank. (The last intial is "M") I imagine the neice is the real deal cuz they had a huge family.
I hadn't seen Jon in years til one night I stopped at a coffeehouse (i think on Woodward) and he was playing. I realized that night that his real talent lied in making everyone in the place think he was "talking" to them. My date agreed. Then , some years later I ran into him at a comedy club on Telegraph. He was involved with teaching comics to perform if I remember right.
This is a "bigger than life character"! I miss him and the entire family. It's been too long.
BC

Anonymous said...

Yep. You're right. Letter of last name is "M" (and Italian). Did you happen to know a very close friend of his? His name was Jim "M". By the way, any idea of Jon's whereabouts?

Anonymous said...

Nope, I'm living in Evansville, IN now so I lost track of almost everyone from home.
I keep (sorta) flashing on a skinny guy that hung out with Jon while we were young but, too many years (and hard livin') have taken there toll.
I would love to hear from someone in the family to get up to date.

Anonymous said...

That could have been Jim although everyone was probably a lot skinnier back then. I met Jon in the summer of 1968 (my god, that's 40 years ago) thru his friend who I worked with at a marina on Jefferson. We would hang out together after work or weekends and Jon would sometimes be there. I would go to see Jon perform on occasion but lost track of just about everyone between 1970-71. If I stumble across any more info on him I'll post it here. But you're right, he was a "larger than life" personality. I sure miss those days. For the most part.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I saw Jonathan and Jim Post perform at the Earl of Old town in Chicago about 1976. He blew me away with his rendition of Sympathy For The Devil that night.

We returned the following year, I believe, with our two very young children for a Sunday children's show that Jonathan liked to perform. In the middle of a song my 3 1/2 year old daughter sitting right in front pointed at Jonathan and looking back at us commented on his then size. Jonathan chuckled, sang a few more bars and then stopped. "Children are so honest" he said to the audience and resumed his singing but stopped again. He just could not continue. I felt so bad I have been looking for a hole to crawl into ever since. His story telling and music were very enjoyable that day up to that point.

We saw Jonathan again at the Earl the following year and I intended to personally apologize to him. But, when he was intoduced and entered, he had lost a lot of weight and was calling himself Johnny Round. He told the audience that he had lost not only the weight but also his wife. Right there I knew I was going to hell for ever bringing my rugrat to his performance.

So Johnathan, if you ever read this blog, here is the apology. You were a great performer then and I have always remembered your talent. I hope things are well with you.

Shirley said...

Nephew, Cousin, whatever, do you know the whereabout of Jonathon? I have been searching for him for years. I used to book Jonathan for concerts at Schoolcraft. He has many friends who remember him fondly, including Patrick. We were all sad to hear of the death of Ted Lucas many years ago.

Brooke said...

Dear friends, family and fans of John's. I posted earlier that I am a co-worker of John (M's). I was informed tonight that he passed away earlier this evening. I have no further details at this time. I am currently in a bit of a state of shock. For all those curious he was living in the mountains in Colorado and working on a book that for privacy sake I will not discuss here. I believe the book will be published, he had arranged that before this happened. For all those who knew him and loved him I'm sure you will be taking this loss as hard as I am. I wanted to write on here so that he can be remembered for his works and his beautiful, artistic soul. I'll miss you dearly John.

RM said...

I wrote earlier that I met John in 1968 thru a mutual friend. I am shocked. Although I hadn't seen or talked to John in a great many years I never forgot him. We were both so young and it sure puts youth and time in perspective. I particularly remember him telling me one evening about the motivation for his song "Tolu" and the age-old reason behind why he wrote it. If you're able please let me know if or when his book may be published or any other information about John (was he still involved in music?). By the way, if you know, was he ever aware of the people either on this blog site or other sites that still were interested in his musical years or were trying to connect with him?

Shirley said...

Brooke, please publish information about his life from when you knew him, where he was living in Colorado, what he was doing, and any information about celebration of life services for him. I hope you had shared this blog with him before he passed, he couldn't have really known how many people he touched in a great way. Shirley

Brooke said...

To all concerned,
yes John did know about this blog and read it as well as several others mentioning him and his work. He was no longer in the music scene but focusing primarily on his writing. I'd like to speak to his family first before publishing any personal information on this web site. Thank you for your thoughts and rememberances of him. He was a wonderful man and a dear friend.

Shirley said...

John's passing is truly a loss to all of us whom he has touched and for all of those who never had the opportunity to know such a dear talented man. Please let his family know how much he was thought about.

Shirley said...

Becca or Brooke or both, I had hoped to hear more from either of you about where Jon was living, what he was doing, even his last name (I knew it many years ago when I was writing checks to him paying for his performances at S'Craft) but I guess I didn't store that in my memory. It would help to know it if his given name is the name his book will be published under. Thanks for any information. I have told some of his muscian friends in Detroit of this blog and the info Brooke provided.

RM said...

Shirley:
John graduated from (if I remember correctly) Roseville High School in 1967. He'd be in the yearbook or possibly on classmates. From what I understood, several years ago, he was somewhere around the Central City, Colorado area. That was quite a while ago so he could very well have moved. I don't know. But just so you know I've searched using his given name in Colorado (obits)and have come up with nothing. Doesn't necessarily mean it's not there. Out of respect for his family privacy I'm sorry but I'm not going to give his real last name. Let Brooke handle that with his family if they choose to share more info. I hope they do. I really don't get what all this secrecy is about. He wasn't a CIA Operative on a secret mission. John was a wonderful and kind human being that I knew in a much younger day and personally never forgot over all these years. I'm certain some of the people whose lives he may have touched along the way would appreciate knowing a bit more about his life.

Shirley said...

RM, thanks for the infor. I am in contact with one of John'shigh school classmates and will be trying to contact whis family in the Detroit area. I too have not found any information to confirm John's passing. Obviously there are people interested. I found another blog with a post signed JRound last year 2008, I wonder if it was for real. I hope so, because the post said he appreciated the fact that people still thought of him.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Thank you Shirley for your note about privacy; so true - the family needs time right now to spend peaceful moments together and reflect. John's passing was very sudden and all the details are being worked out, I'm absolutely sure. Thanks everyone for respecting these wishes.

Anonymous said...

John was a true artist in every sense of the word - A singer and musician, a writer, a poet, an actor, an IT professional (true!) and one of the best cooks ever. He lived many lifetimes and his legacy and spirit will continue to live on. John lived life as a continual celebration of Love for everything and everyone.

Anonymous said...

From the first album, "Train A'Comin" says it all: "Places have a tendency in general; they slowly lose their usefulness. Trains were made for people like me, who's itchy feet need paths, I guess. I've put a finger on my troubles, I've stayed in one place far too long. Now I know I won't be sorry, I know I'm right for moving on."

Anonymous said...

John wrote, produced and directed "An Evening at the Paradise, a Punk-Rock Musical" which ran for 12 consecutive MIDNITE sold-out performances at the Attic Theater in Detroit (now defunct) back in the seventies. You had to see it to believe it.

Anonymous said...

The second album never made it to release, and may never be heard by most folks (musicians know how these things go). Some of the most powerful and moving rock boogies, blues and ballads were on this recording. Ted Lucas played some of the most incredible lead guitar stuff I have ever heard on these recordings and will also never be forgotten. Can you imagine: John and Teddy doing Angel songs in Heaven? As Teddy would say: "Hah!"

Anonymous said...

To everyone interested in Jonathan Round:

I just wanted to say I was in absolute awe that so many people were still talking about my brother's work and the "legacy" he has left behind. We (my entire family) are still trying to process John's passing last week. As one of you caring people had stated, he was living in the mountains in Colorado and working on what would be the culmination of his life's work - a book about improv, theater and performance. It is brilliant - and not surprising as my brother had a mind and a heart unlike anyone I've known. Once my family has moved through this particular moment, we'll be planning a celebration of some sort. I say celebration because he truly lived his life as he pleased - which is a rare and brave thing. We need to celebrate "true originals" like my big brother more often. Hopefully while they are still around. Ya dig?
I will monitor this blog (thanks to you Ill Folks) and honor my family's wishes about whether or not to post an announcement. After reading this I agree with my other brother - we may not have the facility to hold the people that show up! Brooke, we appreciate your understanding toward the family's privacy. My husband came back from Colorado yesterday and said John's "other" family was a class act. Please pass my thanks on to the others for taking such good care of my brother. And, Becca? Call your aunt more often, eh?
Annette

Anonymous said...

Very Sorry for Jonathan's passing - my deepest sympathies to all.

I was very fortunate to have seen Jonathan perform in Toledo, Ohio in the 70's. I do not remember who he opened for but I think it was Pink Floyd. (my memory is a little "hazy", if you know what I mean). He was FANTASTIC!!! His performance of Sympathy was something. else!!! Still chills me!! He was very personable on-stage with personal reflections and introductions to various songs. Very enjoyable and memorable. He will never be forgotten by this old guy, now resting in Vermont. And yes, I still have his wonderful LP, which is still in very good shape - a prized item of mine - already promised to my oldest son (whom also loves and appreciates music).

Best wishes to all...

Rio said...

John, you were one hell of a guy and I will miss you. If there is a heaven, I will see you some day. We will drink wine, smoke cigarettes, and play music. Forever. Your friend, Rio

Mark said...

Jonathan passed away on February 16th 2009 suddenly in Colorado where he had been living.

His live performances espcially "Sympathy for the Devil" will long be remembered

Rio said...

I write for a local newspaper here in colorado. I knew John fairly well and wrote his obit. I decided to share it with you all here:

John Mariotto lived in Central City for a number of years and died suddenly February 16th. I first met John after I moved into the Granit Block on Lawrence Street ten years ago. I had my drums up there on the second floor in apartment number three or four (I don’t remember exactly), and did my best to annoy my neighbors at all hours.
My first meeting with John came when I was walking up the street in front of the building and came in contact with his dog, Nikki. Nikki was a big dog, weighing in at a good 100 pounds and made it very clear I’d better be nice or else. John called from the open door and said, ‘Who is it?’ To which I responded, ‘My name is Rio. I live upstairs.’
“Come in, come in!” He said.
Never in my life have I seen an apartment more cluttered than my own. Books piled sky high, newspapers and journals replacing what should have been carpet, and ashtrays overflowing with yesterday’s butts. I felt right at home. John himself was a large man, seated behind his desk and computer, and spoke with a voice larger than life.
“I’ve heard some guy playing the drums upstairs.” He said. “Is that you?”
“Yeah, that’s me.”
John then invited me to listen to some stuff he recorded under the name, ‘Jonathan Round.’ This stuff was no joke, believe me. He was the vocalist on the album and had the vocal power to rival the works of none other than Blood, Sweat & Tears. What really hit me was John’s rendition of “sympathy for the devil”, a work so dark and eerie it made the Rolling Stones sound like the Osmond Brothers.
“Jesus! You sound just like David Clayton-Thomas!” I proclaimed.
“Ha! I get that a lot!”
I bugged him for weeks after that to start a band, but he wanted nothing to do with it. “Naw, I’m done with all that.” He said. I couldn’t believe it. How could all that talent sit around all bottled up? Turned out John’s latest passion was writing a book on improvisational theater. Almost every time I came around he was working on it and invited me to read his latest chapters. I could tell it was good, but it was somewhat beyond my understanding. Not much of a theater guy, me.
John then came by my place now and again, with a handful of CD’s he wanted to listen to. We would sit around for hours drinking beer and smoking cigarettes and listening to what was we thought the best undiscovered musicians we were aware of at the time. Aside from the theater, John loved music. He would sit in one of my chairs, eyes squeezed shut, and just listen to whatever we had playing on the CD.
“Man,” he would utter. “That’s just plain magic, it’s magic!”
Later on, John had a heart attack and went through a round of open heart surgery. The effect on his health was not lost on anybody. He lost weight and was soon confined to a scooter chair. I now regret not visiting him more than I did during that time. Like an idiot, I just assumed he’d be around forever. The very last time I saw him was during a spontaneous visit at Alan’s Second Hand Store in the same building. He was having trouble breathing and I asked him if there was anything I could do for him. His voice was scratchy and weak. He was disappearing right before our eyes. “Naw,” He said, “I’m fine.” John did not want to be thought of as a burden to anybody.
After that, I heard from the grape vine that an emergency crew was spotted outside a small apartment in the Granit Block. They had taken a body away. I suspected the worst and I was correct. John was gone. His beloved Nikki died just a few weeks before him. Some friends in the neighborhood helped him find another dog, but John wasn’t very satisfied. There was no replacement for Nikki and never would be.
Just before this printing, I was able to converse with John’s brother, Dave, via e-mail and telephone:
“John grew up the oldest of 10 children in the 60's, in the heart of Motown, Detroit, MI. Life was good but tough, and the family soon moved to the suburbs and the city of Roseville, where John attended High School. John quickly became a crowd favorite in the drama department, acting and singing in many of the school plays. During this time he also learned to play guitar and his voice and acoustical guitar talents would carry him to his first record album, given the name most people in Detroit knew him by at that time: "Jonathan Round".
After a disappointing attempt at a second album release, John turned to his second love, the theatre. In the late 70's, he moved to Chicago where he studied for several years under the legendary teacher and director Del Close. Upon returning to Detroit, John formed "The Detroit Times Theatre Company", producing many shows with his group at local venues. John then began what would become his life's work, an extensive book on Improvisational Theatre ("Improv") technique. (not yet released).

Like many artists, actors, and musicians, John headed for California in the early 90's, and on the way stopped in Boulder Colorado, where he fell in love with the mountains and the people and decided to stay. John moved up the canyon to Nederland, then Rollinsville, and on to Central City, which he finally called home. John worked at several casinos and hotels in the Central City/Blackhawk area while he polished his book for release, and you could find him around town with his most trusted companion, his dog Nicki. John loved sharing stories of his adventures in music, theatre, art, and literature, and was always happy to have a lively conversation filled with political satire.

John is survived by his mother (who herself is an accomplished singer for over 30 years), nine brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and countless friends who will miss him dearly. John followed his own path, lived life to the fullest, did it his own way, and never compromised - a rare and beautiful person that is hard to find in today's world.”

Anonymous said...

Thanks Rio for so fondly remembering John. I hope that his book gets published and I look forward to cherishing it along with his Round album which I treasure.
Shirley

Anonymous said...

Hello.
This site is just lovely. There is so much appreciation for him in every comment and although I probably shouldn't be commenting, I just couldn't resist showing appreciation for my Uncle Johnny also. Why not, right?
I have to say, the man was brilliant, and even though I can count the number of times I've met him on less than one hand, my Uncle was nothing short of a genius.
I mean, I've talked with him during holidays but meeting him this past year was a completely different experience. As a young child, all I could do was love him as any other niece loves their big, squishy Uncle. But having grown into a young woman, seeing him again was like magic. I was truly meeting him for the first time, and I say this because since I am almost 19, my Uncle John and I were able to hold more intelligent conversations, rather than, "Uncle John, can you tie my shoe lace?" or "Why is your beard so big?".
I had a lot in common with him, and I had so many questions to ask. He had such a different input on things. I just loved listening to him while we talked about music, of course, but also art, theatre, movies, college and what I wanted to do with my life, books, the family, etc. We just laughed and talked together for two whole days.
The whole family together was nuts. It was a gigantic festival of comedy, golf carts, music, love, laughter and food all in one backyard. Then it was time for the bonfire, and the whole family gathered around for no less than a perfect moment. My younger sister's passion is to sing, and she sang him a song for the first time that night. Then he sang her one and my grandmother sang a little too.
Sadly, I found out in the middle of my film class recently that he had passed away. I feel terribly unsatisfied that I didn't get to hang out with him more. I'm just glad that I got to know him as well as I did. I loved him so much. He was such a great person and was so wise. I remember him telling my sister and I that we can do anything we want if we work hard enough for it. He was great for advice.
Everyone on this comment page had an experience with him. Maybe they didn't meet him or he wasn't their uncle but they knew him from something. I just look at all the comments and I say, he really was something special, wasn't he? He was a bit of an inspiration. He had so much life to give and has been through it all. Its great to see these nice comments. Thank you.
P.S. Aunt Annette, I love you so much.
-Emily M.

Some Old Hippie said...

I want to say how sad I was to here of Jonathans passing. I only met him once at his mothers house in Roseville. I went to school with his brother David. I remember listening to Jonathans album over and over. The album was stolen from my house during a break in several years ago. Whoever took it I hope they enjoy it as much as I did. Pleasant journeys Jonathan!

Anonymous said...

Howdy-

I was deeply saddened to read of John's passing in the Detroit Free Press this AM....

John and I were best friends/brothers/room mates in the late 60's-early 70's in Roseville, Michigan, where we both grew up. In fact, he credited me as his 'spiritual mentor' on his album. I wish all of you could have known John as a man, and as a folksinger, which is what he really began his performing career as. Although I am happy he had a chance to put his music on vinyl for posterity, the album in no way reflects the beauty of his songs when it was just him and his guitar....
Perhaps the closest to his stage performance is 'tolou' which was/is a love song to Louise (Lou to her friends), and never fails to elicit a smile from me when I listen to it.
We went our seperate ways, in fact, due to that album. I told him it was over-produced by Mike Theodore and Ted Coffey and had ruined his music, and that was the beginning of the end...
I will always remember him as a great friend, great poet, and a brother.
Many the adventure; Happy the times!
Les (aka 'Captain Peace')

P.S. The 'Johnathan/Johnathon' dichotomy is a result of his stage name vs. birth name.

Anonymous said...

P.S.

Jimmy K, how ya doin'? ;)

-Capt. Peace-

Bobby Brennan said...

My deepest condolences to the M. family. I was in a band with David in the early 70's. I met Jonathan maybe two or three times. He was larger than life....not only a huge physical presence, but just a brilliant man to talk to. I have fond memories of that family and spending time at the huge house in Roseville. That house was always filled with love. I am sure that love will carry the M. family through these difficult times.

Betty said...

Jonathan Round Marshmallow King! I will never forget you as many have attested to on this blog! You were larger than life! I grew up with the Mariotto family for many years where I lived down the street, and we were the "other" family with ten children, although not one of us had the artistic talent of this family!

I remember spending my first Christmas far away from home in California in 1976 with Jonathan and other transplants from Michigan, and he made me feel so safe and gave me a sense of "home"......he was truly my big brother too. But I know, as Johnny and I discussed many times, that he lives on in many of us. My heart is heavy today after hearing of his death, but I celebrate his life and the gifts he left to all of us. Much love to the beautiful Mariotto family.

Betty Ragle

Anonymous said...

Howdy-

The mention of 'Train' sparked another memory....

One night ( I have no idea when or where; very possibly the Raven Coffeehouse) John was on-stage doing his between-song patter (which was VERY funny!) when, off in the not-to-distant distance) a train whistle sounded.

Without a moment's hesitation, he grabbed the instant and went into 'Trains', which, now that I think about it, is another tune where, if you filter all the production stuff out, you can hear the John I cherish....
Damn, this is tough.
After I returned to MI from CA in the mid-90's, I found out he was palying a gig at a local bowling alley lounge. I phoned all the people from our old group of friends, and 9 or 10 of us showed up unannounced at the gig. It was really good to see and hear him again, and I only wish we had brought the kids with us.

Captain Peace said...

Howdy-

Found a link to a website where John himself posted about his album in 2008. Here's a link....

http://rateyourmusic.com/artist/jonathan_round

I miss him a lot.

Captain Peace said...

Rio-

Thanks for your post. It's great to know that John found another 'family' to love and be loved by on his travels. ;)

Wendy Clem said...

I was crushed to hear John had left us. I remembered him, however, in my column at examiner.com, which can be viewed here:

http://www.examiner.com/x-1800-Detroit-City-Buzz-Examiner~y2009m3d20-Remembering-artist-John-Mariotto-aka-Jonathan-Round

Sleep well, oh Marshmallow King.

Barry said...

I had J.R.'s round album back in the 70s and loved it!

I google his name now and then, to see if I can find a copy.

Leto Covington said...

I'm greatly sadden to hear of the passing of John. My sympathies go out to the Mariotto family. I worked with John for a short time and a longer period with his brother Davey. The whole family possess an amazing amount of talent.

John was a friendly man with a heart of gold. I'd love to get in touch with Dave so if anyone here knows how, I'll leave my email. I'm doing some radio these days and would love to do a tribute dedicated to him. So speaking with Dave or Frank would help alot.

Farewell friend, and may sympathy be with the devil for the lord has obtained a mighty member!

laymanradio@aol.com

p.s. Dave think of the late 70's, cooking and the name King and you'll know who this is.

Anonymous said...

For Leto Covington...

Is that your name?
Because I shall let my uncle know you are looking for him.
I know it might be a little late for a tribute but maybe you'd like to just say hello there old friend.
I don't know.

-Emily M.

P.S. Uncle John, I love and miss you, too much.

Timmy said...

Hi. I am not, nor have I ever been related to Jonathan, OR AM I??? The only reason I ventured into the "comment" field here, is to see for myself the stunning total of FIFTY FOUR comments left here. I have not been disapointed. Very illuminating to witness peoples in such an uproar. Thanx to ALL of youse who left comments. And, now, there are 55...

Anonymous said...

I first met Jon at the Raven Gallery in Southfield, Mi. I was dating his sister and we went to see her big brother. We have now been happily married for 34 years. I am proud to say I knew Jon. He visited us in Kalamazoo on his way to performances in Chicago. He lived with us in San Francisco when he was in California and became our chef cooking for us nightly. He babysat my children while we were working. My wife worked with his improv troup at the soup kitchen in Detroit as part of the Detroit Times Theatre company. He bought my car on his way back to California but got stuck in Colorado. I visited him many times in the Rockies as he became a "mountain man". He took care of the Sundance Motel at 8,000 feet. We tubbed at Glenwood Springs. I would say I knew him pretty well. He visited Detroit in the summer of 2008 for the first time in 20+ years and we were fortunate to get a complete family photo of him, his 9 brothers and sisters and his mom who survives him at age 84. Jon did pass away shortly after the visit, sitting at his chair, sleeping quietly. His ashes were scattered in the Rockies, his home of 20 years. We have all of his music and an incredible collection of his press and recording to remember him by. My son, who also passed was a carbon copy. We figure they are both "up there" laughing at the rest of us down here and enjoying themselves to no end. In loving memory. Jimmy

Anonymous said...

It's with overwhelming sadness that I write this, having learned of Johnny's passing only yesterday. I was so fortunate to have known and worked as keyboardist with John on one of those independently produced, unreleased albums. I cherish those memories. My deepest sympathies extended to his family. Susie Woodman

Anonymous said...

I took an improv class from him at the Performance Network in Spring of 86. Performed with an improv troup that he directed that summer in Flint. Saw him in Miricle on 34th Street at Wayne State, I think. Observed a theater class he taught at Detroit Country Day for kids which inspired me to teach similar classes in Ann Arbor. I'vve been wondering how and where he's been all these years. So glad to have found this blog! Glad he did write the book he said he wanted to. Hope to find it. Loretta

Anonymous said...

Funny I was thinking about Jonathan today and played the CD his brother sent me following Jon's celebration of his life service. The Loretta writes on this blog, it must be Karma.

Anonymous said...

I was in that same improv class with Loretta, in Ann Arbor in the '80s. Jonathan was the Buddha. He totally brought out the performer in me, and to this day I use it - as a university lecturer in Ireland! Every now and then something he said to me back then will pop into my mind and I think fondly on him and wonder whatever happened to him...I am really sad to find out he's no longer with us. He was very kind and very nurturing to me. Patty

garalino said...

i finally found this LP! This is the one album I've been looking for, finally got it (in great shape). Managing a record shop Melodies & Memories (Eastpointe MI) 25 years, we had many of this album over the years. In the last ten years it dissapeared and this is one of those lp's we just never get in anymore. This version of Sympathy is so spooky and cool at the same time. Must have this lp!

Anonymous said...

http://www.examiner.com/city-buzz-in-detroit/remembering-artist-john-mariotto-aka-jonathan-round This article seems to show him as having passed away...

levbob said...

I worked with Jon at the Earl of Old Town and a few other venues in Chicago. I have photos from those gigs and just uncovered a reel to reel of one of his sets. I'm happy to make them available to his family for whatever purpose they desire.
I loved playing behind him and just thought of him (again) tonight when an apology was needed from me to my 17 year old. "I was Wrong - What a feeling".
Jon's not gone. He's alive, loud, full of energy and quite round, right here in my heart.

Bob (Gordon) Levine and Hillary Mapes Levine

levbob said...

I worked with Jon at the Earl of Old Town and a few other venues in Chicago. I have photos from those gigs and just uncovered a reel to reel of one of his sets. I'm happy to make them available to his family for whatever purpose they desire.
I loved playing behind him and just thought of him (again) tonight when an apology was needed from me to my 17 year old. "I was Wrong - What a feeling".
Jon's not gone. He's alive, loud, full of energy and quite round, right here in my heart.

Bob (Gordon) Levine and Hillary Mapes Levine

Leto Covington said...

Bob, I would love to get ahold of the video/films. I did a tribute show on the air for Jonathan and I know his brother David well. I'd love to take the films and have them put on dvd and gift both to his brother. Please let me know.

you can email me at Laymanradio@aol.com

Thanks, Leto Covington

Anonymous said...

Sad to hear of his passing. I first saw Jon perform at h e Gnome on Woodward Ave. in the late 70's. He did SFTD and it was amazing. Moreso, he did a cover of the Cars "Just what I needed" and before that I hated that song. His acoustic version was so beautiful. Early 80's he wrote a play/rock opera I believe entitled Evening at the Paradise. It was performed at the Attic theatre. Saw it numerous times. Wonderful.

Anonymous said...

i can not believe i found this on line. They played the Hell (no pun) out of this song up in Detroit 40 some years ago and have been searching for the name of the artist that did this song with such style and class - Thank you for this post - thank you.

Robert Roock said...

Jon was and is a dear friend. I think of him daily. R.Roock

Chris Radanovich Segatti said...

Lester! This is Chris, Louise (the subject of Tolou) Radanovich's sister. Just found this blog. My sister and I reminisce sometimes about the good ol' days. I've always remembered and loved those lyrics. Just today, my brother asked me if I remembered the name of Aldo's band--can't remember! It's only been 43 years. :)

We're presently living (of all places) in northeast Alabama. Retired and moved down
here. If you read this, Lester, would love to hear from you! Hope life has been good to you.

Chris

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if John's mother is Maria Antoinette Portuesi Mariotto? If so, he is the step grandson of a cousin, Dominic Mazzolo. Would like to know where John is buried.

Anonymous said...

I just came across this thread. So sad to hear of Jonathan's passing. I was just thinking of him and decided to see what was on the web. I played the character of Lou Sleef (lead singer) in his punk rock musical "Evening at the Paradise". He was a wonderful influence on me. I can be found quite easily on the web as I now live in California. If his book ever came out I would love to get a copy. Del Howison del@darkdel.com

Anonymous said...

Johnathon was great, I took an improve class with him in 82 he was
funny, witty, loved how he would sit on the end of stage and correct
anyone in class no stooges or nyuk nyuk in my class. He was good he
always cherished and loved talking about Del Close too godspeed big guy.

Fine Wine said...

I just came upon this thread. Through a family connection, I have a test pressing of an unreleased album of his, likely the one that would have been his second for Westbound. Presumably there'd be some interest in getting this properly issued....Feel free to contact me. Matt Wengarden

Fine Wine said...

Ha, that's WEINgarden.