The Massachusetts native founded the Modern Lovers in 1970 with Jerry Harrison (later of the Talking Heads) and David Robinson (who would join the Cars), and he hasn't stopped writing, recording, and touring since. Richman and his original bandmates were definitely influenced by the two- and three-chord song progressions of the Velvet Underground.
In fact, the first Modern Lovers recordings (recorded in 1972, but not released until 1976) were produced by John Cale, the Welsh multi-instrumentalist who was a founding member of the Velvets.
Jonathan Richman's live shows are an absolute treat. From the first time I saw him -- which was many moons ago at the Mason Jar -- till the last time, which was early last summer at the Crescent Ballroom (where he is scheduled to play Wednesday at 8 p.m.), I have never been even remotely disappointed.
Back in the day, it was almost like going to a secret meeting of a club with only a select few members; I would see the same folks at each "Jonathan" show.