September 23, 2023

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Roadrunner music venue named after song to open up at Boston Landing

A large new music venue named after a classic Massachusetts tune is coming to Boston Landing — and, if you come in the right way, you can in fact drive past the Stop & Shop with the radio on.

The Bowery Presents, the company behind downtown music venue and dance club Royale, plans to open up a 50,000-square-foot, 3,500-person-capacity concert venue next spring called “Roadrunner.”

This comes after multiple big-name venues shut down amid the pandemic. Bowery wrote in its press release that the spot under construction at 89 Guest St. will be “New England’s largest general admission indoor music venue.”

It’s slated to be the latest addition to Allston/Brighton’s Boston Landing area, which has sprung up in the past few years with a combination of new apartments and office space — plus the big New Balance headquarters and the Bruins and Celtics practice spots.

The song “Roadrunner” by The Modern Lovers was a popular song in the area in the 1970s with a music video that showed a first-person perspective of someone driving a car around Boston under a blue sky. Jonathan Richman’s composition shouts out Stop & Shop and other Massachusetts references.

Multiple bills have attempted to make the upbeat ’70s rock jam the official state rock song. Then-Rep. Martin Walsh in 2013 pushed to make one of his last acts before becoming mayor to get a bill to that effect through the State House after his adviser Joyce Linehan turned him onto it.

The bill — a bipartisan work co-sponsored by then-Sen. Bob Hedlund, now Weymouth’s mayor — received a favorable recommendation from a legislative committee, but it wasn’t approved. Hedlund, a big classic rock fan, kept up the fight in the next legislative session, reintroducing the proposal with Rep. David Paul Linsky, who represents Natick — home of the band.

Linsky continues to re-introduce the bill every couple of years, most recently this March. The bill, H.3193, remains in committee. It reads quite simply, “The song, ‘Roadrunner’, words and music by Jonathan Richman, as recorded by Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers shall be the official rock song of the Commonwealth.”

The state’s official song is “All Hail To Massachusetts.” There’s no official rock song, yet. There is a folk song, Arlo Guthrie’s “Massachusetts.”