Yet Another Jandek Mythology (was Re: [Jandek] Brast Burn)

Larry Tremblay larrytremblay at
Sat Jan 24 08:08:50 PST 2004

    I read in the paper
    It said a man was shot to death
    It said a cow gave poison milk
    Big time in the city / when you wear those boots
                Jandek, "Naked in the Afternoon"

More Jandek Mythology:

When I first came across 'Ready for the House' I was
18 years old (I'm 42 now), so I've always listened to
Jandek as though he were a peer, age-wise, a few years or
so older than me. Since there was so little context to go
on while listening to his music, I developed my own mythology
about him. For instance, to me the meaning of the title
"Ready for the House" has something to do with Jandek's
preparation to do some jail time. This partly explains
why there's a such a large gap between the first and second

Here's part of the backstory:

Jandek came from 'the North' and was probably tramatized by
his family relocating to Texas (and wherever else before that,
maybe the Ohio valley area). His family moved around a lot and
probably ended up in Texas during the Oil boom of the late
1970's. I imagine his father followed the boom (and eventual
bust) hoping to get wealthy provide his family with a better
life. I'm guessing his Dad was a dreamer (and a big influence):

    You got real fancy instincts
    But your mouth is so large
    I think I see a hundred people in it
    I guess you like it that way
    Because you're a flop
                - Jandek, "They Told Me I Was a Fool"

His Dad may have been in the military and had a hard time
making ends meet when he was discharged after the war.
Jandek refers to his father's problems and his sudden
death in a car accident (which he may have witnessed)
in the following lines:

    I see your insides aren’t the same since 1951
    You’re dying inside a window
    I saw your face all cut with glass

    And underneath the window
    The hands you dug your grave with
    You could have built an empire
                 - Jandek, "They Told Me I Was a Fool"

Obviously, Jandek is/was close to his Grandmother whom
he addresses in "First You Think Your Fortune’s Lovely",
which is about disillusionment:

    Grandmama I feel so lonely
    My rapture’s painted on the floor

All this mythologizing is the thing I love most about
Jandek - his music is so open-ended and conducive to
personal interpretation. I think this accounts for his
recent surge in popularity and interest. He's the only
artist I've come across who's music allows you to get
out of it exactly what you bring to it. His music is
the aural equivalent of the slightly out-of-focus
album cover photographs. Magical.

- Larry

----- Original Message -----
From: "Paul Condon" <paulgcondon at>
To: <jandek at>
Sent: Friday, January 23, 2004 4:23 PM
Subject: RE: [Jandek] Brast Burn

> >On another note, jandek is from Providence, Rhode Island originally.
> Hmmm. I always thought the following line, from Georgia East on the Nine
> Thirty album, might be significant:
> "You people sure are strange to a city boy from up north"
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