[Jandek] jandek vs residents

djobe at uark.edu djobe at uark.edu
Thu Jul 15 21:00:52 PDT 2004

Okay, as something of a Resident's freak, AND a Jandek freak I figured I had to weigh in:

1. The Residents far precede Jandek, with "Santa Dog" going back to '72, and the stuff I list below some years before that.
2. The Residents are most certainly from Louisiana, and early movies go as far back as the late '60's, when the Beau Brummels were going through their country rock period. They had a bunch of tapes that precede even the legendary (legendary cause nobodys ever heard it) Warners tape.  i can testify that bits of the "Vileness Fats" soundtrack, "Baby Sex" (don't ask - you don't want to know) and a few other early works are almost certainly the creation of some post-college kids new to San Fran and looking to make art.  In fact, it was more ABOUT the visual aspect than the music originally BUT that kinda changed.  Then it changed back.  Kinda.
3. Cryptic Corp does state that the band sent the tape to Warners as an anonymous group because it was Capt Beef's label, and that indeed it was returned addressed to "The Residents."  they honestly never wanted a name, which leads me to:
4. The reason the Residents are anonymous are (as mentioned below) more for theatrical and artistic reasons than Jandek's.  I'll add this:  The place the two meet is in the idea that if you know who the artist is, you bring a certain expectation to the music.  If it could be anybody, you're forced to judge the art for what it is.  That said, the Residents have gone WELL out of their way to stir controversy and sell records (not a bad thing, that). They put out a mauled cover of "Satisfaction" without first getting the rights that you must hear if you haven't .  They hacked up the cover of "Meet the Beatles" for "Meet the Residents" got sued and ensured an audience.  They WANTED to be picked up by a major label, just on their own terms.  Jandek has NEVER wanted exposure outside of his audience.  He has given us one add that I'm aware of (Jandek on Corwood in OPtion) and has certainly never done a stage show dressed like a mummy.  Or a stage show at all. He also hasn't collabo
rated with a number of known musicians (like the late lamented Phil "Snakefinger" Lithman) or based albums around theories of art (like "Not Available," the Residents album that was not to have been released until the artists forgot its very existence - then was put out anyway four years after being recorded). 

So really, I see the Res as being closer in spirit to Beef and Zappa, but with a lot of Dali mixed in.  Theirs is a warped world worth visiting, especially the stuff between 72 and 80.  Note: The closest album to Jandek is their first - "Meet the Residents" or "Goosebumps" which is recorded entirely on toy instruments. Really though, this band may be off key from time to time (but intentionally in a free jazz sense) but it's more for artistic value.  The lead Res (Mr. Skull these days) really can sing a bit (and narrates awesomely) but Jandek can't sing at all and yet wails and warbles the hell out of some of his stuff.  Offtune yes, but passionate.  That's why I love it.  The Residents - I dig them a lot, even could say I genuinely love beyond measure, oh, three of their albums (and one of those, "Eskimo," is sung by an Intuit chorus that sounds mysteriously like the usual Residents back-up vocalists) but one more thing:

since releasing "The Commercial Album," The Residents have never changed their sound.  They've done LOTS of neat things with it (like an Elvis covers album) but it's essentially the same - Louisiana Man, two keyboards, and a drum machine.  Jandek's playing BASS right now for God's sake!!! COuld cheesy keyboards be next??? (I hope not) In other words, his stuff may be more primitive, but it genuinely moves me.  what a weirdo I am.

enough from me, buy "Eskimo" "Duck Stab" "Gotta Get Away" and (most of all) "Blue Corpse" if you don't have them and decide for yourself.  Go from there.

nighty night,


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The Residents are involved with the mafia. That's why nobody talks. The art mafia if you will. At any rate, in my opinion Jandek and the Residents have similar yet opposite approaches to their product.
The Residents sell themself by (making up?) their own mysterious past. In fact, most of the Residents work is presented carefully and so are their public appearances etc. They've attached their own personality to the Residents outside the music.
Jandek on the other hand does the same thing by doing the opposite. He makes no public appearances, and the only way you get any clue about his personality is through his music (which also seems much more genuine than Residents prod.)
Though I could be misunderstanding the whole situation. See? That's how they're similar. Keep the listener guessing with the whole anonymity aspect.
................oh! just their vocals? get outta here man. Jandek is a howl and and while and a whisper. Resinger is a growl, a shreik and a bellow. Very theatrical performance from the Resvocalist. Jandek does not appear to be theatrical.
So foo, you's out yo mind.

Have a nice day (and keep discussing)
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