[Jandek] Re: Mahogany Brain / Godz

Daniel Marks alfredggnome at yahoo.com
Wed Jun 9 20:57:23 PDT 2004

I don't know how sure we can be that Jandek was
influenced by these obscure people. Seems from his
lyrics that he's into mostly mainstream stuff like the
blues and popular musicians like Dylan, who he refers
to a couple times; the Zappa quote is as out there as
he seems to get. I don't think he was ever trying to
create obscurist music. It's more that he was just
doing what he thought expressed his words the best.
Note how eagar he is to play normal blues throughout
the famed middle period. Of course, I could be wrong,
he might have a huge outsider music collection (I've
never heard the Godz or any outsiders aside from

I've just always thought these "outsider" guys were
each in their own worlds, and we lump them together as
"outsider" even though they're all different, being
different is the only thing they have in common. How 
is that for a paradox!

A lot of people say Jandek's success with anonymity is
impressive, but he's not totally anonymous. He wants
people to hear the music, but only to the extent that
he can stay secret. If he really wanted everything to
be a secret, he would never have pressed the records.
Heck, my band is more non-commerical than Jandek if
you look at it like that. We haven't put out a record
yet! I'm reminded of the Malkmus quote. "Why would
anyone who's serious about music want to stay
unknown?" I don't think it actually applies to Jandek.
Sterling (?) wants Jandek to be known, just not the
man behind it. What's truly impressive is his absolute
dedication to the "art before the artist" concept.
He's pretty much unique in that area. Can you think of
an artist or group who's surpassed him in that regard?

You also said he's different from the Shaggs because
they believed they were brilliant. He must have
thought his stuff was pretty hot too. He rambled
excitedly about it in the Chusid letter, and once
again the mere fact that he printed it up shows he had
some ambition. Given, the Shaggs thought they were
making "pop" music, Jandek had never had that

At the same time, he's not some loner. He had friends
and a job, etc. Just a normal guy with a strange
hobby. Does it really make him a better or "truer"
musician if he doesn't have keychains? Heck, the
Beatles had every piece of merchandise known to man,
but they were still great songwriters. As long as the
music stays priority number one, I'm cool with
anything an artist wants to do to promote himself or

--- djobe at uark.edu wrote:
> Neat, Josh.  I've got to say that's a new one.  For
> those newer to the list who've never heard my rant
> about them, pick up the first two Godz albums
> (sounding really great on the remastered ESP
> editions from 3 years ago or so).  It's hard not to
> see some influence on Jandek, and probably on
> Mahogany Brain (though the Godz can rock too - check
> out "radar eyes" on Godz 2, one of the best garage
> rockers ever).
> That said, one thing I'll argue in Jandek's favor
> that I can't with most other "outsider" artists is
> his ambition.  this to me is what separates him from
> the truly insane, the "one hit wonders" found on the
> Key of Z discs, for instance. Or my beloved Shooby
> Taylor, who did one thing very very well, if that's
> your thing... Lucia Pamela could never have been
> anything but what she was.  "Progress" was
> impossible.  Even Daniel Johnston, my favorite
> songwriter of the "outsiders," only advances with
> the help of others, a help Jandek has denied himself
> by his self-imposed obscurity.  Which leads me to an
> old point - like the Godz and the Fugs (get their
> second album) Jandek is NOT an outsider artist in
> the demented sense.  He's not a Syd Barrett or Skip
> Spence who withered away and left us fractured
> recordings of their mental demise.  He's not the
> Shaggs, believing they were brilliant when they
> couldn't even play.  He's doing this
> intentionally,and he's progressing!  Each album, to
>  me, is a very deliberate release, and unlike the
> similarly anonymous Residents, he doesn't bother
> with a website and fucking keychains (keychains!) to
> promote his music.  No DVDs, no t-shirts, just his
> music as he sees it.  If you like it, great. If not,
> oh well. This is the ambition of a great artist, and
> I love it about the guy.
> Okay, my usual spiel, but sometimes I like to toss
> that out again.
> Put "Blue Corpse" up on my faves as well, btw.  It
> really is something. Get the vinyl if you can.  
> Can't wait to hear this new album!  One of the great
> things with Jandek is that like Neil Young, you
> never know what the hell you're going to get. I love
> this guy.
> blabbing in Arkansas,
> Danen
> > Has anyone out there heard the French group from
> early 70ıs called
> ³Mahogany Brain²  ????
> I just found a cd of their called ³Smooth Sick
> Lights² and I canıt believe
> how much it resembles JANDEK...
>     rambling guitars,drum, vocals.... Letting the
> songs kind of crumble and
> pull back together.
> Really interesting stuff. Iım amazing a label in the
> early 70ıs released
> this stuff.
> I wonder if Jandek owns a record by this group and
> is influenced. I am
> really serious. 
> This band is really similar.
> Info here at Forced Exposure, (Iım surprised they
> donıt mantion Jandek in
> the write up)
> > _______________________________________________
> jandek mailing list
> jandek at mylist.net
> http://mylist.net/listinfo/jandek
> > _______________________________________________
> jandek mailing list
> jandek at mylist.net
> http://mylist.net/listinfo/jandek

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