[Jandek] Disappointment?

Seth Tisue seth at tisue.net
Mon Oct 18 11:06:18 PDT 2004

>> it's kind of a bummer, really. don't you think?

Well, sure.  But it's also kind of awesome.  He's Jandek, he can do
whatever the fuck he wants -- including crawl out of the hole he's been
hiding in for 26 years and slay the imaginary Jandeks in all of our
heads.  I've always opposed the tendency of some to treat him as a
mythical retard savant rather than as an adult human being making
consciously crafted art.  It's not a matter of courtesy, but of
accuracy.  So if his stepping onto the stage can help change that, then
more power to him.  Death to "Jandek", long live Jandek.

The change began in 1999 when he started reissuing his old albums on CD
and assented to the Texas Monthly interview.  He's opened up even
further since then, answering many of people's mailed or phoned
questions, helping with the documentary, sending me press clippings, and
so on.  I'm as shocked as everyone that this concert happened, but in
retrospect it seems like a logical development.  One of the things that
the documentary makes clear is that the first Jandek LP was the only
"pure" one, and ever since then he's been in a feedback loop where his
output is definitely sustained, if not shaped, by attention from fans
and reviewers, attention that he both rebuffs and thrives on, in a
single dynamic.

There is one real disappointment about this for me, though, and it's
that Jandek is playing with established figures from the avant music
circuit rather than by himself or with the people who play on his
records.  I think that getting mixed up in the world of endless
organizer-orchestrated matchups and collaborations is absolutely the
last thing he needs, musically, quite apart from any issues of image or

Seth Tisue - seth at tisue.net - http://tisue.net

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