[Jandek] Re: 3 Jandek questions for The Dallas Morning News

Seth Tisue seth at tisue.net
Wed May 25 13:25:38 PDT 2005

answers to questions from a journalist:

 > 1). It sounds like you enjoyed the shows immensely, but is Jandek
 > any less mysterious than he was before you went to the shows? Is
 > there still a strong sense of mystique in your mind?

 > 3). Will he be able to keep up the mystery and mystique if he
 > keeps doing live shows?

I strongly object to all this talk about "mystery" and "mystique", as if
constantly explaining your own art and sharing your private life with
the press is somehow normal, and letting your music speak for itself
somehow isn't.  (Calvin Johnson expressed this same thought well in the

But I will say that in my opinion, lately things have been getting more
interesting, not less.  As far as being able to "keep up", he has a
nearly 30-year track record now of continually coming up with new
surprises to throw at us.

I find the way he's gone about doing the shows quite consistent with his
earlier persona.

 > 2). What's your theory on why, now, is Jandek finally doing some
 > live shows?

I see two rather obvious, and mutually compatible, explanations.  One is
that he quit his job or retired, and the other is that he went through
some kind of serious illness.  Both are just speculation of course, but
there's plenty of support for both in the new lyrics.

Additional support for the former is that in addition to playing live,
he's also started cranking out albums at a greatly increased rate (six
in the last year and a half).

Additional support for the latter is how thin he looks.  It's not normal
for a man of his age.  I hasten to say I don't think he's dying; I don't
get that impression either from the lyrics, or from having been in the
same room with him.  All the lines in "The Cell" about illness and
recovery are pretty plain.

Seth Tisue - seth at tisue.net - http://tisue.net
"We have some ontological problems and now I think
a whole pile of shit is coming from the cosmos." - Bela Tarr

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