[Jandek] Jandek Fan Ethnography

Joe Henry farmofarmo at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 12 21:58:39 PDT 2006

I'm sending this out to the list too, and encourage
others to send theirs, I think they'll make an
interesting read.

Are you male or female?
How old are you? 

What part of the world do you come from? 
Detroit, Michigan

How did you get into Jandek? What is your ‘story’? 
It was around Halloween of 2001, he was on a list of
"scary" musicians (the list also included GG Allin).

How do you define being a Jandek fan? Do you consider
yourself a Jandek fan? 
Anyone who's listened to one of his albums all the way
through qualifies as a Jandek fan to me. And I've
listened to all of them (except some of the newest

Why did you join the mailing list? How often do you
post? Do you receive posts in digest format?
Well, back when I first joined, I thought it kind of
weird that Jandek had a mailing list. I mean, usually,
mailing lists for musicians talked about tour dates,
rare releases or side projects, interviews, etc, none
of which Jandek had at the time (except the Vine
article). But actually there have been some really
interesting posts over the years, some illuminating
explanations of lyrical references, stories about
talking with Sterling Smith, etc. One of my favorite
posts was when someone discovered that the background
noise on some of Jandek's reissue CDs was infact the
other side of his old tapes bleeding through. So,
theoretically, if you play it backwards and turn it
up, you could hear some unofficial Jandek out-takes. I
used to post, I did a lot of transcriptions for the
site, but I haven't in a long time. I don't do the
digest format. 
What do your friends and family think about Jandek?
What do they think about you listening to Jandek? 
They hate it, of course. Jandek makes for a good
conversation piece at first, but when they hear you
actually listening to those crashing drums on your
headphones, I think there's a lot of eye-rolling going

To what extent does the ‘myth of Jandek’ – the mystery
surrounding his identity – appeal to you? 
Well, like I said, the myth is a cool little story,
but if I didn't like the music, I wouldn't bother
spending my money for it. In a way, every artist
creates a mythology around him/herself (think Dylan),
you listen to the lyrics to find out who this person
is, or what makes them special. Only with Jandek the
lyrics are pretty much the ONLY information you get.

Have you ever tried to contact Corwood Industries or
Sterling Smith for reasons other than placing an
order? What happened? 
Yeah, I called him up with some bullshit excuse about
changing my order. I got an answering machine message
that said "This... is Corwood Industries." He called
me back the next day, sounding just like the records
(and exactly like the Trubee interview, the same dopey
official tone), we had a brief exchange about which CD
I wanted, then it was over. Of course I immediately
regretted not attempting small talk. I've also asked
him questions in mailings, like whether "The Place"
used electric guitar (it did).

What is your perception of other Jandek fans? 
They're the same people who like free jazz and Keiji
Haino, Jim O'rourke and John Zorn. Kind of dorky guys
with good record collections. 

Why do you like Jandek? 
His lyrics are really unique and avoid cliches, he's
got this "ongoing diary" vibe that I get off Jean-Luc
Godard too. That's all I can think of right now.

How often do you listen to Jandek? 
Not too much anymore, I went through I period one year
where it made up like 50% of my listening time. I
don't really like the new albums, and I've already
listened to the old ones too many times.

What other music do you listen to? 
Sonic Youth, old country, old '77 punk stuff, kitchy
(sp?) music from the 60s, Dylan. And Erase Errata,
that band rocks.

Is there anything I have not asked that you would like
to tell me? 

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