[Jandek] Re: jandek Digest, Vol 54, Issue 162 ("jandek the concept")

djobe djobe at uark.edu
Tue Aug 8 15:44:04 PDT 2006

Thoughts on thoughts:

> * Nancy, Mike, and John seem to have done a good job of respecting   
> Sterling's wishes over the years. As we know from the telephone   
> interview, SRS "doesn't think it would be right" to disclose   
> information about them.

That full minute of silence on the Trubee interview has always  
represented, to me, the end of the SRS/Jandek who wrote to Irwin  
Chusid and the birth of the anonymous Jandek. He'd been working to it  
for a bit, obviously, as evidenced by his deciding not to sell his  
records at the swap meet, but I think it was right then - while being  
interviewed - that he decided to retract all information from the  

> * here's a tangent, tho, or a new line of discussion: if SRS ever   
> intended (even partly) that disarticulating his music from the whole  
>  rigmarole of promotion / interviewing would get his music listened   
> to / scrutinized / meditated upon more than usual... has it worked,   
> or backfired on him? remember, SRS has been rumoured to have had   
> literary aspirations. as an avant-garde poetics doctoral candidate,   
> i totally endorse the idea of "Jandek-as-great-poetry" - any takers?  
>  "The Cell" certainly reads pretty impressively to me...

I think it's worked brilliantly, if one assumes that he realized how  
long it would take for the content of his lyrics and music to be  
appreciated away from the legend. Judging by what he's said regarding  
the "burned books," I think he gave up on the idea of mass media  
success early on, and only after seeing that Phil Milstein "got" his  
music did he think that he could be appreciated artistically. So the  
last twenty-six years have been a struggle to get the music recognized  
as relevant, something that he's been ultimately successful at. I hear  
more and more people every year recognizing the music as having value  
beyond the personae. The persona was necessary to get here, I think,  
but the integrity of the music and lyrics have been strong enough to  
stand against the scrutiny of the Chusid article and people who  
believed Jandek was only valuable as a side-show curiousity.

As to the artistic value of it, I'm all about it. His early lyrics  
work well as "song lyrics" (moon/june/spoon hard rhyme scheme doesn't  
read as well, but works in context) but his albums post- 12'th Apostle  
are at times remarkable as poetry. I'd argue, in fact, that his albums  
post-I Threw You Away often function BETTER as lyrical albums than as  
musical ones, with the music forming more or less a backdrop for the  
continuing storyline that forms the theme of each record (and each one  
DOES have a central theme, many of them continuing the "relationship"  
storyline of the disc before).

  The brilliance of the live records is that he's synthesized the two:  
musically diverse and lyrically solid.

Have I mentioned that I can't wait for the Toronto and Chicago shows?


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