[Jandek] Fwd: jandek story

BF_Mowat mwt6653 at yahoo.ca
Thu Sep 14 11:10:10 PDT 2006

    i'm not sure how to send you the link, but here's the story in the toronto star, "what's on" section

Jandek gives up the ghost
  Folk music's most mysterious loner surfaces in T.O.
Reclusive artist's decision to tour amazes followers
  Sep. 14, 2006. 01:00 AM

Is the world closing in on Jandek, or is the famously mysterious and reclusive roots artist making a tentative step into the light of conventional celebrity?The 50-something songwriter's fans are an enormous and fastidious international cult, devouring every one of the more than 40 eerie, modal, unclassifiable albums Jandek has released since 1978 on his Corwood Industries label from a post office box address in Houston, Tex. And now they're pondering the possible reasons for the artist's decision, just over a year ago, to give his myth temporal form by performing live in front of paying audiences for the first time in his long and strange career."I can't figure it out," expatriate Canadian musician, record producer and underground music journalist Gary "Pig" Gold said earlier this week from his home in New Jersey. Gold is something of an official Jandek chronicler, having received unsolicited albums and handwritten notes, apparently but not certainly from the
 well-concealed recording artist ever since he favourably reviewed one of Jandek's early and outrageously obscure albums. Gold was featured as one of the expert talking heads who made up for the lack of a flesh-and-bones subject in the nonetheless compelling documentary Jandek On Corwood. It was screened briefly in Toronto last year under the aegis of the alternative movie distribution company, Films We Like, operated by Toronto music promoter Garry Topp and filmmaker Ron Mann. "For 30 years Jandek has deliberately avoided any kind of public contact," Gold added. "No one knows who he is, where he lives and what he does for a living. He has only done one interview, in 1985, and has never spoken directly or indirectly to the media since. He has cultivated a devoted secret society by speaking only through his music."And all of a sudden, he's up on stage, in Glasgow and Austin, London, Helsinki, New York, Newcastle, Bristol, Chicago ... and now Toronto. Not that he says
 anything. He just sings and plays, reading from a sheaf of lyrics he has apparently just written ... doesn't even make eye contact with the crowd."There's a meaning to all of this ... he's up to something."After a long and loopy courtship, during which he spoke mostly to a voice message machine and only a handful of times to someone claiming to be a "Corwood Industries representative," Topp secured Jandek's 17th live show for Toronto, this Sunday. He's staging it, out of respect for the eccentric, otherworldly nature of both the artist and his music, at The Centre Of Gravity, the remains of a vaudeville theatre  The Classic, circa 1914  in Toronto's once-wicked east end."It's a fantastic venue for Jandek's music," said Topp. "It's owned by an agent for circus performers, and he runs it as a circus gym and rehearsal space. The theatre has all these weird concealed corridors, gangways and trap doors. They say Houdini performed there, before it became a burlesque house.
 Jandek needs something special ... and as soon as I saw this place, I knew he would love it."For the uninitiated  and they are legion, since Jandek's atonal yawp, his melancholy lyrics, and his efforts to force untuned acoustic and electric guitars, pianos and occasional synthesizers into disquieting musical shapes rigorously reinforce his renowned disinterest in conventional notions of acceptance  the artist known as Jandek is not to be taken lightly.             
  `There's a meaning to all this ... he's up to something'Gary "Pig" Gold about Jandek'ssudden stage appearances   
  He records prolifically, between two and six albums a year, and releases his work only to friendly college and alternative music radio stations, and via sparsely worded ads in little known music publications. Records are obtained  at the near-to-cost price of between $2 and $4 per unit  by writing to the Houston post office box ascribed to Corwood Industries. The music is primitively recorded live to tape, and shifts back and forth between raw, visceral and formless matter akin to primal country blues, raging spoken-word rants, soothing and almost elegiac impressionistic tone poems on piano, and hypnotic art song on synthesizers. It sounds like random improvisation, but true Jandek followers are mesmerized by themes, codes, places, characters, names and numbers that emerge in alluring patterns throughout the oeuvre, suggesting a very rigid artistic plan.Forensic spoilsports claim Jandek's real name is Sterling R. Smith, that he was born in 1945 in Ohio, before moving to
 suburban Houston, and is an office worker, maybe an executive, in the Firestone corporation, though no material proof has been produced.Whoever he is, Jandek is a genius, both of the musical and marketing arts, in the opinion of Danen Jobe, a Jandek aficionado who teaches English literature at the University of Arkansas. Jobe likens the mercurial artist to Ornette Coleman, Bob Dylan and Neil Young for his ability to shatter musical conventions and reinvent himself. "He has taken limited skills, the only tools he can work with, and erected an artistic identity that is alternatively terrifying and gratifying," said Jobe, who will be in Toronto Sunday night to catch Jandek's performance. On Monday Jobe will read excerpts from his novel, Niagra (sic) Blues: Slingerland, the first of a three-volume fiction based on the perhaps completely invented persona Jandek delivers in his music, at Circus Books and Music (253 Gerrard St. E.) at 6 p.m.As with the documentary, Jandek gave
 his encouragement to Jobe's work, but from a distance, with sparsely worded emails that carefully avoid any semblance of endorsement."In the end, it's not important who he is," said Jobe. "It's clear he's in it for the music, not the money. He's after immortality."Immortality that he risks by flaunting himself after all these years in public spectacles?"Maybe," said Jobe. "Sooner or later some fool will expose him. "But then, Jandek has to know that. Maybe he has a bigger plan ... " 
--   INDEPENDENT SINCE 1972   ph) 416-782-5697  fax) 416-782-7346  email) topps at sympatico.ca  www.filmswelike.com  www.sayahmusic.com  http://www.myspace.com/garytopp    7PM THIS SUN SEPT 17: JANDEK @ The Centre of Gravity   http://tisue.net/jandek    THIS FRI SEPT 15 (6pm Varsity) SAT SEPT 16 (11am Paramount) @ TORONTO FILM FEST, followed by drive-ins and movie houses across Canada...  TALES OF THE RAT FINK: Ron Mann's new film about custom cars and hot rods, monster t-shirts, the anti-Mickey Mouse, and the guy who started it all, ED 'BIG DADDY' ROTH www.talesoftheratfink.com      thurs sept 28: Fast Folk Underground w/ SAY AH! + EUGENE RIPPER + ARLENE BISHOP + ADAM WARNER + LIZARD JAMBOREE @ the Rivoli  fri oct 13: Brazil Groove w/ BADI ASSAD + MARACATU + LUANDA JONES @ Lula Lounge  www.badiassad.com.br  sun/mon oct 15 & 16: The God of Hellfire ARTHUR BROWN @ Lula Lounge www.godofhellfire.co.uk  tues oct 17: KENNETH ANGER introducing a retrospective of his films + ANGER
 ME, the new film about him @ the Bloor cinema  www.angerme.com  fri oct 20: VILETONES + SADIE MAY CRASH @ Lee's Palace http://www.inmusicwetrust.com/articles/34r34.html  mon oct 23: SARAH NONI METZNER + KEVIN QUAIN + ANDREW HAUGHTON @ Lula Lounge  www.sarahmetzer.ca  www.kevinquain.com  www.sayahmusic.com  sun nov 12: BEBOP COWBOYS @ Lula Lounge  www.bebopcowboys.com  wed nov 15 (2 shows 7 & 10pm): JAMES HUNTER @ Lula Lounge  www.jameshuntermusic.com                                                                                                  

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