[Jandek] Speaking of The Units...

Aunt Acid anxietyparty at yahoo.com
Wed Jul 4 18:34:58 PDT 2007

Hello all,
I was just discussing Corwood-theories the other day with a friend and it occurred to us that even though the name Jandek was explained by the man himself in the Trubee interview, no light has ever been shed on what the meaning behind calling the project The Units. After some discussing this, we arrived at what we feel is a very plausible theory. Here goes:
We do know that the Rep was in his thirties when Ready For The House was pressed, given that the birthdate for Sterling Smith is 1943. This is also doubly confirmed when you hear his speaking voice on the phone interview with Trubee...definitely sounds like a man in his thirties to us. With that in mind, many of the early period records (if not all of them) do not sound like a thirty year old (or older) man is singing on them, but instead they sound to us like someone who could be anywhere from a teenager to someone in their early-mid twenties. So, if you consider Smith recording the actual albums back in the sixties instead of the seventies, and then "sitting on them" until 1978 (esp. planning to sit on all of them since he indicated there weren't supposed to be any more than RFTH), then this leaves a decade or so long gap between the recording of these albums and their actual hard release. All that being said, we theorize that Mr. Smith went to Vietnam for a few years,
 and that The Units is a reference to something military. It's very easy to imagine a middle/lower class guy out in Texas in the sixties, either being drafted or even volunteering to join the army during the war, and especially when you look at some of the cover images (Lost Cause and The Living End come to mind) his haircut does seem like something a kid in the military would sport. Besides, what could be more life-changing than a horrible war like Vietnam? This also might explain why he's retained such steadfast anonymity and privacy all these years. There's alot to me about Corwood that's pretty militaristic...the cut and dry attitude of the plain image covers with uniform black text on white for the labels, some of the lyrical references (which of course aren't a very trustworthy source to be taken literally, I know) and even the fact that Smith has been able to generate enough money continually to afford to press this many albums year after year, as well as pay
 shipping, with Corwood not exactly being the most commercially viable business...army checks! If he was in the military in Vietnam, you'd bet your ass he'd get checks each month for the rest of his days. 

Anyway, just speculation as always, but we thought this was all pretty interesting to consider. Thoughts?

----- Original Message ----
From: "jandek-request at mylist.net" <jandek-request at mylist.net>
To: jandek at mylist.net
Sent: Wednesday, July 4, 2007 12:00:26 AM
Subject: jandek Digest, Vol 55, Issue 145

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Today's Topics:

   1. RE: The Units (Dlugosz, John J)
I’ve got the “Warm Moving Bodies” single, which is a favorite of mine from that era. A big hit on my local college radio station (WESU) back when I was an impressionable high school boy (late 70s). Found the single many years later at a shop in Phoenix. Haven’t heard the album (didn’t know there was one), but I’d highly recommend the single I’ve got-- certainly nothing like the Corwood Rep. Were they really threatening to sue? 
Amazingly, there’s a rather extensive Wikipedia page on these folks: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Units. Our man has a keener style sense, for certain. 
From: Shawn Gates [mailto:shawn.gates at gmail.com] 
Sent: Monday, July 02, 2007 1:21 PM
To: Brad B
Cc: jandek at mylist.net
Subject: Re: [Jandek] The Units
I have an album of theirs. I actually like it a lot but it sounds nothing like Jandek. They were a new wave type of band with drums and synth. There is a page about them at: http://www.synthpunk.org/units/ 
On 7/2/07, Brad B <jealousagain38 at gmail.com> wrote:
Hey, I was just wondering if anyone on the list has heard music by the Units that were threatening to sue Jandek in the 70's. I was interested in hearing it, and was curious about whether it was worth it or not.

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