[Jandek] Buy 'em all

Mark Cottle mark at airburst.co.uk
Mon Jan 17 11:40:33 PST 2011

I guess there are different types of fans. You don't have to own 
everything to be one. I suppose the very nature of the Jandek 
phenomenon means there's a certain type of fandom where it's 
important to get every release. What I mean is that for a long time 
the records were all there was and if you wanted to try to figure out 
what the heck it was all about then pretty much the only way to do so 
was to follow the releases and get some sense of how his output was 
evolving and look for themes that occur repeatedly. However, if 
you're less concerned about Jandek as a puzzle and/or you don't feel 
completist urges then it's still possible to be a fan by finding 
stuff you like and just listening to that. And, frankly, not everyone 
can afford to buy that many CDs and DVDs, even with discounts. 

Personally, there are significant parts of his output that I really 
don't like but I don't think this fact detracts from the stuff I do 
like and I don't think it makes him any less interesting - I'd like 
to think I respect him for what he is. I started out by buying 'Chair 
Beside a Window', 'Lost Cause', 'Glad To Get Away' and the DVD of 
'Glasgow Sunday' - largely on the basis of what I'd read. 'Chair...' 
and 'Lost Cause' as representative of the "early" period; 'Glad...' 
as an early example of the "late" period and 'Glasgow...' because of 
its significance as his initial venture into live playing. Having 
heard various further stuff I feel these weren't bad choices, 
although I'm less enamoured of 'Lost Cause' than the other two CDs.

I'd be interested on thoughts about which of the other live shows are 
worth listening to. (As a longtime fan of The Stooges and also of 
many SST bands I've been curious about the shows with Mike Watt. But 
I'm not necessarily after amped up discord and I could be equally 
into something much quiter and more ambient if the sound structure 
was interesting.)

I guess it's worth mentioning that my interest in Jandek is skewed by 
a couple of factors: (1) Because experimenting with guitar sounds is 
part of my own music making I have a particular curiosity about his 
guitar playing and I'm less drawn to his work with other instruments 
(although I'm still interested in it). (2) When I listen to music the 
aspect that most often has an impact on me is something to do with 
overall sound - Iyrics alone really don't do a lot for me - so I'm 
not so interested in the spoken word albums (I don't write them off 
but I don't think they'll ever be something I could get really into).

On 16 Jan 2011 at 18:51, ANDRU REEVE wrote:

> I personally think that any fan of Jandek (aka, The Rep) should own
> every CD and every DVD extant.  However, if you are just going to
> dip your toe in the water, I've already given you a representative
> list of 20 CDs to start with, so I won't be redundant.  However, I
> have to agree with Danen that CHAIR BESIDE A WINDOW and TELEGRAPH
> MELTS are stronger CDs to start with than ROCK CRUMBLES.  Also worth
> putting at the top of your list is ON THE WAY and THE BEGINNING,
> which are among the more "conventional" releases, and may help the
> uninitiated listener ease their way into The Rep's world.  
> GLASGOW SUNDAY is a great release, both on CD and DVD, so you might
> want to add that to your first 20 picks (and, please don't pass up
> the incredible deal from Corwood for 20 or more items at once. 
> Corwood even picks up the tab for shipping!)   Truth be told, if
> you're really a fan, everything is worth hearing eventually.  So,
> again, welcome Ed.  
> Date: Sat, 15 Jan 2011 10:27:46 -0700
> Subject: Re: [Jandek] Thank you all so much
> From: danen1970 at gmail.com
> To: jandek at mylist.net
> As someone who has studied this catalog inside and out over the past
> several years, I'd probably try to steer you towards "Telegraph
> Melts" or "Chair Beside a Window" above "Rocks Crumble." It is cool
> to have the vinyl, but you might consider saving yourself a few
> bucks and getting the excellent Jackpot re-releases of the first few
> records if that's your thing. Corwood doesn't sell them, but Jackpot
> does and I believe they have reprinted at least the first two -
> honestly, I haven't kept up with that. For spoken word, I would
> start with "Worthless Recluse" which has some of the most darkly
> humorous tracks the artist has ever recorded and remains my favorite
> of the batch. Don't overlook later releases either, and for
> listening purposes I'd start with "Newcastle Sunday" over "Glasgow
> Sunday. Next to that, perhaps the bluesy burn of "Glasgow Friday" or
> the spooky keyboards of the Manhattan or Toronto sets. All of those
> I find consistently excellent. As for "Glasgow Sunday", PLEASE do
> yourself a favor and grab it on DVD. The opening of the set, where
> the Rep is getting ready to play, well I can't explain it. Look at
> his face at these moments and you see the uncertainty. Then watch it
> as they keep playing, as word gets around as to who it was
> (remember, the show was anonymous!), as you watch these fears fade.
> This, to me, is critical to the show and is something you just can't
> get with the CD alone.
> I have some things to say about Chicago but I've been so busy I
> haven't had time for it. Maybe later today. I'd love to get a
> discussion going about that one, it's interesting, especially
> lyrically. I can remember being at that show and we were all
> stupified as to the jail lyrics as well as to the atmosphere.
> Curiously, this may also be one for DVD - it's hard for me to
> separate this show from the crazy "festival goers" surrounding the
> artist and his obvious struggles with the sound system. Anyway, more
> later. 
> On Fri, Jan 14, 2011 at 11:01 PM, Ed Saunders
> <esaundersfx at gmail.com> wrote:
> I am very happy to see the genuinely nice responses from everyone
> here.  It definitely takes the sting off of the ridicule I have 
> been receiving from friends and family hhhahahahah.  I am going to
> buy some of the cds soon.  I will get "The Rocks Crumble", "Blue
> Corpse" and probably "Put My Dream on This Planet".  Just seems
> right.  I have read about how barely anyone likes those spoken word
> albums, but I am ready to be put to the test.  I might even pick up
> some vinyl off of ebay.  The prices are high, but I think it might
> be better to hear them in the original way.  Does anyone here know
> anyone that has all the records?  
> Thank you all again for the comfort.
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