Jandek who? I found this movie on Netflix the other month, called Jandek on Corwood, and it arrived at our doorstep for viewing. Ahhh, Netflix.
Apparently, there’s this “musician” who calls himself Jandek. His first album came out in 1978, and he has released around 40 albums since. I had never heard of him, or the mystery surrounding his identity, which happens to be precisely the intrigue. This guy has never appeared publicly*, no one knows his true identity, and he has only granted a splattering of phone interviews.
The filmmaker, Chad Freidrichs, produces some interesting perspectives and Errol Morris-esque shots which made for an interesting viewing, while the Christopher-Guest-Ensemble loving side of me was partly apprehensive in the beginning. Part of me watched for the reveal of a town named Blaine, or for Jandek to to shout that “it goes to eleven” during a phone interview. Once it was clear that this film was for real, I started to notice that the subjects Freidrichs chose to interview to discuss Jandek were far more interesting than Jandek himself.
The bearded DJ, always shown with a red bow-tie, tux, and top hat while seated in front of a traveling circus style piano, has got to be my favorite. I get the feeling he ALWAYS wears this get-up, ever ready for the 3-ring circus to begin. I will forever be drawn to the more eccentric, or at least the eccentric-loving, humans on our planet. And therein lay my connection to this hullabaloo. These people have EVERY RECORD Jandek has made. And the music, at best, is grating. It’s not like discovering Nick Drake or Jeff Buckley for the first time. It’s like catching your crazy neighbor singing in front of the mirror some half-baked fantasy laden rock opera – while on acid. (You AND the neighbor – on acid)
Maybe Jandek is a musical genius. It seems to me that he is mostly like the Wizard behind the curtain. The characters looking for the Wizard along the way are the best part.
*Jandek appeared LIVE for the first time in 2004 in Scotland, as well as a few unannounced U.S. shows in 2005.