Jandek: Bringing it all back home
While going to Ohio State in the crazy, carefree 80s, as part of a work-study arrangement, I spent a couple years at campus broadcast institution WOSU. The tasks assigned to me were plenty: alphabetize this, erase these reel-to-reel tapes, capture this program off the satellite at 0800, fill in for the host of the Bluegrass Ramble when he had the "flu," log in new records for the FM station. The studio rat experience was quite the education--I can now correctly spell and pronounce nearly every known classical music composer's name, a skill that has come in handy exactly zero times in over 20 years. Yet in the process, we would receive box after box of Jandek records from Corwood Industries, clearly mailed to us because Corwood must have thought we were the "student radio" outlet at Ohio State. Five seconds into each one of them, our Operations Director would recoil in horror, and tossed them in the "to be filed" stack. I found myself listening to them in the office when no one was around, draw to their stark, nearly suicidal quality, that was somehow "blues" but yet the anti-thesis of what the genre had devolved into. I was also doing a radio shift on WOSR, then the studio radio station at Ohio State, and redirected subsequent Jandek albums to their library. I did send a note to Corwood Industries telling them the proper place to send packages and received a postcard a few weeks later:
"Thank you for the corrected address. Best Wishes, Corwood Industries."
Thus began a lifetime of Jandek record-buying, mystifying, and lonely patronage on my part. The whole thing comes a bit full circle tomorrow night when the man himself, or some representative from Corwood, plays again at my workplace. Perfect. -- Jerry Dannemiller