by ALEX KOENIG
If you’ve been following Chunklet back to the days of yore when a physical magazine was actually released once in a blue moon, you may know that we are very fond of poking fun at everyone’s favorite outsider musician Jandek. After all there’s nary a discography in sight that’s seemingly as bleak and humorless (although there was that Houston funk show, which was absolutely hilarious) and thus so ripe for plucking from the comedy vine. And the man seems so incredibly fixated on maintaining his own mystique that he insists on dressing like a turn of the century mortician at every show, it’s a small wonder that so few people in the world don’t find the humor in Jandek.
But we kid because we care, well speaking personally anyway. Here’s a minor confession. About a few years ago, in a brief fit of record buying/Ebay searching mayhem, I acquired every Jandek release on vinyl, I even doubled up on the first two releases due to the reissues. I do not mean to brag, if anything I deserve your pity. I even decided, for some reason now unknown to me, that my collection would be well served if contained a healthy chunk of the very recent Corwood studio output (in which an older, wiser, Sterling Smith hollers and rambles, seemingly making up lyrics as he goes along for 20 odd minutes a track, captured with all the warm sound of a single microphone plugged into Garageband) So if we are to believe Mr. Cobain’s adage, I suppose I may be open to being labeled as pretentious. To that, I will offer no reasonable defense, but what I will say is that collecting those albums was very much an addicting process. You simply couldn’t own ONE album, you had to have FIVE! Then you couldn’t just be satisfied with those five, you had to have all the albums with his face on the cover, then all the albums that are in color (Ooh! What a treat!) And before you even realize it, you’re left with 22 records worth of blissfully atonal gobbledygook. And although I may be damning them with faint praise, I still have listened to all of them more times than I can count.
Also, as an added bonus to now having all the records, I now found myself a new member of a fairly exclusive club of Jandek vinyl completists. But when I found one of my fellow members, I wasn’t sure if beginning the process of membership was necessarily the best idea…
Here we have one Naythen Wilson and his Jandek collection. Perhaps you remember his name popping up rather frequently on the Jandek message board? Or maybe you recall him from his brush with fame nearly a year ago when he appeared on Conan in a fan submitted video complaining about the position of a bass clef appearing in the show’s opening credits. Perhaps there is still a small (and likely vocal) minority of you out there for which his is an entirely new name. If you have the patience to make it through the entire video, it’s clear before the end that I have at least been matched in terms of my collection, so let us all applaud Mr. Wilson. But before long it becomes apparent we may be dealing with an entirely different beast. A self made Jandek shirt is quite frankly a bit odd, but one could suppose not entirely out of character with safe degrees of obsessive fandom. Then near the end, he pulls out the Jandek puppets and not only am I outmatched, but now entering territories no one would dare trespass.
Part 2 of Mr. Wilson’s Jandek memorabilia saga takes us into even deeper waters and we enter a room lined with Corwood correspondence. One could only imagine the exchanges contained in those letters, but it must have been really something, from the looks of things he actually got the guy to write a full blown paragraph. There’s also his Ready for the House album cover tattoo idea. Not the actual living room from the cover mind you, but rather his conception of what the other half of the room may have looked liked. Good luck explaining that one to lookers-on, “Ooh…it’s a picture of half of a couch!” There’s also Jandek fan fiction posted on the wall, which I would feel it best we just all tried to forget about right now.
Part 3 is quite frankly where we begin to enter probable Mark David Chapman territory. First we are immediately introduced to the Jandek clock with the Six and Six artwork, and somehow no “Can I See Your Clock” joke is made, we then proceed to the unfortunately eaten remnants of a former Jandek birthday cake. From there we go onward to the apparently “famous Chindek” which combines his love of Jandek and his love of chinchillas. The previous two items were both made by his girlfriend (that is indeed a shock) who appears to be the real enabler in the man’s Jandek fixation. Then it all ends with a rather mysterious 1950’s era Houston area phonebook, its precise meaning unknown, making its placement as the video’s final item all the more unsettling.
If all this Jandek memorabilia makes you curious about Mr. Wilson, or perhaps concerned for his well being, you can even take a stroll though his youtube page and listen to his (not too big of a surprise here) Jandek cover album as well as a plethora of other “bands”, art projects, all building up to a staggering body of videos that could even rival Mr. Let’s Paint in the videos to actual views ratio.
I do not mean to make fun of Mr. Wilson for simply loving what he loves, but I am indeed astonished to the degree that he takes it. After all, the world of outsider music is a funny thing, particularly in terms of how people relate to it. If the first thing you think of in relation to the genre is The Shaggs, you might be inclined to write off the whole Corwood catalog as some sort of poorly conceived joke. But if you start with Jandek, suddenly even Wesley Willis could appear as a serious gone too soon artist. I believe Naythen Wilson to be a product of that type of seriousness.
So, are we to make it official and declare Naythen Wilson as the world’s biggest Jandek fan? Only if we fail to make a distinction between “world’s biggest” and “most dangerously obsessed”. So, yes. Yes he is.