Jeff Mangum

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Not to be confused with Jeff Magnum.
Jeff Mangum
Jeff Mangum at Coachella 2012 (7260343156).jpg
Mangum at Coachella 2012
Background information
Born (1970-10-24) October 24, 1970 (age 43)
Ruston, Louisiana
Genres Indie rock, psychedelic folk, lo-fi, indie pop
Instruments Vocals, guitar, drums, bass, keyboards
Years active 1987–2002, 2006, 2008–current
Labels Merge Records, Orange Twin Records
Associated acts Neutral Milk Hotel, Circulatory System, The Olivia Tremor Control, Synthetic Flying Machine, Cranberry Lifecycle, The Apples in Stereo, Major Organ and the Adding Machine, Elf Power
Notable instruments
Gibson ES-125
Martin 000-15
Fender CP-100

Jeff Mangum (born October 24, 1970) is an American musician best known for being the lyricist, vocalist and guitarist of the band Neutral Milk Hotel, as well as being one of the cofounders of The Elephant 6 Recording Company.

Early years[edit]

Mangum was born in Ruston, Louisiana, where he met the other co-founding members of Elephant 6, Robert Schneider, Will Cullen Hart, and Bill Doss. They shared a passion for home recording and were influenced by the likes of the Minutemen, John Cage, krautrock and psychedelia.[1] Mangum's earliest musical projects included Maggot (a punk group with Will Hart), Cranberry Lifecycle (an experimental pop project, also with Will Hart) and Synthetic Flying Machine (which also featured Bill Doss).[2] Mangum, Hart and Doss moved from Ruston to Athens, Georgia and Synthetic Flying Machine evolved into Olivia Tremor Control, led primarily by Hart and Doss. Mangum has contributed vocals, drums and sound effects to many of the Olivia's subsequent recordings, including their debut EP California Demise on the newly-founded Elephant 6 Recording Co. imprint.

Neutral Milk Hotel[edit]

In the early 1990s Mangum travelled around the United States, working on solo four-track tape recordings under the name Milk, which would later become Neutral Milk Hotel. The earliest Neutral Milk Hotel releases included the Elephant 6 cassette Hype City Soundtrack, and Everything Is, a 7" on Cher Doll Records. Mangum recorded his debut LP On Avery Island at Robert Schneider's Pet Sounds Studio in Denver, Colorado between 1994 and 1995. The album was released in 1996 on Merge Records in North America and Fire Records in the UK. Following the album's release, Mangum expanded Neutral Milk Hotel to include his friends Scott Spillane, Julian Koster and Jeremy Barnes. Having developed a number of new songs on tour, the group returned to Denver in 1997 to record In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, which was released the following year and would gradually become one of the most highly-acclaimed indie rock albums of the 1990s.[3]

After Neutral Milk Hotel[edit]

Mangum disbanded Neutral Milk Hotel following an extensive tour of North America and Europe, which culminated with a short solo set on New Years Eve 1998 at the 40 Watt Club in Athens. Allegedly suffering from poor health and a nervous breakdown, Mangum made few public appearances until 2001, when he performed a one-off show in New Zealand at the request of Chris Knox, and then returned to the States to play drums on tour with Circulatory System and The Instruments. In the summer of 2001, Mangum released a compilation of field recordings of Bulgarian folk music on the Orange Twin label titled Orange Twin Field Works: Volume I. This was followed by the release of a live solo album Live at Jittery Joe's, recorded by filmmaker Lance Bangs in 1997.[4]

In February 2002, Mangum was interviewed by Pitchfork where he discussed his emotional response to In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, his recent interest in Buddhism and Eastern thought, travelling across Europe, and working on new field recordings and sound collage pieces (under the name Korena Pang). He also expressed doubt that he would record another Neutral Milk Hotel album, "I just feel like these windows open up for something to be honest, and they don't stay open for very long. I guess my path feels sort of different now".[5]

In the summer and fall of 2002, Mangum hosted several shows on the free-form, New Jersey station WFMU.[6][7] The playlists included excerpts from music therapy classes, musique concrète, European folk music, environmental recordings by Chris Watson, a two hour drone piece by Tony Conrad, and the entirety of Live at the Village Vanguard Again! by John Coltrane and Rock Bottom by Robert Wyatt. Mangum also debuted a new sound collage work, entitled To Animate the Body with the Cocoon of the Her Unconscious Christ the Mother Removes Her Death Body of 1910 Only To Be Reborn in the Same Spirit as a School of Blow Fish Believing in the Coming of the Milk Christ, and credited to The Long Warm Wall of Alfred Snouts.[8]

Mangum regularly contributed vocals, drums or sound effects to a number of Elephant 6-related albums in the early-mid 2000s. These included Curse Of The Seven Jackals (with Laura Carter, Eric Harris, Chris Jolly & Heather McIntosh), Major Organ and the Adding Machine (with Julian Koster, Kevin Barnes and Will Hart, amongst others), Circulatory System's self-titled debut, and Jeremy Barnes' A Hawk and a Hacksaw. More recently, Mangum has appeared on the Apples in Stereo's New Magnetic Wonder, the Music Tapes' Mary's Voice, and Circulatory System's Signal Morning and Mosaics Within Mosaics.

In January 2008, it was reported that Mangum had married documentary filmmaker, writer and musician Astra Taylor,[9]

Return to Live Performances[edit]

Mangum (right) in Pittsburgh, 2008

In October 2008, Mangum performed the song "Engine" on several stops of the Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Tour. Prior to these performances, he had not played Neutral Milk Hotel songs in public since 2001. At the Lexington, KY stop, Mangum, Scott Spillane and Julian Koster led concertgoers outside the venue to a nearby tree. Prior to playing Engine, the group surprised the audience with a surprise performance of Neutral Milk Hotel's "The Fool" with the Fishetarians. This was the closest thing to a Neutral Milk Hotel performance since 1997.

In December 2009, Mangum contributed the song "Sign the Dotted Line" to a Chris Knox tribute album titled Stroke: Songs for Chris Knox.[10] On May 6, 2010, Mangum played a 25-minute acoustic set at a Chris Knox benefit show at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC.[11] He played: "Oh Comely," "A Baby for Pree/Where You'll Find Me Now," "Two Headed Boy pt. 2," "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" and as an encore, "Engine." It was also announced it was not the start of a comeback, but a one time performance to benefit his friend Chris Knox.

On December 4, 2010, Mangum played a 10 song set at a loft in Bushwick, Brooklyn including 6 songs from In the Aeroplane Over the Sea and "Engine".[12]

On April 20, 2011, Robert Schneider debuted a score composed by Mangum for the Teletron, an instrument Schneider had invented. It is unknown whether the composition will have an official release.[13] On August 26, 2011, Mangum launched the website, where he is self-releasing a box set of Neutral Milk Hotel albums and unreleased tracks, as well as one-of-a-kind drawings and a radio show he curated.[14]

On August 12 and 13, 2011, Mangum played full sets at Trinity-St.Paul's United Church in Toronto, Ontario. Both shows were opened by members of the Elephant 6 Collective. Mangum played very similar sets at the two shows, performing several songs from Neutral Milk Hotel's "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" and "On Avery Island". During the show on August 12, Mangum also played a cover of Daniel Johnston's "True love Will Find You In The End". Mangum performed "Engine" as an encore at both shows. On 30 September 2011, Mangum played a full set at All Tomorrow's Parties in Asbury Park, NJ - his first large show in many years.[15]

On October 4, 2011, Mangum made an appearance at Zuccotti Park in New York City and played several songs to the protesters participating in Occupy Wall Street.[16] On October 27, 2011, Mangum performed a benefit show for Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, New York.[17]

On January 9, 2012 Goldenvoice revealed that Jeff Mangum would appear on the Saturday bill for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival alongside such acts as Radiohead, Bon Iver, and Feist.[18] On January 10, 2012 Mangum's official tour site revealed additional West Coast dates leading up to and through the Coachella festival.[19]

Mangum curated the 2012 ATP in Minehead, UK between the 9th and 11 March. This marked the first time that Mangum, The Apples in Stereo and Olivia Tremor Control - the founders of Elephant 6 - have officially all played at the same event.[citation needed]

On July 27, 2012 Mangum headlined the Friday lineup at the Calgary Folk Music Festival.[20][21][22][23]

On November 12, 2012, Mangum announced a 2013 tour of the United States.[citation needed]

In May 2013, Mangum announced a reunion tour with Neutral Milk Hotel via his website[citation needed]

On July 22nd and 23rd, 2014, Neutral Milk Hotel performed in Prospect Park at Celebrate Brooklyn![citation needed]

On July 26th, 2014, Neutral Milk Hotel performed at Merge 25. It was their first appearance at any Merge anniversary festival.[citation needed]


With The Olivia Tremor Control[edit]

With The Apples in Stereo[edit]

With Major Organ and the Adding Machine[edit]

With Laura Carter, Eric Harris, Chris Jolly & Heather McIntosh[edit]

With Neutral Milk Hotel[edit]

See Neutral Milk Hotel discography.

As Jeff Mangum[edit]


  1. ^ Kot, Greg. "Jeff Mangum: Myth, mystery and enduring songs". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
  2. ^ McMullen, Phil (1996). "Neutral Milk Hotel". Ptolemaic Terrascope (21). 
  3. ^ "NMH Definitive Discography pt. 1". - The Carrot Flower Kingdom. Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
  4. ^ Jarnow, Jesse. "Did Jeff Mangum make his most inspired music after Neutral Milk Hotel was over?". Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
  5. ^ Fierman, Marci. "Interviews: Neutral Milk Hotel". Pitchfork. Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
  6. ^ "Archives for The Listener Hour-August 24, 2002". WFMU. Retrieved 2009-09-26. 
  7. ^ "Playlists and Archives for Jefferson". WFMU. Retrieved 2007-03-15. 
  8. ^ "Jefferson on WFMU playlists". - The Carrot Flower Kingdom. Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
  9. ^ Brown, Jake (2008-01-09). "Article from Glorious Noise, accessed February 8, 2009". Retrieved 2011-09-11. 
  10. ^ "Merge Records Store". Retrieved 2011-09-11. 
  11. ^ at 10:57 AM (2010-05-07). "Jeff Mangum, The Clean, Yo La Tengo, Portastatic & friends played for Chris Knox @ LPR - review, setlist, video & pic". Retrieved 2011-09-11. 
  12. ^ Phillips, Amy (2010-12-04). "Jeff Mangum Performs Surprise Show in Brooklyn | News". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2011-09-11. 
  13. ^ Fitzmaurice, Larry. "Jeff Mangum Composes Score for Apples in Stereo Frontman Schneider's Mind-Controlled Instrument". Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  14. ^ Fitzmaurice, Larry. "Neutral Milk Hotel to Release Box Set". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 26 August 2011. 
  15. ^ "ATP America presents I'll Be Your Mirror curated by Portishead & ATP - All Tomorrow's Parties". Retrieved 2011-09-11. 
  16. ^ "Live Stream (Updated With Video): Jeff Mangum Playing Live At Occupy Wall Street | Pigeons & Planes". Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  17. ^ Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, (2011-10-28). "Jeff Mangum Benefit for WFAS « Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary". Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  18. ^ Greenwald, David. "Coachella 2012: Radiohead, Dr. Dre, Black Keys and Punk Reunions Top Lineup". Retrieved 10 January 2012. 
  19. ^ "Jeff Mangum Adds West Coast Tour Dates". Stereogum. Sterogum. Retrieved 10 January 2012.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  20. ^ Calgary Folk Music Festival#2012
  21. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
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External links[edit]

Media related to Jeff Mangum at Wikimedia Commons