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Jandek June2007.jpg
Jandek performing in 2007
Background information
Birth nameSterling Smith
Born (1945-10-26) October 26, 1945 (age 76)
OriginHouston, Texas, U.S.
GenresLo-fi,[1] folk, blues[2]
Years active1978–present
LabelsCorwood Industries

Jandek is the musical alias of Houston, Texas based lo-fi folk singer Sterling Smith.[3] Since 1978, Jandek has independently released over 45 albums without granting interviews or providing any biographical information, releasing on a self-made label "Corwood Industries".[3] Jandek often plays a highly idiosyncratic and frequently atonal form of folk and blues music, frequently using an open and unconventional chord structure.[3] Allmusic has described him as "the most enigmatic figure in American music".[3]


A review of the debut album Ready for the House (1978) in OP magazine, the first ever national press given to Jandek, referred to the artist as Sterling Smith.[4] Smith has kept his personal history secret, revealing only one story about his pre-Corwood years: he wrote seven novels but burned them upon rejection from New York publishers.[5]

In a 1985 interview with John Trubee for Spin, Smith mentioned that he was working at that time as a machinist.[6] Only a year later, Smith became reclusive and no longer gave interviews.[7]

Jandek's first album, Ready for the House, though a solo work, was originally credited to a band called The Units. Smith was forced to change the name The Units by an identically named Californian group already in possession of a trademark on the name.[3] All reissues of this first album and all subsequent Corwood releases have been credited to "Jandek". In Trubee's interview, Smith claims he came up with the name Jandek while on the telephone with a person named Decker during the month of January.[6] Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain discussed Jandek in a 1993 interview, stating "He's not pretentious, but only pretentious people like his music.[8]

In 1999, Texas Monthly reporter Katy Vine interviewed a man she believed to be Jandek, though he refused to identify himself, and although familiar with Jandek's music, refused to discuss it.[9] In 2003, filmmaker Chad Freidrichs released a documentary Jandek on Corwood, it contained no interviews but was put together with "a representative of Corwood Industries".[3]

On October 17, 2004, at Glasgow, Scotland's Instal Festival, an unannounced and unidentified act (playing alongside bassist Richard Youngs and drummer Alex Neilson) performed at the festival. This was later confirmed to be Jandek in his first live performance.[3][10] Jandek has since made numerous live performances, usually unannounced in advance.[3]


This is the discography of Corwood Industries; the record company releases only albums by Jandek.



  1. ^ Breihan, Tom (December 10, 2009). "Thurston Moore to Play With Jandek". Pitchfork.
  2. ^ "Jandek: About Jandek". Tisue.net. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Jandek Biography, Songs, & Albums". AllMusic.
  4. ^ Tisue, Seth. "Jandek: Discography". tisue.net. Retrieved September 23, 2016.
  5. ^ "LCD 22 - Jandek - The Original Disconnect". WFMU. Retrieved September 23, 2016.
  6. ^ a b Jandek interview in 1985 on YouTube
  7. ^ the big question
  8. ^ "Good Luck Finding Jandek's Record Store Day-Exclusive Vinyl Box Set". SPIN. March 15, 2013.
  9. ^ August 1999 0, Katy Vine (August 1, 1999). "Jandek and Me". Texas Monthly.
  10. ^ Jandek pitchfork

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