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Jan Terri, where are thee?
December 17, 2007 1:26 PM   Subscribe

Jan Terri, an enigmatic outsider musician from Chicago, became a dubious celebrity in her own right after releasing a number of self-produced songs and accompanying videos on VHS in the 1990s. Among her "hits" were Losing You, Baby Blues, Get Down Goblin and the must-see Rock-'n'-Roll Santa (which has been covered by Yo La Tengo). Her music videos were so earnest and popular for their camp value that Marilyn Manson eventually enlisted her to sing at a birthday party of his and the Daily Show invited her on. However, she hasn't really been heard from since. Has Jan Terri given up her dream?
posted by Lillitatiana (20 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Also, previously on mefi.
posted by Lillitatiana at 1:29 PM on December 17, 2007


"Losing You" is one of my all-time favorites.
posted by dhammond at 1:50 PM on December 17, 2007


I want the back up singers from "Get Down Goblin" to walk behind me at all times, in those costumes, doing that dance.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:10 PM on December 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


I wanted to second the term "enigmatic" used to describe this musician, but, after having read astro zombie's comment and having rapidly checked the video, I want to second him in his wish.
posted by nicolin at 2:15 PM on December 17, 2007


It sounds like she's channelling Elmer Fudd in "weally wockin' Santa."
posted by kirkaracha at 2:27 PM on December 17, 2007


Hopefully she's not reading the comments on YouTube. Neanderthals.
posted by mike_bling at 2:33 PM on December 17, 2007


From the wikipedia link - in the comments, a piece from Neil Pollack (well worth the read):
"Terri says she always wanted to be an entertainer. Her grandfather was a low-level Tin Pan Alley songwriter, and her father was a lightweight boxer who on weekends put on blackface and worked the bars on Mannheim Road performing as the "black Elvis." Both parents were ballroom dance champions. "I guess I was born a ham," she says."
also in the comments, Tom posted:
"May 30th.
I had dinner with Jan Terri a few weeks ago. I showed her all the recent web postings online about her. I told her now is the time for a comeback."

posted by tellurian at 2:33 PM on December 17, 2007


Is this a post-irony "give a talent her due" type come back or a straight-up irony "let's exploit the freak again" type deal? It's always the same people who do both, so naturally I get confused.

Either way, like America's Next Top Model and I Love New York I want no part of it.
posted by tkchrist at 2:48 PM on December 17, 2007


Is it funny because she's not 20 years old and a size two?
posted by availablelight at 3:07 PM on December 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


No, it's funny because it's awful and seems to take itself so seriously.
posted by Justinian at 3:15 PM on December 17, 2007


OMG hooray! Jan Terri is/WAS the only thing on my maybe-I-should-FPP this list. Get down, goblin! I was introduced to her by the Found Footage Festival.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:18 PM on December 17, 2007


A little Jan Teri is still too much Jan Terri. I've never understood the appeal, not even for schtick or humor value.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 3:20 PM on December 17, 2007


It's like a youtube video done today, done archaic technology. If she had a modern haircut, this wouldn't be even remotely remarkable today.
posted by delmoi at 3:50 PM on December 17, 2007


No, it's funny because it's awful and seems to take itself so seriously.
posted by Justinian at 6:15 PM on December 17 [+] [!]

...so you laugh at Ashlee Simpson, as well?
posted by availablelight at 4:17 PM on December 17, 2007


Ms. Terri should develop her act for the subteen market. She seems to understand how to do snappy, authentic rock n' roll tunes --albeit a la Elmer F. The "Kid's Bop" crowd would enjoy both the "good beat-easy to dance to" element as well as her, erm, idiosyncratic delivery.
posted by rdone at 4:31 PM on December 17, 2007


Jan Terri is no DangerWoman.
posted by grabbingsand at 5:10 PM on December 17, 2007


I think they're good pop tunes. The humor aspect I think is from the cognitive dissonance of actually enjoying something like that.
posted by mike_bling at 5:31 PM on December 17, 2007


availablelight: ...so you laugh at Ashlee Simpson, as well?

I can't speak for Justinian, but YES.
Jesus; quit tilting at windmills.
posted by blenderfish at 8:05 PM on December 17, 2007


...so you laugh at Ashlee Simpson, as well?

Don't we all?
posted by Zangal at 12:18 AM on December 18, 2007


I think they're good pop tunes.

That's the thing. You start out chuckling, and end up humming her tunes for years. (Though I do hum Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse of the Heart most days, so my not have typical humming habits.)

And there are always whispers of a comeback - I think the Tom mentioned above is the same guy who emailed me about a piece I wrote on Terri - which she'd seen! - claiming that she'd started work on new songs, and was planning an album. A rather less charming prospect: the friend who introduced me to Terri also passed on her works to Patrick Wolf, who is (or was) planning a cover of Get Down Goblin.
posted by jack_mo at 1:45 AM on December 18, 2007


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