In May 2001, Jeff wrote a message posted on the old version of the e6townhall forum on his behalf by a friend, effectively a farewell to NMH. The authenticity was somewhat questioned at the time, but has pretty much been confirmed since. Below is the message exactly as it appeared (thanks to archive.org for their backup):
|Max Munch |
(5/26/01 9:48:29 am)
|A message from Mr. Mangum|
Jeff emailed this over to me for all of you to read. He probably won't see your responces, just so you know.
i think its time that i made a few things clear.
first of all, i am not in hiding, as some have said. where i am i supposed to be hiding?
behind the coach? in the cat box? under the bed?
i wake up everyday, i walk out into the world and i say hello to the people i meet.
the sun shines, the birds sing, the dogs birth out of the old womans eyeball, the
afterbirth overwhelms me, swimming with strange creatures, etc. living in the great mystery
is enough for me right now.
also it has been said that i dont like people listening
to my music, that i dont like playing live, that i stopped playing because people heckled
me at my shows, called me names, etc. if you really think im that pathetic, then you should
burn my records, and forget about me. but its not like that. not that i thought every aspect
of being in a semi popular
rock band was totally healthy, but im not knocking it either. but when i hear people bitching about
being famous, i always wonder why they keep doing it. if you dont like doing interviews
anymore, then dont. its that easy.
but anyway, im getting off track here. what happened to me
comes down to two things.
1.immune system breakdown. i was getting sick every two months for a year, and finally in
the spring of 99 i got hepatitis and mono at the same time, which turned me into
a vomit tornado with yellow eyeballs for two months, and gave me chronic fatigue for the next
two years. which led to number two.
2.spiritual breakdown. this little nervous breakdown, which lasted about two years, was
one of the best things that ever happened to me. it turned out great in the end, even though
it was a living hell for a long time.
in our society, we are supposed to feel ashamed of ourselves when we breakdown,
were supposed to go to the shrink to "fix" the "problem",
so that we can come out as smiling productive members of society.
what a load of crap.
we must live in the loneliest society on earth, one that has taken the spiritual
aspect out of becoming a healthy person.
in other cultures, spirituality, human
phycology, physical health and meditation are all one thing. you cant separate them into
compartments. i didnt know any of this a few years ago, and my breakdown forced me
to begin to see through the horrible mental boxes that our society imposes on everyone.
two years ago i was a mess, every belief i had was disintegrating, everything
i had based my life on seemed shaky. i was tired, confused, and i just didnt think
i could simply sing my way out of it this time. and i was right. the songs i did write
were confused, very dark and not anything i thought anyone needed to hear. they were
more for myself, to help me to work through my mental problems. so, doing shows seemed
inappropriate, since anything i would sing would instantly end up on the net, for
everyone to hear. im not knocking people sharing my music on the internet, but
at that point, it didnt seem right.
so where am i at now? well, all my belongings are in storage, and i am leaving for spain in a
week. dont know whats going to happen. life is better that way. my attitude has always been
to remain open to all possibilities. maybe i'll write a song, a story, a tape piece,
learn meditation, capture a beautiful event on tape, make a friend, see something i've
never seen before. and if at some point, if it all adds up to be something worth
releasing to the world, i will do it gladly. i dont give a fuck if it
"tops aeroplane" or not. thats just another mental prison. anyone waiting for an album
to top the last one should look somewhere else, because you'll inevitably be disappointed.
when i wrote aeroplane, i spent 90 percent of my time screaming nonsence
into my little tape recorder, or chopping up sounds with my sound blender, or
just making noise,
and 10 percent of my time writing songs. it was very liberating,
because i never thought about what i was doing, and a week before we went to record i didnt
even think we had a half finished album. but i didnt care. i figured if we went the studio,
and only recorded one finished song, then that would be fine. creating just one minute of
something inspiring is an incredibly fun thing to do. so next time you hear that neutral milk
is recording, dont get your hopes up. it may only be one minute of music.
and if i ever release my korena pang peices for you to
hear, you'll soon find that
its just liberated dada to free the mind. if you want more neutral milk, dont buy it.
you'll hate it. i for one love music that makes my brain freeze, like the shags, or art ensemble
or maybe some chanting and
banging and confusion from bolivia that makes me forget myself for awhile.
major organ was just a bunch of friends putting music together for fun. it was a project
that changed hands at least a dozen times, and most of the time you didnt even know who was working on it,and you never knew where it would go.
released mostly to inspire other dreamers and home recorders to do the same with there friends.
we weren't trying to create a masterpiece. trying to do anything is the of death of creativity,
and if we can encourage people to not try, but to just do, then we have accomplished our goal.
the jittery joes show should be out in august or september. it was a show i did in 98 before going
to denver to record. i think the video footage makes it worthy of release, since lance bangs
did such a good job. we're putting it out to encourage people to stop paying alot of money
for second generation live shows. but again, dont get your hopes up. its really not a big deal.
so thats it. thanks to everyone for listening to my music. now i need to forget myself again,
so you may not hear from me for awhile. forgetting yourself is freedom, and i need to be free.
happy travels. jeff
Since the band disbanded in 98, it's no wonder that fans are searching high and low for more NMH material. Here are some selected tracks from some demo's and live performances that will ease the pain.
From Ptolemaic Terrascope #21
Neutral Milk Hotel - Untitled
From Periscope Another Yoyo Compilation
Neutral Milk Hotel - Bucket
B-Side from Holland 7"
Neutral Milk Hotel - Engine
From Hype City Soundtrack
Neutral Milk Hotel - Tuesday Moon
From Hype City Soundtrack
Neutral Milk Hotel - Up and Over We Go
From The Basement Tapes, Volume Two: Live Underground
Neutral Milk Hotel - Glue
Please Support This Band And Buy Neutral Milk Hotel