Jeff Mangum, Astra Taylor Married

Mrs. Jeff MangumCongratulations to Jeff Mangum and Astra Taylor, who were recently married. Mangum, as everybody knows, founded Neutral Milk Hotel, whose album In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is widely regarded as one of the best albums of the 1990s. Taylor is a writer and filmmaker who directed the documentary, Zizek! for which Neutral Milk Hotel drummer Jeremy Barnes provided the original music.

Glorious Noise received confirmation of the nuptials from Ms. Talyor via email. “It’s a fact,” she said.


In much, much sadder news, Ruston, Louisiana’s Daily Leader has reported that Jeff Mangum’s dad, James N. Mangum, Jr., “passed away on Oct. 19, 2007 in Austin, Texas following complications from surgery.”

Jim received a B.A. and M.A. from North Texas State University and a Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University. He was a faculty member in the Department of Economics at Louisiana Tech University School of Business Administration from 1970 until his retirement.

Our sincere condolences go out to the Mangum family.

Back in 2003, Creative Loafing tracked down Dr. Mangum and asked him about the disturbing family dynamics that are alluded to in the album’s lyrics (“And your mom would stick a fork right into daddy’s shoulder / And dad would throw the garbage all across the floor”):

“Sounds pretty bad on that record doesn’t it?” says James Mangum, Jeff’s dad and a retired economics professor. “His mother and I didn’t get along, and we divorced when Jeff was 14. But the kids never got caught in between us as far as our fighting was concerned. They just always came No. 1, no matter how badly we fought. But some of [the album] was autobiographical. Some of it, I don’t understand. He starts talking about it, well, ‘I looked for a thousand ways to die’ or something like that. I didn’t know that he interpreted it that way. The way I interpreted the record, he was on my side, so to speak, but sympathetic.”

Jeff Mangum responded to Creative Loafing‘s repeated requests for an interview:

“I am flattered that you want to talk me, but I have to say no. I wish you the very best in everything you do. But please do not contact my family. I think [my dad] was caught off guard by you, and maybe even a little intrigued at first, but now he is left wondering how a perfect stranger could know about his painful past. I don’t wish to revisit the past either.”

Maybe married life will inspire him to get back in the studio. And if not, we’ll always have In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. Next month will see the tenth anniversary of that album’s release. Ten years! Even reclusive old oddball Robert Wyatt has released several albums in that time period!

MP3: Jeff Mangum – “Oh Sister” (live, 1996, courtesy of the Elephant Six Archive)

Video: “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” (live)

28 thoughts on “Jeff Mangum, Astra Taylor Married”

  1. I don’t understand how someone can actually ask about the autobiographical content in Jeff’s lyrics to his father. It would make sense if it was asked to Jeff, but I would never annoy his father like that. It’s clearly something very personal and painful.

    Anyway, I didn’t know about the marriage till now, and I guess I’m pretty happy about it. I don’t know much about Jeff’s personal life, but I have wonder about it before. I just hope he’s happy.

  2. I’m glad for him. He is living the somewhat quiet life that he seems to want. However I must say, though I am glad that he is married and living the fullest life, I was mildly disappointed when I heard. It kind of makes my dream of marrying him less exciting. : )

  3. Ridiculous, I just love how this article flows. “Jeff’s married. In much sadder news…” (sadder than the sad news of his marriage, apparently). Then a bunch of miserable quotes from the horrible Creative Loafing article (which the supposedly-adored subject of the article found very painful) followed immediately by the clincher: “Maybe married life will inspire him to get back in the studio.” Jesus. Why not “Maybe his father’s death will inspire him to get back in the studio!” Anything for a new record, that’s the only reason we care about this human being at all, right guys??

  4. anonymous said it… anything for a new album. haha no, that’s messed up… maybe he is just on a quest for meaning right now. aren’t we all.

  5. I was a close friend of Jeff from 2nd grade through collage. We fell out of touch after collage. The first time I heard his music was on NPR, I was shocked that it was his. I had not been overly impressed with his music talent growing up, but I was pleased he had developed and acheieved some recognition and hard earned success.

    I’ve heard that Jeff likes to read what is written about him. So, Jeff, congrats on the new wife. I hope you bring each other comfort and joy. I suppose I could track you down through my sister-in-law and your sister, but I’ll let you decide since you seem to have become the webs most famous recluse. Just know that you have a few friends left from Ruston that would like to hear from you.

    P.S. Mr. Laney has cancer and won’t be here much longer. Give him a call.

  6. Listening to his music tonight. Incredibly talented songwriter. Just great art. Wish him well. If you haven’t already listened to ‘On Avery Island’ you should.

  7. I wonder how many internet posters or review writers were ever actually involved in a creative artistic endeavor, and then finding it within themselves to present it for public consideration?

    True artists are a unique lot, many are enigmatic and a complete paradox to the general public.

    Enjoy the good fortune of the songs that were already shared, and if that happens to be the end of the road in this case, so be it.

    Privacy is in itself an art. The script of life is one’s own.

  8. The “Little Birds” show bootleg has a version of In The Aeroplane Over the Sea where mr. Mangum himself sustains “Agggooo” and the trumpets are blasting their meloncholy character. It’s devastating. He’s warm and honest and healing. I’m happy for him despite the fact I hate my own sympathetic feelings towards elusive artists.

  9. Ok. That last sentence was a lie. It’s strange how you see people who knew jeff personally say something to him through a comment board on a story about him.

  10. I don’t know much about Jeff Mangum, really. I know the basics of his story but not many important details. But I know how his music makes me and many others feel, and I am very sure that he has a kind, passionate soul. And for that I wish him all of the happiness in the world, and am pretty estatic to hear of his and Astra’s marriage. And at this point, it doesn’t matter to me if Jeff decides to record another album, I just think he should do whatever makes him happy. I’ve got Avery and Aeroplane, and that is all I ask for.

  11. Wow, I have read about Slavoj Žižek but I had no clue they made a documentary. How exciting!

    Certainly, anybody who would direct such a film must be something, hm? I imagine the two of them have had some incredibly interesting discussions (Taylor and Mangum, that is, not Taylor and Žižek, although possibly that would be quite the conversation as well!).

  12. Jeff, I’m writing right after you and I’m honored for this.

    Your “Aeroplane” changed my life. I live in France, and nobody’s ever heard of you around here, except a guy i used to work with in Paris, and who made me discover your music.

    You song “2-headed boy part 2” is just a miracle. I wish you could come around here some day. That’s all.

  13. Didn’t realize that deciding not to record anymore is an indication of being “reclusive, old and/or oddball”. Perhaps he didn’t like reliving the feelings he put into his work, or he didn’t like spilling those feelings in public anymore. Or he got everything out already. Or whatever. Seems like it’s the artist business if he wants to be an artist anymore, and why anyone would judge him for any decision he made is beyond me. It’s enough that he graced us with his art at all.

  14. I am amused that you said, “at least we have Aeroplane Over the Sea!” I feel the same way. It’s amazing that some with such great talent aren’t such media whores. That is rare. I really wish he would come out and play for us.

  15. i so desperately wish to see neutral milk hotel live, just once. the band has made me cry more often than any other tragedy that’s happened to my family or myself, and i’d just like to see the band.

  16. I watch Examined Life and her Unschooling lecture, and I think, “Astra, please marry me. Oh, wait, you can’t, because you’re married to…oh…the other person in the universe I’ve a creepy, existential-intellectual crush on.”

    Oh.

  17. I, too, worked for Dr. mangum at Louisiana Tech. He was a wonderful teacher, of Economics and life. I searched for him just before he died and couldnt find him. I always thought I would see him again.

  18. Jeff, please get in touch with me. I liked your two Facebook pages. I would like to see you and Caroline again one day..

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