Who is Jane S. Piddy? | Brian Currin

Jane's Pity
Jane’s Pity

Though Rodriguez personally denied this when I asked him, I believe ‘Jane S. Piddy’ is a deliberate misspelling of “Janis Pity” – a sort of tribute to Janis Joplin. Rodriguez said in March 1998: “The people [in my songs] are fictional. I tapped on the writer’s poetic licence giving them names and shape. Almost as a caricature works for the visual artist.”

However if you listen to the lyrics of ‘Jane S. Piddy’ you can hear the similarity to Janis and her lifestyle. Lyrics like “now you sit there thinking, feeling insecure…” and “…don’t bother to buy insurance, coz you’ve already died…” are echoes of Janis’ well-documented excessive lifestyle. Remember that Rodriguez wrote this song in 1969 before Janis died on the 4th October 1970. And what about “Like Janis” – another reference? Absolutely.



3 thoughts on “Who is Jane S. Piddy? | Brian Currin

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  1. I think the verse that begins “so go on you’ll continue…” is referring to the masses, the “sheep,” that follow along the prescribed path of life and act as if they’re noble, right, original, etc. When in reality, they are scared and unwilling to take risk, which is necessary in life to achieve something. So there is no need to buy insurance if you’ve already died.


  2. Jane is a reference to Mary Jane(Marijuana) and S. Piddy is a reference to the drug known as speed. This entire song’s meaning can be attributed to the lives of every single person who has wasted their youth and their dreams away through their addictions. That is why you can find similarities to Janis Joplin’s life. Entirely coincidental in my book. Furthermore, this song not only applies to drug addicts, but can encompass a larger array of people, as it is mostly about wasting your life away and regreting everything you have missed and you have not been able to achieve. It is about facing death, addiction and existential emptyness. Even excluding the drug aspect, many people can relate to this song’s lyrics, as they experience addiction, loss of hope and thoughts of what could have been. “now you sit there thinking, feeling insecure”-This lyric is so vague that i don’t understand how you could think to yourself “This has to be a reference to Janis Joplin”. It simply represents someone contemplating their life, which is then described in the following lyrics. This could be a reference to any human on earth that has ever felt insecure. “don’t bother to buy insurance, coz you’ve already died” can have several meanings, but, yet again, it can encompass so many people (perhaps including Janis Joplin) that I do not believe it references one in particular. This line can have several meanings, but all of them hint towards the same idea. The idea that one dies along with their hopes and dreams. Once you waste your potential away, you are already dead. The door that says “Hurry come inside” could be a reference to a failed attempt to escape ones destructive lifestyle. One may keep knocking on it, but the damage has already been done. Therefore, the metaphorical “insurance” cannot be bought. The person they once were has already died.
    Nobody is Jane S. Piddy. That is the entire point. Rodriguez does this: he drops names, yet nobody knows who these people are. And no one cares. They represent the forgotten junkies, hookers and many other less fortunate. His music often revolves around the darkness and uglyness that keeps coming from reality. Rodriguez personally denied your claim for a good reason. His music is made for the people, not for one person in particular, and that is what makes him one of the greats that has survived the test of time, despite the hardships he has faced.
    Your only claim that holds any water is the title of the song “Like Janis” being a reference. You did not exactly expand on this idea, though. And, yet again, the lyrics of this song are applicable to a huge array of people.


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