Shipping worldwide in June 2021, the latest release by the Janis Joplin estate offers a unique look at the physical memories of Janis’ meteoric rise to fame in the 1960s. Janis Joplin’s personal scrapbook Days and Summers covers the years 1966-1968, offering the ultimate access to the enigmatic rock star of a generation. Featuring newspaper cut-outs with notes and scribblings, letters to friends and family members amongst so much more, this scrapbook follows the re-release of Janis’ final studio album Pearl to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
True to its original scrapbook form, this Genesis Publications release enriches this intimate and personal object with notes and anecdotes throughout by those who knew Janis best. More than your average celebrity biography, Days and Summers is better than a front row seat.
Speaking with Janis’ sister Laura Joplin, the importance of authenticity was a clear motivation in the release of this scrapbook: “There’s a limited amount of information we have that is what I call genuine from her. And it’s always been our goal to allow her to speak for herself, and that’s what this scrapbook is”. In the opening pages to this publication you see Janis’ handwriting “doncha wants see me be a star?”, and true to these words, Days and Summers brings a new lease of life to Janis’ legacy by returning the microphone to the singer to tell her own story.
Laura said “I think that for someone who has died so many years ago, authenticity is very important and the scrapbook allows you to use real artefacts from different parts of her life. It helps anchor the story in a way that keeps it real.”
Discussing the importance of scrapbooking and why Days and Summers offers a unique representation of Janis’ lived experiences. Laura said it’s in the details. The book covers tickets to early coffee house gigs, right the way through to images from the Monterey Pop Festival, offering snapshots not only of this unique period in history but also what Janis was thinking at the time.
Rising to fame in the 1960s Janis Joplin was breaking boundaries and forging the path for musicians and artist for years to come. Laura said the book “offers more of a complex story of Janis, a little more depth”, allowing for fans and those who care for her a new format by which to connect. “She loved the fact that people cared about what she did,” said Laura.
The scrapbook form highlights so many important moments through the physical fragments we pick up throughout our lives. Through assembling these fragments into one place Janis was curating how she wanted to remember her life, while also developing herself as an artist. “By keeping the little letters or cards that she picked up in a dance she’d gone to, or music that she was listening to, these things helped her understand more about what it was she cared about” said her sister.
In memorialising the everyday, Days and Summers shows the reader exactly who Janis Joplin was and wanted to be simultaneously. “I think that having all these different pieces together makes her more of a complex person,” Laura adds.
Speaking of the final studio album recorded by Janis with the Full Tilt Boogie Band, Laura describes Pearl as “the ultimate statement by a woman who has become sufficiently experienced in musical expression and writing and working with bands, you saw the power that she brought, naked, bright and full”. This artistry and power shines through in Days and Summers just as clear as in the songs of Pearl, demonstrating a rounded picture of Janis’ journey to stardom during the flowering sixties. Laura said: “Janis was intent on doing what mattered to her.”
Janis’ legacy remains an enduring presence 50 years after her death. “Janis has surprised all of us by her ability to continue to have an in depth relationship with her public and it’s the public that really defines what it is they want”. Laura added “the relationship with your public isn’t the same thing as your relationship with a friend. It’s something you have to learn and accept for its own limitations.”
This scrapbook works to bridge the gap between fandom and friendship in so many ways. Working on the publication, Laura said “its re-awakening to the joy of being in her company”, a joy the readers get to experience with each new drawing or arrow highlighting what was important to Janis and what you should pay attention to.
Limited to 2,000 copies, each edition is numbered and estate stamped with Janis Joplin’s signature. “Janis seems to connect with a lot of people, and in many ways, it’s our job to facilitate their relationship,” said Laura. Speaking on future releases and projects Laura insisted “there’s no doubt we intend to put out projects that will be of interest to people”. Adding to this Laura said “as a family, we intend for it to be something she would be proud of”.
Available to order now, this scrapbook promises unique access to Janis Joplin’s exciting life, while also working to ignite the readers desire to connect to their own surroundings in the same way Janis did. In facilitating the connection between Janis and her fans so many years after her death, Days and Summers demonstrates the beauty of scrapbooking as a perfect time capsule for the important moments that define us. Like listening to her lyrics, the pages of this scrapbook allow the reader to connect with an intimate version of Janis not many had the chance to see.
Janis Joplin’s scrapbook Days and Summers can be found online at www.janisjoplinbook.com.
Interview conducted by Millie Scott
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