Interview: Jay Reatard on Failures, Canada, Hot Dogs, and His Worst New York City Gig
"Most of the time, what's wrong with you is more interesting that what's right. What's right with you is fucking boring."
Jay Lindsey started making music at 15 and has since played in a zillion different bands, releasing a zillion different recordings on what would seem like a zillion different labels. Over the last few years, he's mostly worked under the moniker Jay Reatard--this August, he's due to follow up last year's Matador Singles '08 with their first proper album for the label, a quick, punchy collection of summery garage-pop tunes entitled Watch Me Fall.
We called Jay yesterday while he was en route to Montreal. It went straight to voicemail-- twice. He then called us back. Also, may we suggest trying to eat 30 hot dogs at your next summer BBQ? You'll probably fail too.
You're in Montreal right now?
Yeah, we're driving through Canadian hillbilly country now. It's alright up here. People are just fucking weird. I think we stopped off at Canadian methville or something like that. I got yelled at when I was doing an interview by a gas pump. A guy fucking freaked out. I guess they thought I could blow up a gas station with a cell phone. I didn't know that.
Yeah, your Twitter said the other day that you got 30 hot dogs for dinner. Is this true?
Oh yeah. We went to this place called Steve's Lunch and ordered 30 hot dogs and five cheese fries and 10 Mountain Dews [laughs]. We were defeated. We couldn't finish them and they kept bringing them out, two at a time. We were like, "M'aam, we're done." And she's like "You got more to go" and I was like, "Keep them."
I've been listening to Watch Me Fall. It's quite catchy and quite nice for the summer.
That's a first I've heard of it being a summer record.
It's fun. Maybe the lyrics aren't the most uplifting at times...
I'm trying to contrast between lyrical content and how a song makes you feel. They don't have to be the same thing, you know?
No, not at all.
Sometimes it can have the opposite effect if your lyrics are a little bit bummer, as long as the song has a certain feel, it can make you feel different than the obvious way it should. I guess that's what I've always tried to do.
There seems to be a heavy dose of self deprecation throughout.
The name itself implies a pretty heavy dose of self deprecation. I'm basically just trying to say, "Hey, check it out world. I've put all these warts on my face and now you have to look at them." That's all it is. Just put it all out there. I think if people celebrated what is wrong with them more, they'd be more interesting people. Most of the time, what's wrong with you is more interesting that what's right. What's right with you is fucking boring.