Jay Reatard Dead at 29
Goner Records confirms: "It is with great sadness that we report the passing of our good friend Jay Reatard. Jay died in his sleep last night. We will pass along information about funeral arrangements when they are made public." Reatard, whose real name was Jimmy Lee Lindsey Jr., was 29. The Commercial Appeal reports that police are investigating. J. Bennett's Best Music Writing 2009 piece "Shit Magnet" is still the go-to profile of the musician's short life. "Most of the time, what's wrong with you is more interesting than what's right," Reatard told us back in July. "What's right with you is fucking boring." Ug. R.I.P. Further remembrances below:
Onetime Memphis musician King Khan told us about some of Reatard's more bonkers exploits when we interviewed him a few months ago:
- So I saw your show last night with Jay Reatard at the Music Hall of Williamsburg.
KK: We've known Jay Reatard for 13 years and we used to play with him. We played with him in Memphis a whole bunch back in the day when we were in the Spaceshits. I actually smoked pot with his mom.
What was his mom like?
KK: His mom was very kind and very poor and they lived in this trailer-style thing in Memphis. He came from a very, very poor family, that's why both of us are very proud of him... To be honest, out of all the people I know, Jay Reatard is probably the punkest guy I've ever met. We're talking about a guy who, at 17, would jump into a cesspool.
KK: Or here's the best Jay story. When he was 17, he played at a mechanic's garage. This guy that was a fan of the Reatards [Jay's former band] set up a show in some garage. So while the show was going on, Jay was getting really crazy. While he was playing, he got naked and he opened up a can of motor oil and dumped it all over his head and was slipping and sliding everywhere. And then some smart-ass in the audience just rolled up a can of something on stage--it was all dirty, so he didn't know what it was. Jay grabbed it and opened it up and sprayed it on his dick. Within 10 seconds he started screaming in agony on the floor in the fetal position--"Ahhhhh!"--while covered in oil. Then he grabbed the can and scrapped the dirt off from it--it was EASY-OFF oven cleaner.
KK: He got taken to the hospital. Imagine the doctor's face when a 17-year-old Jay Reatard shows up covered in motor oil with two layers of the skin on his penis burnt off. That's how punk his love is.
Matador has issued a statement:
- We are devastated by the death of Jimmy Lee Lindsey Jr., aka Jay Reatard. Jay was as full of life as anyone we've ever met, and responsible for so many memorable moments as a person and artist. We're honored to have known and worked with him, and we will miss him terribly.
Reatard in the Stuy Town oval last summer:
More video, from 2007 at Death by Audio:
The "Waiting For Something" documentary on Reatard:
And of course, "It Ain't Gonna Save Me":
From Reatard's own site, where they're offering a Nirvana song that was one of the last tracks the artist recorded:
- Jay Reatard 1980-2010
Jimmy Lee Lindsey, Jr. died in his sleep on Wednesday morning. He was 29 years old.
He is survived by his mother Devonna May, his father Jimmy Lindsey, and his sisters Leslie Lindsey, Stephanie Duncan and Gara May. He'll be missed by music fans all over the world.
With 22 full-length albums and over 100 releases, Jay dedicated his life to music. He played nearly one thousand shows in over 20 countries around the world. He was incredibly grateful for all the support his fans gave him over the years.
Funeral arrangements are being made, and a memorial service is being planned in Memphis. Please watch this space for the announcement.
If you knew, played with, or were a fan of Jay and his music, please share your thoughts, stories, memories and condolences in the comments below.