Thursday, January 14, 2010

Obituary - Jay Reatard

On Wednesday 13th January 2010, Jimmy Lee Lindsey Jr, better known to readers as Jay Reatard, was found dead in bed at his home in Midtown, Memphis at around 3.30am. He was aged 29. A statement from Goner Records says Lindsey had died in his sleep. Those close to him state that recently he had been complaining of flu-like symptoms. Although the actual cause of death is unknown at the time of writing, the Memphis police is believed to have opened a death investigation.
Lindsey was born on 1st May 1980 in Memphis, Tennessee. He began his recording career at the age of 15 via a home-made demo tape. This was sent to Goner Records where it caught the attention of Eric Friedl, Goner’s owner and then member of the OBLIVIANS. This was to prove a valuable contact as, when Lindsey formed his first project, THE REATARDS, it was Goner Records that released the band’s debut 7”, ‘Get Real Stupid’, in 1998.
In 2001, Lindsey - by this time using the Reatard moniker - started what was initially a side project named THE LOST SOUNDS. Employing a dual male/ female vocal and synthesizers, LOST SOUNDS was more experimental than the souped-up garage snot rock of REATARDS and, ultimately, took over from REATARDS as Lindsey’s main concern until a bitter split in 2005.
In between both bands, and after their respective splits, the ever-prolific Reatard continued making music in projects such as BAD TIMES, THE FINAL SOLUTIONS, NERVOUS PATTERNS, ANGRY ANGLES, TERROR VISIONS and DESTRUCTION UNIT.
2006 saw him start a solo career with what many consider to be his definitive work, the ‘Blood Visions’ album. Over the next three years, a succession of solo singles followed before his second - and ultimately final - album, ‘Watch Me Fall’. This was part of a 2008-signed, exclusive multi-album deal with New York label, Matador Records, which released a compilation of his 2008 singles (reviewed here).
He also contributed a track to the ‘Stroke - Songs For Chris Knox’ album. Chris Knox, an infamous New Zealand musician who was in formative Punk bands THE ENEMY and TOY LOVE, suffered a stroke in June 2009 and was due to collaborate with Reatard.
This solo career was deluged with problems over the last year. In October 2009, his backing band (The Barbaras) quit mid-tour. Reatard was scathing; in a Twitter post he stated, “Band quit! Fuck them! They are boring rich kids who can't play for [shit] anyways... Say hello to your ugly and boring [wives]. So who wants to see just how terrible it is to play in my band. I mean it's so so hard I promise it's the worst :)” In December the same year, he was attacked on stage in an Austin, Texas club by two audience members. Jay fought back with his mic stand.
A statement from Matador reads, "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."