Roundup of news, tributes on Jay Reatard's death

I'll use this post to round up links involving the sad news of the death of Memphis garage-punk icon Jay Reatard at age 29.

* Pitchfork has a couple of videos from live Reatard performances.

* Brooklyn Vegan was tracking rumors of the death during the afternoon, as we were here at the CA, but it soon became clear that they weren't just rumors. BV also links to an interview with Jay from October, as well as a collection of fantastic photos from a 2008 show in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

* AV Club also links to an interview, this one from last January, right before Jay's Matador debut, Watch Me Fall, dropped.

* The Los Angeles Times has a condensed bio that covers all the bases, including Jay's unfortunate flirtations with controversy:

The troubled performer, whose entire band quit in October over an undisclosed dispute and whose rising star was occasionally besmirched by negative publicity over stage violence, leaves behind a legacy of energetic, angry and often melodic recordings with a variety of bands.

In fact, another one of those controversies had popped up just a day or two before Jay's death. This one involved a feud with New Jersey band Liquor Store.

* As Lydia from Earsucker.com points out, music site Prefix had very unfortunate timing in naming Jay's Watch Me Fall as one of the worst album covers of 2009.

* Says Carrie Brownstein on NPR's Monitor Mix blog:

It's a sad day for music because we lost a guy who made the kind of songs most of us -- in our heart of hearts -- really love. We love it because before we got all worldly and esoteric in our tastes, all we wanted was for our music to rumble and roar, to give us that teenage feeling, forever.

* Celeb Stoner digs up a 2008 interview with Jay after a show in Boston. In the video, Jay talks about getting started in music as a teenager, and he talks frankly about using drugs.

UPDATE: Plenty more links to get to on the day after Jay's death.

* Creative Loafing, the alternative weekly newspaper in Atlanta, has a roll of images of the always-photogenic Jay playing an in-store show with his former band. As well, some comments about Jay's final record, 2009's Watch Me Fall:

It was his breakthrough record that saw his songwriting move beyond the confrontational Ramone's style speedy and abrasive melancholy punk blasts, to a more refined blend of noisy pop songs. Nevertheless, he was an irreverent performer known for the frenzied energy he released during his shows. On-stage he couldn't get through his songs fast enough, while his band mates fought desperately to keep up.

 * MTV has reactions from the Pixies, with whom Jay recently toured, and Beck, whose "Gamma Ray" Jay once covered. Says Bradford Cox of Deerhunter:

"He was transgressive and honest. His flaws were something he focused on and overdubbed and distorted until they made you forget who he really was: a person with feelings and a good heart. He loved music and worked hard from a young age to pursue it. He was a self-made and unmade man. I am truly sickened to see him go."

 * A news site from British Columbia digs up another old interview that occasionally sounds eerily prescient in parts:

"You know what? I'm gonna fade away. I'm gonna be that person. I'm definitely not gonna burn out. To burn out, you have to have this big f**kin' fire and this big explosion.

"It's not gonna happen for me. I'm gonna slowly dwindle into more obscurity than I ever started off with. I want to be Amadeus [laughs]."

* Denver music blog Westword presents "Video Evidence of Jay Reatard's Ass Kicking Life," including a clip from Gonerfest 6 in Memphis.

Cranking out songs of furious energy and blinding brevity, confounding expectations at every opportunity and generally kicking the shit out of everything around him, Jay Reatard was one of the most promising rockers, not just in punk, but in all of music.


* Photographer Jacob Blickenstaff, whose work is on display at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, posts some of his stunning pictures from 2007's Gonerfest 4, along with links to today's NPR and New York Times pieces. The Times piece, by the way, contains a quote from a Spin magazine review of Jay's Watch Me Fall that sums up why his untimely death stings so much:

"Few indie-rockers have ever been on a roll like this."

8 Comments

fantastic! Jay Z is a an awesome dude.A genuine modern day role model. I took my family to see him last month in concert and had a fabulous time.

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Deputy Online News Editor Mark Richens takes you through all the news about Memphis from sources outside the Mid-South.