I don't know that I can add anything particularly insightful or meaningful to the myriad conversations and remembrances that have been flying around the web in the wake of Jay Reatard's shocking and untimely death Tuesday night. We met a handful of times, but I didn't know Jay personally. I did know his music, and I'll never forget the experience of hearing "Teenage Hate" for the first time, a record I bought before hearing when it came out because it was on Goner and I thought the cover looked cool. We were the same age, and knowing that a 17-year old was responsible for one of the most exciting records I'd ever heard blew my mind. At one point in my early twenties, I sold "Teenage Hate" in an ill-considered bout of record shedding, only to regret it almost instantly and then be relieved a few years later when Goner decided to reissue it.
I got stoned and listened to "Teenage Hate" last night, and I remembered what it felt like to hear great music for the first time. It's an exhilarating and strange experience, realizing that your life until that moment had been lacking something that suddenly seemed so vital. I've paid less and less attention to Jay's recorded output in recent years, but seeing him live was always a treat. The last time I saw him- in Memphis for Gonerfest 5- he was in typical Reatarded form, playing fast and furious and throwing punches at a rowdy audience member who kept trying to sabotage the recording equipment. To think that someone who's been a part of my musical life for over a decade- who I essentially grew up listening to- is gone is, well... I don't know. Unsettling. And sad. Jimmy Lee Lindsay Jr. will be missed.
Waiting For Something - a short documentary about Jay Reatard
Jay Reatard | MySpace Music Videos
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