Jay Reatard

January 13th, 2010 at 4:16 pm by Nils

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.

jay run web

76 Responses to “Jay Reatard”

  1. Chris Says:

    how sad, way way too soon, he had way more in him, rip jay

  2. Don Says:

    so. freaking. sad.

  3. Ethan Says:

    I am shocked and saddened by this sudden news. Jay made great contributions to Matador and music in general; he will be sincerely missed.


  4. timesnewviking Says:

    we will miss you jay.

  5. Maria cecilia Says:

    so fucking sad

  6. Jennifer Says:

    I am SO SAD about this. He was a true musician and artist and did things HIS WAY. I love him for that.

  7. Fiona Says:

    Terribly upsetting news. He was such a vibrant and exciting artist and I will miss his greatly. Thinking of you all.

  8. jenni Says:


  9. Garry Vince Says:

    So gutted to have heard this news. Brilliant musician. Really kicking myself for having missed him last time he was in the UK. His twitter updates never failed to make me have a laugh, such a down to earth guy it seemed.

    As well as Blood Visions being a near perfect album, and his songs being great his cover of Beck’s Gamma Ray is pretty much superior to the original in every way.

    You’ll be missed for sure, Jay!

  10. Trappedinstatic Says:

    this makes me feel absolutely hollow and sick. Such a terrible loss.

  11. kiddo Says:


  12. Tim Says:

    Definately not a good day for terrific rock and roll. Jay will be missed and I’m sure we can only speculate what amazing things he had left to do.

  13. jldjr Says:

    i saw him opening for the pixies; i knew who he was but id never heard more than a clip of his songs… he was incredible. he had energy, and great songs. this is really tragic. rip jay

  14. Zack Says:

    A true artist. Live fast, die young.

    RIP, Jay. Thanks for the art.

  15. todd Says:

    wtf? this sucks. such a great musician…you\\\’ll be missed Jay.

  16. Salman Says:

    Sad, sad news. R.I.P.

  17. dake13 Says:

    Wow. Tremendous talent lost. He seemed like the kind of guy who could have done anything, any kind of song.

  18. Benjamin Says:


  19. dola Says:

    goddamnit. condolences to his family and friends and memphis and music. he could’ve gone many places musically as time would’ve went on. i’ll never forget a blistering set he played at a cmj show a couple of years back, turning around and seeing people with mouths open and the “what the fuck was that?” faces on.

    terrible, terrible news.

  20. giulio Says:

    porco dio porco dio porco dio!!!

  21. Sage Says:

    May angels lead you in

  22. shady_lanes Says:

    Known about his work for a while, only started to get into it recently. Absolutely guttted that any future listening is going to be overshadowed by this awful news.

    Rest in peace.

  23. hortha71 Says:

    I am devastated and completely heartbroken! I feel like a family member or close friend has died. For the last 4 or 5 years (since Blood Visions came out), Jay has been hands-down, my favorite artist, whether it be solo, with Lost Sounds, Angry Angles, Destruction Unit, Terror Visions, etc., etc., etc.! I am very grateful and fortunate to have been able to see him play live many times and felt excited for him as I watched his career begin to explode in the last year or so.

    Many heartfelt condolences to his friends and family. This is a man that will be sorely missed.

  24. astarr68 Says:

    This ruined my day. Jay was one of my few hopes for the future of music, and looked forward with great anticipation to his albums and seeing him live. Criminally underrated songwriter, incredible live performance, only glimmer of good that I can see potentially coming from this, is a wave of new fans who will discover his music.

  25. Fernando Says:

    Greetings from Brazil e very very salutions for Matador,Jay’s family for this sad episode.It’s a such thing who can’t understand.He was young…..No more words.

  26. Jan Says:

    This is REALLY SAD. I’m completely destroyed inside. I listen to his records almost every day, he was one of my favorite artists of the 00′s, i really love his music.

    Rest in peace, Jay.
    And thanks for all the good moments.

  27. Sara Says:

    Man, this really sucks!

  28. Guus Says:


  29. Daniel Melo Says:

    Descanse em paz, grande Jay.

  30. MSDLC Says:

    A few snapshots I took when they played. Enjoy!

    I got a chance to see him play a few times.

    See you later Jay!

  31. Covert Curiosity Says:

    Only the good die young. We’ll miss you Jay.

  32. The Fader Says:

    This makes me very, very sad.

  33. Judy P Xiu Says:

    \\ R.I.P Jay Reatard :’( . i heart you ♥ X xx




  34. preston y. drum Says:

    I had the unique pleasure of getting to jay fairly well. He lived with my best friend. Our bands played together and drank and ate at the same Vietnamese places. He was a whirlwind of creativity and chaos in the same day. I have many fond memories of his antics.

  35. C Says:

    This is sad… he was like one of my favorite guys out there right now. I have his poster up on my wall. My night is ruined

  36. Mark Says:

    I drove Jay on a couple of tours in Europe in 2009. Sad to hear the news. Jay wrote good music, had a good band, played from the heart and took no prisoners.

  37. femur Says:

    he is and will always be loved……

  38. Chris Says:

    oh its such a shame. Blood Visions was a PERFECT album and all of his stuff was refreshingly fascinating for the ears. RIP from TN

  39. Adam Says:

    Looks like death has formed!

  40. Nick Says:

    The world will miss his gift and love of music. A tragic loss of such a young life…RIP

  41. derm Says:

    i had a chance to see him in Montreal there a bit ago, but i didn’t, cause i was broke and heartbroken… lame, i know. He kicked ass man. Always wanted to meet him.
    sleep tight

  42. Andrew Earles Says:

    I keep restarting this first sentence over and over and over…so I’m giving another shot in the morning. Too much today…

  43. yesnosir Says:

    what hurts me more it’s think that he was just a boy: full of energy, fearless and punk fucking rock. Just keep on rockin’ in a free world… RIP just wouldn’t fit.

  44. INDIERIDER Says:


  45. Rich Says:

    Going to miss you Jay. I can’t believe you’re gone. Was a pleasure knowing and working with you. You’ll never be forgotten.

  46. RDJ Says:

    This really hurts….what a loss :( RIP Jay

  47. Dantronix Says:

    Jay came through Portland,OR and played one of the most powererful shows I’ve ever witnessed. I’ve seen everyone from Prince to Nirvana live and Jay was one of the best . He’ll definitely live on through his music. Thanks for the jams Jimmy…


  48. Ed Says:

    Really sorry to hear this, rest in peace.

  49. Jean-Pierre Says:

    bien trop rapide ce départ…
    mes sympathies à la famille et amis.

  50. brian Says:

    Very sad. R.I.P., Jay you’ll be missed.

  51. Eric Howard Says:

    What the hell. Txt from Memphis all over my phone when i got home last night. Jay i love your music. Keep rockin wherever you are now. You will be missed

  52. Nate K Says:

    A lot of rockers have died in my lifetime. But this one really, really bummed me out. Sent a friend at Matador condolences earlier, but to the rest of you folks there mourning as well, my condolences. RIP Jay.

  53. Andrew V. Says:

    The first time I heard “There is no sun” it hit me so hard I wrote a song about playing it over and over again. I recorded a demo of it last month and was hoping Jay might get to hear it and know how much his music moved me. So sad I won’t get to tell him now. A song for you Jay. Thanks so much for your songs.

  54. Anne Says:

    29 ans!!! Merde!! Un putain de mec avec des putains de morceaux!!! Duraille!!!

  55. Erik Says:

    Come on Matador! Time to rerelease Blood Visions on a major label and let it blow up like it should!

  56. Nano Says:

    This was going to be his decade. His music was the most exciting I’d heard in years. So so sad.

  57. roots Says:

    Encore un qui nous quitte bien trop vite..RIP, Jay, j’écouterai encore longtemps tes titres dévastateurs

  58. JP Says:

    It is with great sadness that I heard of Jay’s death. I am also greatly saddened by the fact that these deaths occur with frequency within the creative community, yet little is done by record executives to address this issue. It is a known fact that artists usually have traumatic childhoods that predispose them to the risks of addictive behaviors and other self destructive behaviors that are, at times, considered by the industry forms of self expression (cutting oneself with razors, etc.) I wonder if the execs at Matador records and at other record companies for that matter, can take a more active role in situations where they are concerned about the well being of their artists. I would recommend they look at musiccares, moderation management, and harm reduction coalision.

  59. adri Says:

    je suis vraiment tres triste je l a i connu il y a 3 mois grace a mon tonton j ai ecouter tous ses morceaux en boucle que j adore
    je suis degoute pour la soiree

  60. ALex Horn Says:

    Blood VISIONS was just one of the best album ever.
    i’m fuckin sad to have seen him just once in france, i was ill for the bruxelles show soon after.
    sad not to see what Jay Reatard could have done with COLA FREAKS.



  61. Gerard Says:


    A cause of death has yet to be established. Your concern for troubled persons is all well and good but there’s no point in characterizing Jay’s demise as the result of “self destructive behaviors” without access to the facts at hand. There’s a time and place for us to address the well being of our artists, and this blog entry isn’t it. For whatever it is worth, we found yesterday’s news genuinely shocking and despite a public reputation that hinted otherwise, we truly believed Jay was gonna be part of our lives and yours for the long haul. I wholeheartedly reject the notion we’d turn a blind eye to Jay’s welfare or that of anyone else we’re associated with.

  62. Francis Says:

    Dans le paysage musical de ces dernières années où tant de musiciens se sont réfugiés derrière la technologie (bonne ou mauvaise) ou la molesse (bonne ou mauvaise),la musique de Jay Reatard faisait un peu figure d’exception et faisait vraiment du bien,retrouvant l’urgence du punk,de la no-wave ou du grunge:cela en énervait d’ailleurs quelques-uns qui,regardant sa musique de haut,la considéraient comme pas assez intellectuelle,adolescente,rétrograde.critiques venant pourtant quelquefois d’anciens “punks” ou branchés des années 70/80, qui s’appropriant obstinément leurs groupes d’antan vénérés, n’acceptaient peut-être pas qu’un Jay Reatard ose leur voler leur jeunesse perdue.Ces gens là n’ont en fait pas écouté ou voulu écouté la musique de Jay Reatard car celle-ci va bien au delà d’une musique qui leur rappellerait leur jeunesse ou en tout cas si elle leur rappellerait,cela serait,me semble-t-il pour le meilleur;en effet, nous avions là en la personne de Jay Reatard un compositeur hors pair,tranchant vraiment dans le vif,éxécutant des riffs et mélodies imparables avec une énergie,rapidité et précision bluffante,ayant cet art bien à lui de relancer sans arrêt et frénétiquement la machine,ne faisant jamais redescendre la pression,atteignant dans nombres de morceaux des sommets de romantisme noir speedé et échevelé,dangereusement jouissif.
    En concert,un son énorme,une maitrise,une hargne et une énergie rares avec ce parfum de dangerosité tellement atypique dans le paysage musical actuel.
    R.I.P. Jay.

  63. TT B. Rocker Says:

    I heard that Gerard,

    Honestly, I did my fair share of Jay hating (even though I listened to him all the time). But I truly did stick up for him when all the nerds said he was going soft (sorry production values and songwriting got tighter guys). But I was really really bummed to hear that he passed away, and “Watch Me Fall” truly felt like a harbinger of what was to come, and I can’t say anyting for him as a person, but musically it truly is sad loss.

  64. jfwhiteside Says:

    The last time I saw Jimmy Lindsey was at the Stork Club in Oakland a couple of years ago. May have been for Budget Rock, I dunno. The show was rawkus. Pure chaos. He wound up getting in a fight with some dude in the audience and still finished the set like a champ. Afterwards I thanked him for a good set and he gave me a surly “Thanks” before he went to calm down at my friend’s house just up the street (where he was staying). It was humorous to have briefly met the bastard. At least we have his music, I guess.

  65. RFR Says:

    I never realized how much it reassured me to know there was a guy like Jay out there until I read this news. Every time I look at that picture, every time I think about all the songs we’ll never hear, every time I imagine how his family must be feeling, I want to cry.

    To his family, if you ever happen to read this – thank you for sharing Jimmy with us. He inspired many of us and will continue to inspire, musically and personally, for a long time to come.

  66. RFR Says:

    One more thing, re JP – if we were talking about Warners or Sony, maybe pointing at label indifference would make sense. But Matador, from what I know of it having known people close to the label’s founders and artists, is a pretty personal, close-knit crew. I agree that there is generally a shameful indifference or acceptance towards musicians’ self-destructive behavoirs. It disturbs me greatly that this is seen as a necessary part of being an artist. Often the same issues that drive musicians to create also drive them to self-destruct, but it doesn’t enhance art and even if it did, it wouldn’t be worth the cost in lives, not to the friends and family of the people who die.

    HOWEVER, whether or not it was your intention, what you wrote points a finger at the individuals at Matador. Blaming them for a *societal* problem is unfair and it’s cruel in light of what just happened. No one who has just lost a friend needs baseless recriminations from strangers. I hope this death causes some people to rethink their attitudes and find ways to help prevent future needless deaths. But singling out a few individuals, some of the individuals most hurt by this death no less, is inappropriate unless you know how Jay died and know specifically that Matador ignored his problems. Clearly you don’t because as Gerard pointed out, the cause of death is still undetermined, and you yourself said you “wonder.”

    Have you never lost someone needlessly like this? Everyone wonders if they could have done something differently and it’s one of the worst feelings in the world. You don’t need to feed those flames.

  67. ElRoi Says:

    I was completely shocked when I hear the sad news about Jay’s untimely passing. I had just seen Jay perform at the 40 Watt Club in Athens, GA back on December 2nd of “09. I was blown away by his show. I had intended to catch him at Criminal Records in Atlanta the next day and later that evening at The Earl. Unfortunately, I was just so exhausted from the 40 Watt show and the hour long drive back home the night before, I just could drag my tired butt all the way down to Atlanta. God how I wished I had gone now. It must have been fate that I took my video equipment (Sony MiniDV HD and Sony MiniDV Standard) and to the 40 Watt Club that night and managed to video tape the entire show, I had asked Jay before if it was OK with him to video tape the show and he was like, “Yeah, sure.” That’s the only words I spoke to him. A few songs into the show Jay’s road manager attempted to stop me from taping and I quickly informed him that I had asked Jay’s permission before show and he had OKed it. Thank God he didn’t persist and I didn’t relinquish or the video tape of what may well be the last entire performance of Jay’s might not exist. I had intended to try and ask him a few questions on camera after the show, but I decided not to bother him after he had put on such an intense performance. Again, I kick myself now for not having the courage to have done so. Also, that night Sloan Simpson was there recording an audio tape of the show. Sloan is well known around Athens for making incredible audio tapes of live shows in the ares. If you want to hear the recording of the show check out Sloan’s website:

    I just can’t believe Jay is gone from this world forever.

  68. JP Says:

    My sincere apologies if I offended anyone by implying that Gerard from above did not do due diligence re: Jay or that my assumption over the cause of death was premature. The cause of death has been determined now, and it appears that it was due to cocaine and alcohol. So, I simply ask the question, what would be best practice in future situations when labels witness the suffering of musicians? Should we just simply refer to them as “nihilistic geniuses” and close the door on further introspection, or take a hard look, regardless of how painful that may be, at conditions that contributed to the untimely death of a very talented but troubled young man?


  69. r. starls Says:

    a whisper.

  70. Gerard Says:

    my thoughts are that you’re an insensitive creep. We didn’t consider Jay to be a “nihilistic genius”. He was first and foremost, our friend, and secondly, an artist we deeply admired. Unless you’re looking for a career as a professional vulture, I see no point in discussing whether or not Jay’s death was the result of an ACCIDENT or was a product of long term abuse. If his friends and family wanna ponder that amongst themselves (and you can be fucking certain they’ve had ample time to ask questions of themselves without an internet ambulance chaser prodding them) that’s entirely their call.

    To reiterate, I have no problem whatsoever with how Matador Records reacts when we “witness the suffering of musicians”.

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  76. Damali Brown Says:

    :’) he will be greatly missed..