Jay Reatard

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 thoughts on “Jay Reatard”

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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. http://bit.ly/4XQeD4

  4. 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.

  5. 🙁
    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

  6. 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.



  7. JP,

    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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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?


  15. 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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