R.I.P. Jay Reatard 1980-2010

Waiting For Something – a short documentary about Jay Reatard

Jay Reatard | MySpace Music Videos

I was born the same year as Kurt Cobain and caught on Nirvana when Nevermind was released. It was a great album. I never understood the extreme hype though. And it seems like I was in good company since Kurt Cobain always claimed there where other bands that deserved as much or more attention than Nirvana. When Kurt blow his brain out it came as no surprise considering the life he lead. I wasn’t devastated as many of my peers. Remember how much shit one of my friends got when entering the local club the night of Kurts death with a special home made t-shirt featuring an incredible crude and simple cartoon of Kurt blowing his brain out. Ola the bass player in my old band Raped Teenagers got incredible pissed off. Can understand that now sort of. It was just too early. As I said I wasn’t devastated. It was sad but I didn’t feel much cause their music didn’t mean that much to me. Simple as that.

So I was surprised over my reactions when I read about Jay Reatards death two days ago. I got upset. Really upset. Been surfing the web several hours since then reading and watching stuff about Jay. Unlike Nirvana, Jay Reatard made music and lyrics that I could relate to alot more. Especially since he went solo and the release of the incredible Blood Vision album. It was punk. It was pop. It was raw. It was hectic to say the least. Urgent as hell. I played and still plays it alot. You could clearly hear he got inspiration from early punk but unlike 99.9% of todays so called punk bands he didn’t try to emulate the past. It was for real and he made the music he made his own.

Just as I was fortunate enough to watch Nirvana live at Roskilde festival in 1992(?) I had the chance to see Jay with his band in March last year. Easily one of my top 5 shows of all time. The band was tight as hell and they played the set at break neck speed. What sounded as pure pop songs on record was transformed into pure punk blasts cutting the length of the songs into half. The show was so intense I can still feel like I’m there when thinking about it. I never took the chance to speak to Jay since I’ve never been the guy feeling the urge to talk to other bands except when I used to set up shows myself. And I’ve also felt awkward when people wanted to talk to me after playing a show myself. So I just chit chatted for a short time with the bass player when buying some merch.

Jay been a man of many myths and stories. There’s even a whole thread only about Jay on the Terminal Boredom blog where all sorts of stories and rumors are circulating. Just as there’s many people telling how nice he was to them there’s an equal portion of those who’ve experienced otherwise. And those who’ve experienced both sides. After following and reading about him during the years he reminds me alot of one my closets friend who could be a real asshole to others when drunk. He manage to have some respect for me when drunk though we fought each other a couple of times. A constant itch that won’t go away no matter what you do. A sense of constant dissatisfaction. Hate for sure. And at the same a wish for acceptance and just to be loved even though you punch and piss on people on the way. Just like a troubled child would do in lack of better tools. I won’t defend his behaviors, though I can recognize myself in some parts of his stage persona. The constant urge of wanting to fuck with the audience for some sort of reaction.

If Nirvana where overrated during their time Jay Reatard was sure underrated though he was on his way up and was becoming the indie scenes new darling. Jay constantly evolved musically and I so looked forward hearing and watching what he was up to next, but now it’s over. Fuck it. Bye Jay.

Here’s one of my many fave songs with Jay Reatard. See Saw.

Country: USA
Year: 2008
Label: Matador
Format: 7″
Screaming Hand.mp3

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19,170 Responses to R.I.P. Jay Reatard 1980-2010

  1. cct says:

    Agree. Jay was real.

  2. The Flakes // Drummer says:

    Michael Jackson.

  3. roc says:

    This doesn’t make his music any better.

  4. The Flakes // Drummer says:

    It doesn´t? How come?

  5. Fellipe TOPO says:

    I saw him last year in a Vice closed party in São Paulo. We had no name in the list to get in, but he put himself the names of all our mates, as my friend asked him before… It was an amazing concert, but if I’m correct, he did not like it.
    Anyway, it is pretty sad, as you said, one of (the few) that we could wait for a good record.

  6. Jay Thurston says:

    I thought the music was great. Oh well…another dead fucker.

  7. Jay Thurston says:

    He was a reatard!

  8. Levi Johnston says:

    Jay’s comments about fucking my mother (and girlfriend) were always rude but tongue-in-cheek playful–and I enjoyed them. Of course I am sad to see him go. The KBD website is going to be less fun without its most enthusiastic deliverer of comments. But at 46 years old, he served his purpose. RIP!

  9. Levi Johnston says:

    Jay, I want to be nice, but those Swedes are so sentimental–as gay as Icelanders (or that blogger Erich)–I mean well, Levi. He was a retard?

  10. Erich says:

    Finally sat down and played the two songs. Not bad. Retro chic, but nice.

  11. JohanMalm says:

    Do anyone know from what show the kicking is?

  12. The Flakes // Drummer says:

    I think the one most people talk about is the one in Toronto:
    Would´ve done it too.

    Surprised your liked it Erich ha ha.

  13. This is a pretty sweet eulogy. The last time I saw Jay I was mad at him because he let my cat out at 6 in the morning.

  14. X_Elim says:

    Done by others, much better. Meh.

  15. The Flakes // Drummer says:

    Please enlighten us X_Elim or at least me.

  16. Peter J says:

    I agree with Jay Thurston, please post a Abba-single!

  17. EEK says:

    Gone too soon. Jay Reatard had many more awesome songs to write. Very sad stuff.

  18. The Flakes // Drummer says:

    Jay haven´t asked me to post an Abba single so it won´t happen.

  19. mike.r says:

    Jay was an awesome guy and his shows always were over the top. I’m kinda suprised that one of the matador singles was posted. I figured it would be one of the reatards singles or the teenage hate lp. Well maybe not suprised but I figured those would fit in better with most of the other stuff I see here.

    Anyway this is an early ‘tards show….memphis just isn’t gonna be the same.


  20. The Flakes // Drummer says:

    I think Jay Reatard was at his peak as solo artist that’s why I posted that. I think The Reatards was the least interesting he did.

  21. hortha71 says:

    Really nice tribute, man. I was totally devastated when I heard the news. Jay has been my hero ever since I bought Blood Visions almost 4 years ago. As many who heard it might agree, that album totally decimated at least 98% of what had come out for many years prior. As far as I’m concerned, nothing has touched it since. The other singles and the Matador album are at the very least interesting and in most cases, kickass at almost the Blood-Visions level. His tireless drive and his prolific output alone earn him my respect.

    I was a big Nirvana fan in my teens/20s. I felt similarly when Kurt died, but this is kinda worse in a way. Kurt had earned his accolades, whether he wanted them or not. Jay was on his way to far greater things and it’s a fucking pisser the world will never hear them.

    R.I.P. Jimmy Lee

  22. bunitedfc says:

    The See/Saw/Screaming Hand 7″ is great, this kid had skills to pay the bills. Its too bad he had to go too early R.I.P!

  23. SICKNICK! says:

    the overlyunderrated jay reatard, cant say ill miss him, but it is a shame. Maybe this will make him more “legendary” later on down down the road.
    his shows didnt seem like much of a musical performance, but how hilarious is this. i havent decided whats better…jay pissing on one of his band mates or the gay firecracker dance??

  24. otto parts says:

    some overfed fag. a bit overrated too. he still gets props for being from m-town, tenn. and for hitting that old crackhead punk geezer in face at a Toronto gig.

    i don’t think he was going on to far greater thing musically. he had just signed with faux-indie label Matador and he was going way more towards a poppy power-pop direction, leaving his noisy past behind. Maybe readers of readers of Entertainment Weekly or Spin might have found his solo music edgy but not the majority of KBD fans.

    Putting in the same class with Kurt of Nirvana, please get serious now. Sorry but it’s the truth.

  25. The Flakes // Drummer says:

    It’s your truth not mine dear Otto. Out of curiosity, what have you DONE?

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