Published Jan 14, 2010Following yesterday's tragic passing of garage punk hero Jay Reatard, a large portion of the independent music community has been mourning and remembering the impact that the Memphis-based rocker had on their lives.
Deerhunter and Atlas Sound front-man Bradford Cox was a friend and collaborator of Reatard's. The two covered each other's songs for one of Reatard's rare Matador singles. Writing on the Deerhunter blog, Cox released the following statement:
Jay was what few people have the capacity to be. He created an undeniably classic album that contained so much pain transfered to tape in such an explosive way that it made you feel different after hearing it. 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.
Along with their initial announcement of his passing, Reatard's current label home Matador Records released a more personal statement on the imprint's blog, with Matador owner Gerard Cosloy writing:
I was on a flight to NY this afternoon and when I landed there were about two dozen text messages about Jay Reatard's passing. It is the height of understatement to say I'm upset, confused and deeply saddened by the loss of one of the more amazing people I've been fortunate to know. In record company parlance, yeah, we've lost (let's go down the checklist) a phenomenal performer, songwriter, and insatiable music lover. But we've lost a great friend as well, and that's the part that hurts the most.
We're not the only ones feeling that way right now, obviously. Jay's friends all over the country, heck, all over the world are dealing with this. I know his various scrapes over the years have made for cheap internet fodder, but the people who cared about him are gonna remember a real person that mattered to them. Our thoughts are with that very large group of people this evening.
Matador also shared a video of Waiting for Something, a brief documentary made about Reatard. That video is embedded below.
Among the numerous other peers memorializing Reatard are No Age, who posted a series of photos from their time with him on their blog. Those photos can be viewed here.
Jay's cause of death is still being determined. One notable fact is that he did Tweet about feeling sick on January 9. "Fuck this sick shit," he wrote. "I'm out the door on a Pho' soup run!"
No further details have been revealed on the official Jay Reatard site, but an unreleased Reatard cover of Nirvana's "Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle" has been posted. The track can be downloaded here.
Waiting For Something - a short documentary about Jay Reatard
Jay Reatard | MySpace Music Videos