Jay Reatard Talks Chris Knox Benefit Comp, Upcoming Releases and His Plans for "More of a Pop Direction"

Jay Reatard Talks Chris Knox Benefit Comp, Upcoming Releases and His Plans for 'More of a Pop Direction'
As we previously reported, Memphis garage heathen Jay Reatard was planning to collaborate with Chris Knox before the Kiwi pop maven suffered a tragic stroke. With Knox still recovering, the collaboration is on indefinite hiatus. However, in a recent interview with Exclaim!, Reatard said that he'll be joining Yo La Tengo and numerous other bands on an upcoming benefit comp for the fallen Flying Nun hero.

"It should be coming out in three or four months," Reatard told us. "There are a lot of good bands on the list that are going to do it. A friend of his from New Zealand is going to put it out, and I said I might be able to help with getting a State-side release. Who knows. There are so many great songs, it looked like there was a list of indie heavy-hitters if you will."

According to the Chris Knox recovery blog, there will indeed be some heavy hitters involved. The album is called Stroke, and will feature Knox covers from the following artists: Will Oldham, Jeff Mangum (Neutral Milk Hotel), Bill Callahan, Guided By Voices, the Mountain Goats, Lambchop, Lou Barlow, David Kilgour (the Clean), the Mint Chicks, Graeme Downs, Jay Clarkson, Martin Phillips, Shane Carter, Pumice, Alec Bathgate, and the aforementioned Reatard and Yo La Tengo. A release date for the album has not yet been set.

Reatard also mentioned his other planned projects, including limited singles for his Shattered Records singles club. On top of that, he mentioned a possible "aggressive" seven-inch for In The Red, as well as a collaborative album with TV Smith from the Adverts. "We're talking about me writing and recording the music, and I think [Smith] would do all the vocals and take care of the lyric writing so I don't look like a jock trying to write poetry," Reatard explained.

Oh, but there's more. This fall, Reatard will release a ten-inch record on Matador with outtakes from his upcoming Watch Me Fall record, as well as a compilation for the label where he'll hand pick six bands to contribute two songs each, with him contributing two as well.

As if that weren't enough, Reatard is also looking to his next full-length album, which he hopes to get cracking on in spring of 2010. "I'm just going to go ahead and call it my sell-out record," he says, tongue in cheek. "I'm just going to go big... I definitely see it going off into more of a pop direction, but at some point I'm going to plateau, because surprise surprise, I'm not the most musically inclined person. I'm pretty basic at what I do. I know my limits. It's always made a mark on every record I ever made.

"I read an interview with Johnny Ramone and he was talking about the Ramones. He said, 'We couldn't really play, so rather than sound like we were sloppy like other bands going a step beyond there ability, we always played a notch below our ability so we sounded really good.' If I can keep doing that, I think it'll be fine."

First things first, Reatard's Matador debut, Watch Me Fall, will be released on August 18.