Garage rock wunderkind Jay Reatard dead at 29
Sad news for the garage rock world: Jay Reatard, whose given name was Jimmy Lee Lindsey Jr., was found dead in his Memphis home early this morning. He was just 29. According to a statement from Goner Records, the label that released the singer's earliest efforts, he died in his sleep. Further details have not been released.
The troubled performer, whose entire band quit in October over an undisclosed dispute and whose rising star was occasionally besmirched by negative publicity over stage violence, leaves behind a legacy of energetic, angry and often melodic recordings with a variety of bands.
Emerging from the Memphis underground of the late ‘90s with punk act The Reatards, the young singer built a reputation on outrageous stage antics and fast and furious music with a buzzsaw sensibility. He spent time in bands as diverse as the synth-punk-influenced Lost Sounds, Nervous Patterns, Destruction Unit, new wave garage outfit The Final Solutions and innumerable incarnations of his self-titled act, including a couple of completely solo outings.
Reatard's 2006 album “Blood Visions,” from In the Red Records, garnered widespread critical acclaim and cult adulation, which led to his being signed to big-league indie Matador Records. His debut full-length for the label, “Watch Me Fall,” was released in late 2009.
A statement on the label’s Matablog reads: “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.”
-- Jason Gelt
Photo: Jay Reatard playing the Echo in 2008. Credit: Alex Gallardo/Los Angeles Times