This afternoon word began spreading on Twitter and various indie blogs that prolific garage rocker Jay Reatard had died. His label, Goner Records, posted a quick message confirming Reatard's passing on its online bulletin board at around 3 p.m., stating:
"It is with great sadness that we report the passing of our good friend Jay Reatard. Jay died in his sleep last night. We will pass along information about funeral arrangements when they are made public."
Rocks Off interviewed Reatard just a month back, ahead of his December gig at Walter's, and he was extremely nice guy on the phone, considering that he was in the middle of a strife-filled tour. Even at the gig here in town there was some sort of scuffle outside. A day later, he was attacked onstage by crowd members in Austin. Brittanie Shey covered the Walter's show for Rocks Off, and turned in a rather promising report (which Reatard himself even commented on).
The Memphis-based guitarist and singer whose real name was Jimmy Jay Lindsey Jr., 29, had complained a few days back on Twitter about being ill with the flu saying "Fuck this sick shit! I'm out the door on a Pho' soup run!" on January 9.
Reatard released the more pop-inflected Watch Me Fall last fall to critical acclaim and the album was included on many Best Of 2009 lists.
Matador Records, which released Watch Me Fall, issued the following statement Wednesday afternoon:
"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."
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.