Issue 22, Magazine

Jay Reatard: The Ballad of Jimmy Lee Lindsey, Jr.

Alex Moore :: Monday, November 2nd, 2009 4:00 pm

“I just bought this house,” he tells me, handing me a can of beer by way of greeting. “I just moved in yesterday and today—I’m paying these guys to move me out of the last house.” The last house, where he recorded Watch Me Fall and where he’s rehearsed with his band for the last few years, is a short drive away. “Man, it sucked, we practiced here for the first time last night and the cops showed up about four”—he means a.m. “The last neighborhood we could do whatever we wanted. But you move to a nice cracker neighborhood and people start calling the cops.” He makes a point of telling me that the cops were cool. They know him, he says, and they instructed him to write a note to the neighbors, telling them that he is a property owner on the block, that he runs his band as a business and that he tours the world, and that, basically, they should shut the fuck up.

Memphis is a small city of just over half a million people, and the circle in which Jay spends his time is a microcosm that revolves around Goner Records, the small record shop still operated by the former Oblivians and Goner record label owners. The shop, a formative part of Reatard’s musical identity, is a five-minute walk from his house. Everybody in this world knows everybody else and, lately, they especially know Jay—a fact he’s acutely conscious of.

As we walk the short distance to the restaurant he’s selected for dinner we pass a drum shop, where Jay tells me he just bought some new cymbals. “It’s weird—I go in there now and the guys know me. They’ve always known me, but I was always this brat kid, and now they’re like, Oh shit, what’s up man?”

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2 Responses to “Jay Reatard: The Ballad of Jimmy Lee Lindsey, Jr.”
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