Issue 22, Magazine

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

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

But it’s the paradox of juxtaposing forces that makes Reatard’s work as an artist so interesting. That evening finds us back at the house where he recorded Watch Me Fall, which is mostly boxed up, closing out a phase in his life. “The whole ‘watch me fall’ thing is sarcastic in a sense that it’s the first record I’ve made that felt therapeutic.” He tells me he got sober for ten months working on the record. “It sounds cheesy, but I feel this record literally saved my life.”

Going sober for ten months was a risky personal move, one that completely upended his social life. “You find out who your real friends are,” he says. “Almost everyone disappeared on me. So I’ve befriended new people. The people I hang out with now I haven’t known for a super long time, but I feel that they’re less judgmental than some of the other people I was hanging out with. You surround yourself with people you like, and I don’t like a lot of people.”

We wrap up our evening and Ray and I give Jay a ride to the bar where he left his car, the band van, four days ago—at least he hopes like hell that’s where it is, otherwise he’s got no idea where it could be. He’s got more friends to meet (promises to keep, and miles to go before he sleeps, and all that) and on the way out we talk about what he hopes people will get out of his music. “I want to make records that for thirty-five minutes make people feel good. No big goal other than that.” And then, stoking those contradictions he relishes, adds coyly that he wouldn’t mind challenging listeners, too. “If I can’t make people think by playing too many notes, maybe I can confuse them by writing a pop song about killing yourself.”

As I’ve learned by now, he’s kidding. Kind of. The one thing I’m sure of is that Jay Reatard has got energy to burn. He’s got more love for his music than he can contain, and it doesn’t seem like his prolific streak is going to slow down anytime soon. He’s got a new house and studio to set up, new neighbors to charm and new cops to befriend. Jay Reatard is a man on a mission, and he’s just getting started

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