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Jay Reatard Biography

Home > Music > R > Reatard, Jay > Biography

Birth Name: Jimmy Lee Lindsey Jr.
Born: 1980/05/01
Birth Place: Lilbourn, Missouri, U.S.
Died: 2010/01/13
Years Active: 1998–2010
Genres: Punk Rock, Garage Punk, Power Pop

Jimmy Lee Lindsey Jr. (May 1, 1980 – January 13, 2010), better known by the stage name Jay Reatard, was an American musician from Memphis, Tennessee. Lindsey was signed to Matador Records. He released recordings as a solo artist and as a member of The Reatards and Lost Sounds.

Lindsey's recording career began at the age of 15, when a home-made demo tape he had sent in to Goner Records caught the ear of former-Oblivian and Goner Records’ owner, Eric Friedl. Friedl was impressed by Lindsey's demos and signed him to his label.

Lindsey named his first project the Reatards, which at the time included only himself as a member, and adopted an Oblivians-influenced surname, calling himself Jay Reatard. The Reatards’ first release on Goner was a 7” EP called “Get Real Stupid,” which featured Lindsey as a solo performer alternating between playing guitar, singing, and beating on a bucket to provide a percussive rhythm.

For Lindsey’s second vinyl release he recruited a backing band, hiring bassist Steve Albundy and drummer Elvis Wong to accompany him. The Reatards’ first LP as a trio was 1998’s “Teenage Hate.” This was followed by a second LP, “Grown Up Fucked Up,” and a number of singles.

In 2001 Lindsey began recording music with Alicja Trout and Rich Crook as the Lost Sounds, a side project which would ultimately usurp the Reatards as Lindsey’s primary musical venture. With alternating male and female vocals, as well as prominently-employed synthesizers, the Lost Sounds were a departure from the guitar-driven garage rock of the Reatards. Despite Lindsey’s enthusiasm for the band, the Lost Sounds bitterly broke up in 2005.

Lindsey was a prolific songwriter, often acting as a member and contributing compositions to two or more bands concurrently. One of Lindsey’s first side projects was the Bad Times, a one-off band which included Eric Friedl and King Louie Bankston. The band recorded an album’s worth of material after only one practice session in 1998, releasing a self-titled LP in 2001. After one live performance the band disbanded, the members returning to their respective solo commitments.

In 2004, Lindsey, together with his ex-girlfriend, Alix Brown of Atlanta rock band the Lids, formed Shattered Records, an independent record label that released mainly limited edition vinyl. Shattered Records released records for a number of lo-fi punk and rock bands.

In 2007 Lindsey put Shattered Records on hold while he promoted his solo records. Then in 2009 Lindsey revived the label with the Shattered Record Club and the announcement of his final solo album, “Watch Me Fall.”

Out of this partnership came another musical endeavor for Lindsey, the Angry Angles. Together with Brown, and alternating between drummers Paul Artigues from Die Rotzz and Ryan Rousseau from Tokyo Electron, the band began touring the U.S. in the Fall of 2006. Before the band had even released its second single, Lindsey and Brown began a short European tour. The Angry Angles disbanded after releasing a number of vinyl singles.

By 2005 both the Reatards and the Lost Sounds had broken up, and Lindsey focused his attention on a handful of side projects, working with and releasing material as Terror Visions and Destruction Unit.

2006 saw the release of “Blood Visions,” Lindsey's first solo album under the moniker Jay Reatard. After a lengthy tour supporting his solo album, in 2008 he signed a multi-album, exclusive deal with the New York-based indie label Matador Records. He released six limited, 7" singles throughout 2008 via Matador.

In October 2008 Reatard's “Matador Singles '08” LP compiled all six of the 2008 singles on one LP. Lindsey again hit the road to support the album with a second, extensive 2008 tour. Lindsey's later records sound drastically different from his early punk records. Lindsey's final album, “Watch Me Fall,” his first proper studio album with Matador, was released in August 2009. He described this collection of songs as more melodic and twee-inspired.

After the release of “Watch Me Fall,” Lindsey contributed to a tribute album for New Zealand rock and roll musician Chris Knox, with whom he was to collaborate until Knox suffered a stroke in June 2009. All proceeds from the album go towards Knox's recovery.

Lindsey was found dead in his home in the Cooper-Young neighborhood of Midtown, Memphis, around on Wednesday, January 13, 2010. He was 29 years old.