Jay Reatard

Hyperactive Blues Rawk Renegade

Following Presley, Cash and King, the respective kings of rock ‘n’ roll, county and the blues, is this disinherit, bastard child of garage punk Tennessee’s new heir apparent?

Born and raised on the streets of Memphis, Tennessee, the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll, Jay Reatard, real name Lindsey, was a school dropout at fifteen. Given the choice between gym class in tube socks or following in the traditions of this proud state, Jay chose the latter and took to the road with his trademark flying V and never looked back. “If you are going to do something then you are going to do it,” says Jay, in a way that only someone who grew up on the same streets as Johnny Cash ever could. “I decided that I had had enough of school so I unpacked my schoolbooks from my satchel and picked up my guitar. It all kinda worked out.”

I unpacked my schoolbooks from my satchel and picked up my guitar

Nine-hundred songs and nineteen albums later and besides proving himself to be one of punk’s most prolific songwriters Jay,twenty-eight, is still delivering a ravenous, snarling mix of chest beating, angst-riddled pop. His live shows remain just as dangerous as ever, if his entry on youTube is anything to go by, where you can check him out launching flying kicks and swinging knockdown and ‘stay down if you know what’s good for ya!’ style punches at stage climbing fans. naturally Jay has his own side of the story. “It’s edited, bias bullshit! you could make anything look bad with editing. I could follow my grandma around with a camera and make it look

rock ‘n’ roll.”

In a career littered with copious dIy releases in the US, Jay followed the altogether more professional sounding Blood Visions by signing to the transat-lantic indie label Matador in 2008, and proceeded to busy himself in-between an incessant tour schedule with the release of six limited edition 7” singles. Spread across six months and released on a progressively limited run, starting with 3,500 for ‘See Saw’ released in April, and ending on September 9th with just four-hundred copies of ‘no Time’, Jay explains his thinking behind the releases. “I like to keep things special and my stuff rare. I like recording things and putting them out there on a limit run and seeing where it ends up. If I have learnt anything its that if you do something too much you spoil it.”

Following each release Jay has seen his fans scrabbling over every last, precious copy; watching them appear on eBay for hundreds of dollars at a time. But now, for those who weren’t able to afford a copy, or just too damn lazy to chase them down, Matador intends to release the singles on one, all encompassing long player. Planned as Jay’s debut with the label, the twentieth of his career, the‘Matador Singles ’08’ are released this month.

Nine-hundred songs and nineteen albums later..

Already working on album number twenty-one, Jay will be back in the UK and touring throughout november, following mixed reactions from stunned, often horrified audiences in May. Clash has just one word of warning: whatever you do, don’t go planning any stage invasions.


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