We saw rumors floating around earlier, but wanted to hold off until we had a reliable source: Both Matador and Goner Records have confirmed that Jimmy Lee Lindsey Jr., aka Jay Reatard, has died. Goner writes:

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.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal reports:

Memphis police have opened a death investigation, spokesman Jennifer Robinson said. Lindsey was found around 3:30 a.m. in his bed, Robinson said.

He was 29. Our condolences to his family and friends.


Jeremy Lee Lindsey Jr. (May 1, 1980 – January 13, 2010
Jay was what few people have the capacity to be. He created an undeniably classic album that contained so much pain transfered to tape in such an explosive way that it made you feel different after hearing it. He was transgressive and honest. His flaws were something he focused on and overdubbed and distorted until they made you forget who he really was – a person with feelings and a good heart. He loved music and worked hard from a young age to pursue it. He was a self-made and unmade man. I am truly sickened to see him go.
- Bradford Cox, 1/13/09

Here’s one of Jay’s final recordings, a psyched-out take on Nirvana’s “Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle.”

[Photo by Ion Sokhos]

Comments (135)
  1. RIP – an awesome talent and incredible songwriter gone with so much left to give. I, for one, will miss him terribly. Kudos to you, Jay.

  2. benwayshouse  |   Posted on Jan 13th, 2010 0

    i’ll miss him. he wrote some great songs.

  3. absolutely gutted about this.

  4. Crud  |   Posted on Jan 13th, 2010 0

    This doesn’t surprise me. If you live recklessly, you’ll die early.

    • Rob S.  |   Posted on Jan 13th, 2010 0

      Fuck off, troll.

      • Crud  |   Posted on Jan 13th, 2010 0

        Why, because it’s the truth and you’re afraid to admit that? The guy was obviously mentally unstable as evidenced by his pissing on fans and band mates, violent behavior towards people, supposedly beat his girlfriend, was wrecked on drugs, hated everyone and every other musician in the world and I could go on. He was no role model for how one should take care of themselves or treat others.

      • Crud  |   Posted on Jan 13th, 2010 0

        You’re missing the point altogether, and yeah it’s sad that he passed away but it just should serve as a stark reminder that you gotta take care of your body if you want to stick around this place.

        • Rob S.  |   Posted on Jan 13th, 2010 0

          Do you know his exact cause of death yet? No. Let people grieve until a toxicology confirms your accusation.

          • nathan  |   Posted on Jan 13th, 2010 0

            I read Crud’s comments a few times and I don’t think he ever says drugs were the cause of death. Crud’s right about taking care of yourself. But that isn’t to say that he won’t be missed. As someone who thinks Reatard was total douche, I will still miss him. Rock and Punk has lost all it’s anger and dysfunctional lashing out. While his antics might not have been pretty, his attitude helped keep people honest. Sometimes you need someone throwing stones in glass houses. It keeps the rest of us alert.

          • I don’t understand why just because someone passes away means that it’s impossible to consider them in a negative light. He had a valid point- Reatard lived hard and dangerously, and unfortunately paid the price. I saw him live less than 2 months ago, and while I didn’t personally like the set, I could see his talent and energy. RIP.

          • drewberto  |   Posted on Jan 14th, 2010 0

            you were his best friend? if not fuck off and let people speak.

          • Rob S.  |   Posted on Jan 14th, 2010 0

            I don’t have a point. I don’t have a moral. I just think you need to give someone a few fucking days of peace before you start in on calling them a druggy asshole. I hated Michael Jackson. I thought he was a terrible role model. But I acknowledged that others valued what he did, and maybe even him as a person. So I gave them time to grieve instead of instantly jumping in and attacking.

            It was common knowledge Jay was an outstanding douche. It was also common knowledge he was into drugs. That doesn’t mean that, that has to be the first words spoken about him. It just makes someone look like a cynical, jaded asshole to mock his death because “it was a typical rock star death.”

    • smoke up johnny  |   Posted on Jan 14th, 2010 0

      keith richards, iggy pop, and every other performer whose ever done a ton of drugs begs to differ

      • Alex  |   Posted on Jan 14th, 2010 0

        this is a completely stupid and ignorant comment.

        • i disagree  |   Posted on Jan 14th, 2010 0

          no, it’s not. obviously not everyone should live like that, but plenty of people have lived hard lives and lived long past 29. it isn’t something that should be celebrated but it’s not ignorant to say that is a reality.

          • Ignorance is Bliss  |   Posted on Jan 14th, 2010 0

            To the people above who continue trying to defend Jay on the drug abuse and rock ‘n roll factor, we get it: It shouldn’t surprise anyone. I think the comments above focus more on how a combo of drugs PLUS self-destructive behavior can have severe, sad consequences and this is one of those occasions. Some musicians somehow escape death, even multiple times, but the fact is Jay didn’t and he was pretty messed up with where he was in life. If you want to take that risk with your life, go ahead, but to some of us here, it’s hard to have sympathy for someone who clearly showed no regard for life in the first place. Here’s news as recent as just TWO days ago about Jay’s run-in with a band called Liquor Store:

            “He tried to attack us with a chainsaw after throwin around wads of money and burnin 20s and askin us if we thought he was a sellout but he was so fd on coke he couldnt even turn it on then he hit me in the face with a disco ball full of sand and cracked my nose open and kicked us out of his house after he invited us there to stay there and i was all bloody and my friends slashed his tires it sucked He was smokin coke out of a skull bong and freebasin and had 50 grand in his closet”

            Jay’s Facebook was then updated to say: ?Little bitches in Liquor Store just stab [sic] my tires! I will kill you.?

            He then Tweeted on January 11th: “I will give anyone a hundred bucks per tire that they pop on the band liquor stores van ! Yes I’m serious”

            Now Jay is dead, with his last moments on Earth going down as a story where he evidentally went psychotic on some small punk band. Death is always sad, and perhaps in this case it’s mostly sad for fans of Jay’s music and those, if any, who could consider him a friend and family member. What is not wrong, though, are the people who are so caught up in the “show respect for the dead” charade that they’re afraid to admit how unbelievably fucked up Jay was in his life outside of music.

            Nobody should be afraid to be able to state their opinion on that, and I wish more people could, because many people evidentally think being a rock star means you need to pull the pathetic druggy self-destruction image to maintain rock ‘n roll credibility. Guess what? You don’t, and Jay died as a poor example for anyone, musician or not, to follow. Had he died under any other better circumstances, I’d be sitting here writing about a guy who was taken away way too soon, but instead I’m sitting here writing about a guy who was to oblivious to know that his time was up.

          • ok fine, you certainly have a point. but all of that and then a shit load more that isn’t there doesn’t justify someone being dead at 29.

          • bebacker  |   Posted on Jan 14th, 2010 0

            ok you fucking prick, what does that have to do with a dead man? So, he did drugs and was not able to function on them. And? Most of you little twits can’t. Also, now the cops are looking for the person who murdered him. I guess your comment is now just another fucking self-righteous rant against people who can’t handle the drug they choose to do.

            I am 100% sure that if you and I drank together, your night would be much worse than his with that bad punk band. I have seen many assholes who like to talk about other people who did something they could not handle not be able to handle their shit. So you are a prick who likes to comment on others who took too much. Fuck you

          • Ignorance is Bliss  |   Posted on Jan 14th, 2010 0

            I’m pretty sure if you and I drank together, I’d know when top stop and I’d easily be able to avoid this made up scenario of yours without making myself look like a fool altogether. It’s unfortunate to see you’ve never been exposed to people who have complete control over their lives. Some of us know when we’ve had enough to drink. Some of us know that drugs are re(a)tarded and totally out of the question. Some of us know how to avoid the wrong type of people, influences and bad situations. Maybe I’ve just been fortunate enough to have been raised with self-discipline and how to make constructive decisions. That’s where it’s sad for someone like Jay. Life didn’t really give him the best chance to succeed at living, and today I’m a little bit more thankful to be alive and well, even if it means I’ll never put out an album Pitchfork dubs Best New Music and gains me international fame.

          • PilgrimPilgrim  |   Posted on Jan 15th, 2010 0

            This is the worst page I have ever read on Stereogum.

          • Chica  |   Posted on Jan 15th, 2010 0

            To be fair, they label a death like this as a homicide as a formality since the timing of discovery and the phone call. Early reports thus far have suggested he died in his sleep and was discovered dead by a roommate. While this doesn’t leave out the possibility someone did something to Jay such as giving him bad drugs, I won’t be surprised if it’s just that and not something more horrific. I’m hoping it’s not as it would make this story 100 times more sadder.

      • Heino  |   Posted on Jan 19th, 2010 0

        Shane MacGoawn. Let’s not forget Shane.

  5. William Helgeson  |   Posted on Jan 13th, 2010 0

    Why are all the musicians named Jimmy dying?! OBAAAMAAAAAAAAA!!!!

  6. Awful, I don’t even think he reached his full potential, dude was a firecracker, but that’s what made him so fun. Sh!tty damn news. :-(

  7. King louie  |   Posted on Jan 13th, 2010 0


  8. When I first read this I thought n\he might be 27. but then I was disappointed. Sad news

  9. This sucks, man. Sucks a lot.

    You wrote some killer tunes, Jay. Peace.

  10. Looking at his Twitter looks like he was sick the past couple days?


  11. too soon but...  |   Posted on Jan 13th, 2010 0

    real reason stereogum held off publishing this? they were fighting on whether to go with “Retardead” as the headline.

  12. Top 40 Fan  |   Posted on Jan 13th, 2010 0

    Who is Jay Reatard?

  13. RIP Jay Reatard. I never listened much to your stuff, but I realized that you had many fans who adored you. My condolences to your friends and family.

  14. It Ain’t Gonna Save Me

  15. ry  |   Posted on Jan 13th, 2010 0

    Horrible horrible news. Blood visions was amazing, all the singles, the latest album. You will be missed.

  16. thank you Jay.

  17. Top 40 Fan  |   Posted on Jan 13th, 2010 0

    Who is Jay Reatard?

  18. TomTheNinja  |   Posted on Jan 13th, 2010 0

    wow. this is shocking! to be honest, if their was going to be someone who would die way to early jay reatard would be a prime candidate. still, though…..very sad news. my thoughts are with his family.

  19. Rest in peace, I just got into his music this past year, I’m sad there wont be any more of it.

  20. R.I.P Man.. will be having a drink in your memory

    No one talented should die so young, thoughts going out to friends and family.

    • you again  |   Posted on Jan 14th, 2010 0

      man o man you are a douche…whenever I see your comments they make me want to shit all over your keyboard…but you would probably like that…eat it all up and such.

  21. Sandro  |   Posted on Jan 13th, 2010 0

    Righty, talentless people should die young.

    • dude, who the hell says shit like that, get a life and have some fucking respect.

      • Umm, he was possibly referring to your statement “No one talented should die so young” which more or less implies that it’s fine to die young if you don’t have any acclaimed talent. Comical that you took it as his calling Reatard talentless though.

    • nice dude. didn’t take long for this thread to turn tasteless.

  22. “Alone in a room
    Needless I sit
    I close my eyes
    and try to forget
    Death is calling
    Get in line” – ‘Death is Forming’ by Jay Reatard on Blood Visions

  23. Can’t say this saddens me cause this guy was a douche in real life. But my respect for the dead has me at a cross roads…so I’ll keep my mouth shut.

    • Justin TImberwolf  |   Posted on Jan 14th, 2010 0

      This qualifies as keeping your mouth shut, you asshole? Just because you’re on the internet it doesn’t mean that you should act like a jerk with horrible manners. Your mother should be ashamed of you right now.

    • Geoff  |   Posted on Jan 14th, 2010 0

      I am new to stereogum, and it’s been a hell of a long time since i’ve been on an online message board of any kind, and now i remember why…picture yourself in any real-life social situation where someone had just died: would you really speak like such an asshole? You’re trying to have it both ways, calling a dead guy names and then pretending you’re taking the high road and “keeping your mouth shut”.

      If even a small percentage of people could control themselves and actually keep their mouths shut online, we’d be a much more productive species.

  24. Jason  |   Posted on Jan 13th, 2010 0

    If he had flu-like symptoms i wonder if he died of either swine flu or MRSA. i got MRSA real bad nearly 3 years ago and it nearly killed me.

  25. robbbie dee  |   Posted on Jan 13th, 2010 0

    whoa. my roommate used to book the lost sounds when they were in austin back in the day. he used to crash on my floor and various concert posters are all over my house. shit is kind of eerie. i can’t say this is too unexpected but damn. Rest In Peace.

  26. Terrible. He’ll be missed.

  27. ForAllItsWorth  |   Posted on Jan 13th, 2010 0

    Pretty Soon A White Puff Cloud Will Ascend From The Pitchfork Headquarters Naming The New Messiah

  28. teatime  |   Posted on Jan 13th, 2010 0

    I’m somewhat shocked at the bad taste. Guess I shouldn’t be?

    C’mon people have some respect!

  29. Didn’t personally know the guy but my heart goes out to his friends and family. RIP Jay and thanks for rocking our faces off.

  30. Wow, sad news. I was always a bit turned off by his attitude, but 29 is far too young of an age for anybody to die, no matter how they may have (or may not have) lived their life. All the best to his friends and family.

  31. mowwwww  |   Posted on Jan 13th, 2010 0

    Did anyone really find this surprising? Frankly I don’t give a fuck.

  32. His behavior recently was off-putting for sure, but he made some pretty amazing music.

    RIP Jay.

  33. Jim McCabe  |   Posted on Jan 13th, 2010 0

    Real nice stage name. Let’s make fun of the handicapped. This guy was no doubt a real jerk. I’m glad I never chose to listen to his music.

  34. bobbysgarage  |   Posted on Jan 13th, 2010 0

    This is NO surprise people. Have you been to one of his shows? This is the Darwin theory at work. Make no mistake, he was talented…and proably outright psychotic. He’ll be missed either way.

  35. Yanno, just because a person did any sort of drugs, drank, or acted a certain way at shows doesn’t mean they deserve to die. Get a sense of fucking morality you assholes. I wasn’t a fan of the guy’s music, but it’s a shocker and very sad when a person dies young. Even if someone has mental instability they don’t deserve to die.

    • Justin Timberwolf  |   Posted on Jan 14th, 2010 0

      Very well said, Maggie. I personally would say about that not only myself but also about 90% of the guys I hung out with in my younger, wilder days (I’m 30 now) could easily have died way too young from any number of things, and maybe it wouldn’t have been the most surprising thing. Anyone who has ever lost a friend at a young age (whether it’s because of driving drunk or or murder or cancer or anything else) knows how sad this is. 29 is too young to die, no matter how self-destructively you choose to behave! I mean, what a horrible thing for this guy’s family and friends, just unimaginably horrible, and made even sadder by how staggeringly talented he was.

      The guy was an amazing musician and I felt he was still getting better every year. I love his earlier, rawer stuff, but I’m also a huge fan of the Clean and the Tall Dwarfs and was really amazed at some of the sounds Jay Reatard was getting into in the last two records he put out. The guy definitely was born to make music and he certainly put his stamp on the world and will be missed. It’s like this Haiti situation — it would be great if it weren’t happening, but it is, and it’s really a bummer.

      • Rob S.  |   Posted on Jan 14th, 2010 0

        I’ll always be in debt to Reatard because he turned me on to bands like the Verlaines and the Tall Dwars. I can’t count him as one of my favorites, although I liked his music, but he turned me on to some bands that are.

  36. The healthiest man in the world can get a strange disease and just die suddenly…have we leant NOTHING from Dr. HOUSE MD?!?

    Seriously, though I just got into Reatard last year abouts, so it sucks to hear someone with musical yalent will be making no more. R.I.P indeed. If I meet him in hell I’ll ask what he was always on about.

  37. the Ricards  |   Posted on Jan 14th, 2010 0

    jay reatard rest in peace. i love your music

  38. Brad Cox’s comment was beautiful

  39. This is the first time I’ve felt truly sad by an artist passing. He will be deeply missed. I’m still completely shocked.

  40. This has nothing to do with being healthy or not… I could die tomorrow!

  41. manoman  |   Posted on Jan 14th, 2010 0

    sucks to hear about this, he seemed to have a great future ahead of him. his track for chris knox is a real standout. and their is no denying that he was prolific = j wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote and in my humble opinion was a success.

  42. All of these comments seem to suggest that you have to be a “good person” to create art, or that putting out records and being an OK person are inextricably linked. Traditionally, only in the world of e! celebrity news and late night TMZ gossip do the personal lives of people who allegedly ‘do things’ matter. This is punk rock, motherfuckers!

  43. MF McNutt  |   Posted on Jan 14th, 2010 0

    Today the world is a little less reatarded. Wasn’t a fan, but 29 is shockingly young. RIP

  44. I have probably listened to Blood Visions more than any other album an its still in constant rotation over 3 years later. One of my first dates with my girl friend we to a Jay Reatard show. I have so many memories with his music. I am truly devasted by this. RIP

  45. I am truly sorry to see him go. He was a talented musician who had a lot of emotion in his lyrics and in his music. The rock community has lost a son.

    Now I have to change my display name…

    R.I.P brother.

  46. OldManRock  |   Posted on Jan 14th, 2010 0

    Once someone dies, you can’t say anything negative about them. That is the rule.

  47. Speculator  |   Posted on Jan 14th, 2010 0

    Sad. I’m thinking it was suicide. The guy obviously wanted to be a legend – death before 30 was his last ditch effort.

  48. Aa  |   Posted on Jan 14th, 2010 0

    A lot of these comments remind me of the movie ‘World’s Greatest Dad’. This is so shocking.. RIP Jay.

  49. Cal  |   Posted on Jan 14th, 2010 0

    I’m not suprised too see a bunch of people who probably never met him talking shit. Some guy claimed he “hated every other musician”? What? He used to have bands that played Memphis stay at his house all the time. He used to give free equipment to bands who needed it as well. Seriously don’t talk shit if you are this clueless. RIP Jay.

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