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If you ever wanted to know more about Joe’s favorite musician, Alex Hammond and Ian Markiewicz’s 20-minute Waiting For Something is a good place to start. Reatard offers thoughts on vinyl and his “weird” food cravings. Various Memphis locals give anecdotes about his early days. You also get a slew of live footage. One thing: It’s kinda odd that folks go out of their way to evoke Reatard and Elvis in the same breath on multiple occasions. One other thing: To these eyes/ears, Jay often awkwardly tries too hard to sound like an outsider or a martyr. (But hey, look closely and you’ll spot a great Strapping Fieldhands t-shirt.)

Watch Me Fall is out 8/18 via Matador. This song’s on it:

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Comments (34)
  1. Snow White  |   Posted on Aug 7th, 2009 0

    men who look like old lesbians.

  2. sufdub  |   Posted on Aug 7th, 2009 0

    “One other thing: To these eyes/ears, Jay often awkwardly tries too hard to sound like an outsider or a martyr”

    wtf is your problem, man? he grew up in a ghetto area and talked about it. lots of middle ground musicians have trouble paying bills and they dont have to provide for their parents and siblings still. his life is middle-class hard

    • asif  |   Posted on Aug 7th, 2009 0

      WTF is YOUR problem, man? Jay always pulls this stuff in interviews, and brando was right to point it out. It doesn’t seem like many people have a problem with Jay, but he often goes around always talking negatively about the bands that are in the same scene as him or calling them out for embracing their success more than he has. All that he really does is make himself look like a musical sociopath when he starts running his mouth in that regard.

  3. Jay – you charm the pants off me!
    your #1 fan!

  4. I am an admitted Jay Reatard apologist; a lot of the comments I’ve posted here are about him. It’s not because I’m obsessive or anything, but because Jay is pretty much the only musician that Stereogum follows about whom I have some sort of personal perspective. I grew up in the south and currently live in Memphis. I’ve interviewed Jay for my college radio station. I was standing next to the camera guy at the Record Store Day show at Goner. So there’re my credentials, I guess.

    I don’t think either of you are wrong. Jay does tend to come of as antagonistic toward contemporary bands and even here paints a portrait of himself as an outsider (I don’t know about martyr). However, it’s my opinion that he does this because he IS an outsider, and reacts badly to being shoehorned in with a scene to which he has no real physical or emotional connection. Memphis is not Brooklyn or Portland or LA; it’s a musical town by nature but there is no real indie scene here outside of a couple of good bars. Moreover?and I could be talking out of my ass here?the “scene” (and indie rock in general, at least since the early 90s) has been steered predominately by upper-middle-class, suburban white kids with easy access to a nurturing scene. I don’t mean to denigrate that method; most of my favorite bands come from that background. Southern musicians, though, are almost by nature outsiders; I think that they tend to develop as artists in reaction to or dialogue with the region and all the tension that comes with it. This doc did a really good job of capturing that, I think.

    • And that was supposed to be in response to sufdub and asif. Be nice, you two.

    • Memphian  |   Posted on Aug 10th, 2009 0

      You don’t think he fits in with the Shangri-La, Goner, or Makeshift scenes? He isn’t a contemporary of Reigning Sound, the Oblivians, Harlan T Bobo, River City Tanlines, Amy Lavere, Mouserocket, the Warble, Pezz, etc? He lives in Midtown with almost all other Memphis indie musicians, and most of them make very modest livings. He may be an outsider from kids forming bands in Germantown, but he fits in easily with the musicians living near him, stylistically and socially.

  5. sufdub  |   Posted on Aug 7th, 2009 0

    well said. not a great documentary but it did give an interesting window into him in his environment

  6. asif  |   Posted on Aug 7th, 2009 0

    I too can’t stand the upper-middle class kids taking advantage of a style or scene to further themselves, so I like exst’s response. For example and not really complaining, but in recent years it seems girls in indie bands have gotten way more attractive (Ra Ra Riot, Dirty Projectors for example), guys have gotten more preppier and already wealthy and you wonder why that is. I’d hate to open a can of worms and say attractive girls and wealthy people = too ignorant to be a part of good music, but would these type of people even want to be if it weren’t for it being such an easy mark for them to break into considering how easy it is? I might be talking out of my ass now. Back to sufdub, how about we shake hands on this one and make peace?

  7. sufdub  |   Posted on Aug 7th, 2009 0

    *shake*
    both of you make honest points. lately i’ve been really disenchanted with the ever-exanding indie umbrella. i’ve been listening to my old nirvana lps and sleeping to john coltrane

  8. Shawn Bradley  |   Posted on Aug 8th, 2009 0

    lol p00r pepl

  9. Rob S.  |   Posted on Aug 8th, 2009 0

    Underground/indie/whatever music has always been well-off white kids slumming it. Mod culture, the hippie bullshit, punk, and new wave were all started by mostly white, college-educated twenty-somethings. Even on the English side, guys like Joe Strummer came from decent to good backgrounds. They were just rejecting the means they came from by wearing ratty clothes and playing music their parents deemed obnoxious, or they eventually got consumed by drug use and turned into what they were originally roleplaying. Yeah, stuff like hardcore would attract a sizeable amount of working class kids, but just as many would buy the shitkicker boots and play working class oi! boy on weekends. I’d be curious to wonder if it might be because they wanted to feel like an outsider in a culture where they looked and dressed just like everybody else.

    Either way, it became worse in the ’80s when it literally turned into “college rock” and suddenly it became almost entirely white kids with money. At least the other scenes before were somewhat inclusive with stuff like the mods and punks developing a rude boy sub-culture. College rock, and now indie, was/is almost completely insulated from any type of diversity, with the irony being that many of those/these bands actively seek out/pillage ethnically diverse musical influences ranging from hip-hop to Afro-pop to various Middle Eastern styles and get praise for it while many musicians in those actual forms get completely ignored.

    Really, if anything, the preppie white guys and attractive ingenues are just a more honest depiction of what indie’s real audience is and has always been. They’re also a lot easier for labels, indie or otherwise, to market as opposed to a J. Mascis or Annie DiFranco.

  10. John Thomas  |   Posted on Aug 8th, 2009 0

    Comparing this ugly, mildly-talented cool guy to Elvis is a bit ridiculous. Jay Reatard is an angry asshole. Why on earth is someone wasting their time to make a documentary on someone who is a self-centered, unimportant ego maniac?

  11. Rob S.  |   Posted on Aug 8th, 2009 0

    “Comparing this ugly, mildly-talented cool guy to Elvis is a bit ridiculous. Jay Reatard is an angry asshole. Why on earth is someone wasting their time to make a documentary on someone who is a self-centered, unimportant ego maniac?”

    Aren’t all musicians and artists really just self-centered, unimportant egomaniacs when you get right down to it? You have to be pretty self-centered to believe people would pay you for something intangible like music.

  12. LP  |   Posted on Aug 8th, 2009 0

    Maybe Jay DID have to work harder than a lot of middle-class college educated indie kids. However, the assumption that all college kids are bourgeois intelligentsia from an upper-middle class background is essentialist garbage –there are things called scholarships, thanks–and his pity-me posturing doesn’t sit well with me. Jay Reatard may have faced substantial hardships in his youth, but even now that he is now thoroughly “inside” the system he still thinks conspiratorially, views himself as an outsider, and launches bitter attacks against indie bands like the educated Pains of Being Pure at Heart.

    Want to understand Jay Reatard? He’s a lot like Richard Nixon: Reatard views bands like the Pains of Being Pure at Heart in the same mode that Richard Nixon viewed the Kennedy family.
    Reatard’s alienation, like Nixon’s, had authentic roots but at this point it is artificial and enforced by his own grandstanding (as was Nixon’s) and he sustains this contradictory position by negative attacks on Enemies. In short, he?s cast himself as the protagonist in a clich├ęd man-against-society drama, and he?s desperate for purely selfish reasons to draw attention to himself.

    Don’t agree? Fine, but the title of his latest hit, ?It Ain?t Gonna Save Me??a song that I actually liked for awhile?suggests that I?m not totally far off base.

    Jay Reatard’s humble beginnings ain?t gonna save him from my wholehearted contempt for his recent behavior either.

  13. steve  |   Posted on Aug 9th, 2009 0

    Most people who criticize Jay Reatard in recent years have NO fucking clue who he is. Just for the record, he’s been a legend of the national garage punk scene since his days with the Reatards, and his previous band Lost Sounds was one of the most original and beloved underground garage bands of all time.. Most of you should probably stick with those Black Lips records that Pitchfork and Spin told you it’s ok to like.

  14. steve  |   Posted on Aug 9th, 2009 0

    I’m not trying to come off as overly antagonistic here; I’m just a huge fan of Jay’s work, and I’ve been getting progressively more irritated with the coverage he’s received recently. It’s not that I have a problem with “sharing” my favorite music, but it just irritates me that Jay could have been EASILY discovered five years ago by anyone who cared enough about music to spend more than five minutes researching music online. I still can’t believe that people who have access to all the knowledge in the world via the internet would need mainstream music magazines to guide their taste still. I guess cattle are cattle, no matter what the decade.

    • steve  |   Posted on Aug 9th, 2009 0

      I thought I should add that music elitism is bullshit, and should be done away with. Obviously I was being an asshole by giving people shit for not liking Jay Reatard back when he was at his peak. Jay Reatard’s trajectory reminds me of how Iggy Pop went solo a several years after the Stooges disbanded and then was suddenly treated by the media as a new edgy sensation after being ignored for years, even though his new shit wasn’t nearly as insane as the stuff he made while being ignored.. This phenomenon is annoying, but not worth being a dick about.

      • Jack  |   Posted on Aug 9th, 2009 0

        I honest to goodness believe that if we were living in a different decade where major labels weren’t dead fish in water and it wasn’t so difficult for smaller bands to get “huge”, Jay Reatard would be our generation’s Nirvana. He is in a sense by craft, but he’s just not getting all the publicity and sales that he would if he was making music like this in the 90s.

        • Barabas  |   Posted on Aug 9th, 2009 0

          I honest to goodness believe that if we were living in a different century where Christians weren’t dead fish in water and it wasn’t so difficult for smaller prophets to get “huge”, Jay Reatard would be our generation’s Jesus. He is in a sense by craft, but he’s just not getting all the worshiping and praise that he would if was spouting nonsense like this in 30 AD.

          • Rob S.  |   Posted on Aug 9th, 2009 0

            Jay Reatard would have never been on the level of a Nirvana, even in the early ’90s. He writes catchy yet abrasive garage rock. He’s our generation’s Mudhoney — a great artist on the periphery of mainstream “underground” artists. He’s not conventionally attractive so you can’t market his looks. His songs are still too rough to be played on anything but college radio stations. He’s not part of a larger scene like the Brooklyn or L.A. so you can’t lump him in geographically. And his music owes more to ’80s garage revivalists like the Verlaines and the Tall Dwarfs than it does anything that’s happening now. So there’s no real way for a label to market the guy. There’s no real hype that blogs can whip up for him. He’s just one of those great musicians that will get ignored except by a handful of enthusiasts. If he’s lucky, he’ll end up getting recognition 10 or 20 years from now when a bunch of kids rediscover his music like they did with bands like Orange Juice this decade.

          • Whiney responder  |   Posted on Aug 9th, 2009 0

            Yes he would, and I don’t care what you say. For all we know, he is Kurt Cobain’s reincarnate. That’s my reply, noreplyback!

          • Rob S.  |   Posted on Aug 10th, 2009 0

            I <3 u.

  15. Sway  |   Posted on Aug 9th, 2009 0

    Memphis,TN…

  16. steve  |   Posted on Aug 9th, 2009 0

    I’m not as into Jay Reatard’s solo stuff as I am his work with his older bands. This is definitely a different sort of sound compared to what longtime fans might have expected, though it’s still cool.. It’s weird for me to think that most of his fans have never even heard his harsh scream. He used to sound demon-possessed at times.

  17. travis  |   Posted on Aug 9th, 2009 0

    What a douche.

  18. ken  |   Posted on Aug 10th, 2009 -1

    His last name isn’t really Reatard is it? Because if not, than he really just is an asshole. It’s probably clear that I don’t know anything about him at this point. I don’t like his music and his name is really frustrating to me. Because I have a feeling it isn’t his real name, and that maybe he’s trying to be funny or ironic. And it’s not really either. It’s just stupid but not in any redeeming way. Like when people make fun of racists by pretending to be racist.

  19. Memphian  |   Posted on Aug 10th, 2009 0

    His real name is Jay Lindsey.

    I live in Memphis, and many here have mixed feelings about him. He burned alot of bridges in his early years among local bands, club owners, and fans in Midtown. He had a violent temper and would go out of his way to do outrageous, violent things just to help create his “Jay Reatard” persona. It’s one thing to hit a fan that gets on stage at a show, it’s another to go around your howntown scene that has supported you and try to get attention by picking fights and thrashing apartments. He frequently disrupted other peoples shows, and he was emotionally and physically abusive to his ex-girlfriend and fellow musician Alicia Trout. I thinks he is a very talented songwriter, but he’s not a good person or a martyr for anything.

    • Vag  |   Posted on Jan 14th, 2010 0

      Well said. I witnessed the break up of the Lost Sounds at their show at the Union in Athens, Ohio. Jay verbally abused the shit out of Alicia onstage when she lost her voice and wanted to end the show a little sooner than planned.

      The band I’m in has played with Jay Reatard, and also the Angry Angles. He was a great musician- that’s for damn sure- but Jay was an asshole. I know and like a lot of assholes, so my disdain for his attitude does not come easily.

      It’s a loss for music, but not necessarily humanity.

  20. Brian  |   Posted on Aug 10th, 2009 0

    Does he punch or kick anybody in this video? Anybody want to justify that in some way? Demonize it?

    I like his music but it ends there for me–at this point I would probably like it better if I knew nothing about him. Also, who gives a shit what a band looks like?

  21. empson  |   Posted on Feb 1st, 2010 0

    Where’s the rest?!?!

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