Jay Reatard was not a compassionate musician. He acted snotty, looked pouty in photos and was notorious for his occasional violence against fans. But, sporting some of the finest curls, licks and, at least in Las Vegas, kicks, Reatard (born Jimmy Lee Lindsey Jr.) carved out a rightful spot as a modern garage-rock darling. His untimely death January 13 at his home in Memphis has sent shock waves through the underground music world. He was 29.
Reatard visited Vegas in December 2007 and left only after generating a full-blown, YouTube-captured stage fiasco. Headlining a quasi-private gig for Sailor Jerry at the Double Down, Reatard kicked a concert-goer in the face after the man was shoved into Reatard's amp. The fan recovered on the spot, but a day later, video of the incident went viral.
Reatard’s 2006 album, Blood Visions, earned widespread critical praise, recently scoring a spot in Pitchfork’s decade-ending top 200 rankings. Though his attitude might have been bad, Reatard's chaotic, enthralling aggression will be sorely missed by fans of loud music everywhere.