Already more than a dozen albums and slightly fewer years into his insanely prolific career in the Memphis scene, the major labels came calling for Jay Reatard. They told him they'd make him the next Kurt Cobain and that he was going to kill emo. Neither seemed out of his grasp.
Yet he was nonplussed. World domination was never on the agenda. Instead, he continued doing what he had always done, even after he finally did sign with Matador Records in 2006. Cranking out songs of furious energy and blinding brevity, confounding expectations at every opportunity and generally kicking the shit out of everything around him, Jay Reatard was one of the most promising rockers, not just in punk, but in all of music.
Yesterday, at the age of 29, Jay died, apparently in his sleep. As far as we know, he did not overdose and there does not seem to be violence involved. This is obviously a great loss for a number of reasons, but it makes a sort of cosmic sense: If life is a candle we all burn, Jay doused his in gasoline and has been setting a blowtorch to the thing since puberty.
His music is incredibly fatalistic and lives on with eerie conviction.
In tribute to the sort of musical career we could have used a whole lot more of, we present Jay Reatard punching, ripping, pissing and generally shit-kicking his way through some of the best punk rock on the planet.
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