While we would never encourage violence, we wholeheartedly support simulated…
- Posted on Jan 13th 2011 9:45AM by Joe Tacopino
Freddy Perojo, AOL
"It was really 'Blood Visions' that made me aware of him," Lombardi tells Spinner about Reatard's 2006 album. "I remember listening to it a lot and thinking, 'Wow, this is a great record.' But then I saw Jay play. It was the most insane thing I'd seen in a while."
The Matador owner remembers a blistering 18-minute set that included flying beer cans, hyper-drive versions of the band's songs and undersized dolphin shorts worn by the bass player.
"Jay and Stephen [Pope, bassist], just the two of them charging through these punk songs with Billy [Hayes] behind them," Lombardi remembers. "Steven singing along with no mic, at the top of his lungs. I was dumbstruck by what I saw, while beers were being chucked over my shoulder."
Jay Reatard, whose given name was Jay Lindsey, arrived at Matador from the underground garage-rock scene, where he was recording and performing since his teens. The move to a larger stage had a great impact on the music and the artist himself.
"He was going through a transformation," Lombardi says. "I think he would have made an even poppier album. He wanted to make a record that can get played on the f---ing radio. As self-defeating as he was sometimes, as angry as he was, he wanted to f---ing win."
Winning for Reatard might have been ingrained in his DNA and work ethic. The artist once said he wrote a song every day. He released countless records under a number of different bands and monikers.
"He couldn't stop writing songs," Lombardi says. "He couldn't stop making music."
While writing and recording in the wee hours of the morning at his Memphis home studio, some of Reatard's final material may have been lost in an unfortunate computer glitch.
"He was just recording s--- constantly at his home studio," Lombardi said. "One time he called me and was like, 'Dude, my hard drive crashed. I lost a whole album.' It isn't until now that I recognize the severity of it."
Eventually, the demands of recording contracts, touring, and making music caught up with Reatard's volatile mix of partying and performing. In his final days his closest friends remember an artist spinning out of control.
"He was going through a lot of turmoil right around the release of 'Watch Me Fall.' He felt a lot of pressure," Lombardi says about his last album and promo tour. "He melted down a bit on that tour. There was some f---ed up shit that happened and he really couldn't handle it. He was self-destructing a little bit."