Posted: Jan 21, 2010 11:34 am
So, I realized the other day that I've been on this board for about five years, subsequently, that's about the same amount of time I've really known Jay. Both things are relatively short comapred to a lot of other people on here.
There's been ups and downs each year like everyone else, but I have to tell you how fortunate I feel for having been a part of this and having known Jay. Saturday night was an absolute catharsis for me. And Louie's impromptu speech said everything I've ever wanted to say.
I remember a while back I was talking to Jack O about the Oblivians and admitting that if I ever saw them in the 90's, it was by complete accident because I was either at a show to see someone else or hanging around a bar trying to get gigs for my hippy-dippy jam band at the time. This was the case with the Reatards as well; in fact, I got a call from a former band mate Friday asking about Jay. He said, "man, didn't we see that guy at the Map Room or that loft place downtown, or something?" I told him I had no idea, as I just don't remember or we flat-out just weren't there and he was thinking of someone else. So, if I ever saw the Reatards or Oblivians during their prime, it was by accident and I have no memory of it.
But during their "prime" isn't really true (for me), either. I have no idea if it had been discussed between them earlier, but the impromptu Oblivians set Saturday was one of the most emotional music events I have ever witnessed. It seemed as if they played because there was no other choice. And then, there is tons of Jay's live stuff I've been listening to over the years. Angry Angles, Reatards, Final Solutions, sitting in on some configuration of the Barbaras, a couple of Sector Zero shows. I even remember that brief period he was playing with Evil Army, because the Staags were practicing at the Armory, and they would be getting started just as we were leaving. I can't really count how many times I've seen and listened back to Jay performing live, and that's actually how I came to know his music so well. It's funny because by the time Blood Visions and his later records came out, when I heard them I thought "Well, that's a neat take on that one".
No, in this period where he was going in whatever direction musically that he felt like (for me, anyway) has been his prime. Absolutely free to do whatever he wanted, however he wanted and with his own sense of humor. And that's part of the reason this is so sad. I remember there was a controversy during the Matador singles thing. Not only the ever-more-limited availability of the progressing releases, but specifically the third release. The spindle hole was slightly too large, and you had to stand directly over the turn-table to get it to play correctly. There were actually rumors flying around the internet that Jay did it on purpose. And maybe he did or didn't. But it sounds like something Jay would do for a few laughs at record fetishists expense.
And those records. I've seen several mentions about his output, but think of all the bands that he helped, promoted, recorded, released whatever. That Oblivians Barristers show would not have come out last year if it had not been for Jay; he was the only one we knew that had a working half-inch machine. We were going to rent it from him, but he just let us borrow it for as long as we needed. Another thng about records, Jay has made more than a few other people more than dollar bills on e-bay selling records even he didn't have copies of.
And there's hanging out with him at shows or seeing him around town, bullshitting about bands and recording gear and techniques. E-mails and phone calls and jokes. There's so much more I want to say about him, but I'll keep that for myself and talk about that when we're all together in person as we remember him in the years to come, I guess.
I didn't know him as long or as well as some folks on this board, man, am I glad for the time that I had with him in my life.
Still proud of you, man.