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Jay Reatard: This Weirdo Sitting in the Bushes (Part Two)

DJC: Was that a watershed moment?

JR: Who knows if he wouldn’t have written back, I’d still be in a band that was trying to sound like Rancid…Kids just don’t have punk records fall into their lap. It’s a process of discovering music through things that are more accessible. It’s a system of rivers, where it keeps getting smaller and something branches off into something else…I turned down a major label deal to be on Matador [Records]. I could be signed to Universal Records if I wanted to be.


DJC: They make Indiana Jones.

And Lil Wayne. I went to their office, and I was just walking around thinking, ‘Who is that guy?’ I know everyone in here…It was funny, it was an experience.


DJC: Where are the offices?

JR: Beverly Hills. There’s this one [street] corner where it’s Universal’s headquarters, Google’s there, Yahoo’s on the other corner. It’s kinda like the mainframe. It’s where all culture manipulation is going down.


The guy I met with was actually really nice. I’d been talking to him for about 8 months, everything was really good…He was an artist representative and just not too much in control. He pushed it [the contract] as far through the machine as he could.


It just got to the point where the contract was going to be faxed over and there was one more loophole for me to jump through to make it happen. I was like, ‘I’m absolutely not doing that.’


DJC: What was the breaking pointed?

JR: There’s a lady that’s around 60 years old that kinda runs the whole show…and she said, ‘Well, I’m not so sure about this guy. Before this kid can be signed, he has to fly up to New York….’ It was a performance, just for her…That would’ve been the first of many things I wouldn’t have wanted to do…You have to be incredibly cautious every step of the way or you might fuck up and sign something that’s going to compromise you…Usually, you just use your gut, you know? In the end…whatever you’re doing you always have to go with that.