Film and TV

Better Than Something: Jay Reatard: A Chat with Directors Alex Hammond & Ian Markiewicz

Directors Alex Hammond and Ian Markiewicz got a lot more than they bargained for when Matador Records and Jay Reatard -- the nom de punk of Memphis songwriter Jay Lindsey-- approached them about filming a short electronic press kit for his album 2009 album Watch Me Fall. Originally intended as a short, sort-of-commercial promoting the garage rocker, it became something more as Lindsey revealed more than the duo expected.

"He liked the idea of people coming from outside to document what he was doing," says Hammond. "He wanted to get to the truth. He said, 'Show people who don't like my music.' He didn't want it to be a fluff piece. I think we were both very surprised with what we got. We thought it was just going to be this little portrait."

"You don't feel compelled to go beyond a standard five-seven minute EPK," says Markiewicz. "This was something more. For whatever reason, Jay poured out so much."

Things became even more complicated when Linsdey died of complications "cocaine toxicity" in early 2010. The film morphed into an exploration of Lindsey's career, roots, and his relationships. The film screens Saturday, March 10, at FilmBar, and features live performances by The Wongs and Destruction Unit, both featuring Lindsey's friend and former bandmate Ryan "Elvis Wong" Rousseau.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.