Most of you are probably aware by now that Jay Bennett, formerly of Wilco, passed away this weekend. Bennett’s people sent out what I thought was a really nice email, remarking on his life, his passions, and also his troubles with his former band mates. I’ve decided to post it to the blog:
Our good friend Jay Walter Bennett left us this weekend. As news hits the wires so instantaneously these days, we thought it was important to share some thoughts about our friend and brother before any rumors got out of hand.
First, let it be known that Jay was in a really good place these past few years. He had returned to the area he loved–the “Twin Cities,” Champaign-Urbana–and resurrected his studio, Pieholden Suite Sound, with the assistance of many dear friends and allies. Jay had been busy making music. He recently had released an intimate record entitled “Whatever Happened I Apologize,” and he was looking forward to wrapping up his new work, “Kicking at the Perfumed Air.” Proud of finishing a trilogy of records, including “Bigger Than Blue,” “The Beloved Enemy,” and “The Magnificent Defeat,” Jay loved the balanced yet ironic album titles. He was also looking forward to engineering and releasing Titanic Love Affair’s previously unreleased record, as well as starting work on “The Palace at 4 a.m. Part II,” the follow-up to his post-Wilco debut with Edward Burch. “Jay the Academic” had also reemerged, pursuing his umpteenth degree at the University of Illinois, and he was thrilled to be t aking graduate classes again.
As many of you may be aware, Jay had finally found the courage to put his Wilco issues out into the public forum. After a long, four-year process (and therefore very much unrelated to his impending hip surgery), formal filings against Wilco were finally initiated. This task was very emotional for Jay. He was a “lover,” and this confrontation was not easy for him. With the exception of his final period in Wilco, Jay looked back on his time in the band with great fondness and pride. While he was dismayed that some people may have formed a narrow perception of him via the “documentary,” all who truly knew him understood that with most entertainment media, editing is usually constructed for dramatic effect and presents only a small part of a larger, more complex reality.
So, please spend some time this week engaging in Jay’s favorite passions: listen to a Nick Lowe album, watch some Mythbusters on Discovery, play Warren Zevon’s “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner,” rent Pay It Forward (one of his favorite movies), write a song with the TV on and the sound off, and focus on how Jay always concluded his communications:
Here’s Bennett with his band prior to Wilco, Titanic Love Affair, “Planet Strange”:
Wilco with Bennett, “Misunderstood”:
Jay Bennett solo, “My Little Wicked One” (just audio here):
It’s memorial day weekend, the start of summer, and while many of you are having fun in St. Louis many more of you are roaming the earth in search of fun and success. I myself just drove from STL to SF, via I-80 through Wyoming, Utah and Nevada, ending up in Berkeley. For music along the way I mostly stuck to the trusty ipod car adapter, but when we got to Salt Lake City my girlfriend started scanning the dial just to see what was on. I must admit, I was expecting nothing but Mormon Tabernacle stations and other wholesome fare, but to the left of the dial I was pleasantly surprised to hear a deep cut from Cut Copy, followed by a track from Van She. Australian indie-dance in Salt Lake City?? Lo and behold I was listening to KRCL 90.9, SLC’s community supported radio station. I called in and talked to the DJ, who as it turns out was subbing for “Emily” who normally did a show at that time. After we hung up, they dedicated the next song to me (Royksopp’s single Happy Up Here.) I was referred to as “the Wash U guy.” Awesome!
stl summers are the fucking best here are some things to do for those of you in town (and also for me so uh I don’t forget) I will update this I think [this is a valuable resource]
PAUL BURCH @ OFF BROADWAY – THURSDAY (TOMORROW NIGHT)
I just discovered this dude in the folk stax last week. honkytonk like hank/lefty and classic pop like buddy holly but not pastichey at all and smart smart smart. totally dig this guy.
MAMADOU DIABIATE @ ST. LOUIS ART MUSEUM – FRIDAY (FREE!)
from SLAM’s website:
“Celebrate African Arts Festival weekend with Malian kora musician Mamadou Diabate. The kora, a 21-string harp-lute used primarily by the peoples of West Africa, is played to masterful effect by this Grammy-nominated musician. Currently based in the United States, Mamadou has performed at the African World Festival in Detroit, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and The Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. Interested in bringing the kora to new audiences, he plays with noted jazz and contemporary music ensembles but remains rooted in the traditions of the Manding kora and his family’s griot heritage.”
featuring live music from folks like the scissormen ^^^ (et al I assume) also beer & pork.
JUNIOR BROWN @ BEALE ON BROADWAY – SUNDAY
I sometimes got mixed feelings about this dude– (his six string/slide combo is a little gimmicky, for instance) but I hear he puts on quite a show. and this song w/his pseudo-tubb croak/croon is pretty great.
From Augusta, Georgia via Los Angeles, California: I posted the trailer for the Atlanta (but mostly Black Lips for better or worse) music documentary, “We Fun,” a little while back.
Well, you can watch the full 72 minutes for a limited time only on the ever-so-hip Pitchfork Media TV section.
And if you haven’t seen it, you should check out the superior 1980s sister documentary, “Athens, GA: Inside/Out.” Here’s a sizable chunk:
At one point, KWUR had the soundtrack to this movie on vinyl. I tried to find it so I could dub it to cassette. I really wanted to obtain some of the BBQ Killers music. No dice. I don’t think I’ll ever find any…