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All or Nothing Guy: Jay Reatard Through Atlanta's Eyes

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Smith, who now performs primarily under the Gentleman Jesse moniker, dedicates his forthcoming album, Leaving Atlanta, to Lindsey. As is the case with many local musicians, Lindsey and he eventually reconciled, even if the peace was often temporary and easily disturbed. Swilley speaks warmly of the night Swedish rockers the Hives came to town for a show at the Masquerade. He and Lindsey took them to local strip-club novelty, the Clermont Lounge, after the show. "I don't remember much of it, so it must've been pretty good," Swilley laughs. Eventually, Lindsey, along with various Atlanta rockers, attended science-fiction, fantasy and comic-book extravaganza, Dragon*Con. Sporting a zebra-stripe shirt, Lindsey urinated all over a restroom stall. Black Lip Cole Alexander, dressed as a scantily-clad viking, was escorted from the convention for "getting caught stealing the beer," according to a security guard, only to smooth-talk his way back in. The whole gang harassed a man in a Stormtrooper outfit until he forced his way out of the elevator car they're sharing. A grainy, ridiculous, 11-minute YouTube clip documents the madness.

Lindsey's time spent in Atlanta was largely focused on his work, though, and that work was largely Blood Visions. In addition to the guitar parts Swilley says he heard him working on in his bedroom, Lindsey reached out to Dave Rahn, Carbonas drummer and record producer. Lindsey came to the Carbonas practice space – which now houses a fine-dining steakhouse – to check out Rahn's gear and to hear what projects he'd been working on. He'd go on to record all the drum parts and one guitar part for Blood Visions there. "The fucked up thing was that he recorded all of the drum tracks from the songs in his head, never needing a scratch track or any frame of reference as far as tempo goes," Rahn says. "Still one of the most impressive things I've ever seen. He knocked most of the songs out in one or two takes."

Fast forward about six years, past Lindsey and Brown moving back to Memphis together and eventually breaking up. Past the release of Blood Visions and its subsequent introduction of Lindsey's career to a much bigger world. Past a tour with Carbonas and fellow Atlantans Beat Beat Beat. Past a label bidding war and his eventual signing with Matador for what would be his final full-length album, Watch Me Fall, as well as a series of 7-inch singles, one of which would find him trading cover songs with Deerhunter and posing for the cover shot with Cox in bed. Lindsey's career took off in a fairly big way, as did the careers of his Atlanta friends in Black Lips and Deerhunter.

Better Than Something ends on Lindsey, rocking in a porch swing, the literal Memphis darkness encroaching around him as the viewer realizes the figurative, existential darkness is also not far off. He's discussing how much time he's got left in this world, and it's a painful, prescient moment to watch. "When you die young, it's almost like a curse, but it's a benefit to your vision, you know?" Worley says over beers at Manuel's, an Atlanta watering-hole institution located about half a mile from the apartment Lindsey shared with Brown, Swilley and Naumann during those heady days several years back. "You never have to compromise your values. He did it his own way. It's almost like he knew he had a short amount of time. Like he had that in his mind."

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