Monday, May 25, 2009

Jay Bennett RIP

I’ll always remember Jay Bennett as the very quiet kid who hung around though rarely said a word to us at my old record store The Pop Shop in Champaign, circa 1982-1983. I would also see him at a lot of the shows my old band the B-Lovers played back then. I’d say he was more confidently quiet than shy at that time, and always seemed to have this “I know something you don’t know…” look on his face. I think that “something” was he knew how massively talented he was and somehow the whole world was also going to find that out someday.

I remember walking into a party on Halloween in 1983 and spotting two guys in a corner playing acoustic guitars. One of the guys was Jay, and the two were playing and singing Bruce Springsteen’s “Johnny 99.” Later on at the party Jay and I were finally introduced to each other. I told him, “I didn’t know you played guitar,” to which his total deadpan reply was, “Yeah, I play a little…” And thus my first exposure to that infamously quirky sense of humor that was essential Jay Bennett. Conversation with Jay was never dull and always interesting, no matter the subject…

Regardless of his (well documented) ups & downs, the Jay Bennett I knew was a big ‘ol sweetheart. And I’ll say it again: a massive musical talent on so many levels.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

His death is genuinely shocking - the kind of thing that makes one gasp when they read the news.

Remove Wilco from the equation, and his musical contributions are vital. His tenure with Wilco assures that many others will be just as busted up by this news as I am.

The tragedy is there was a new day ahead for him. Once he'd be pain-free after hip surgery, whole new chapters of music would come charging out.

Dies in his sleep.... he didn't even get to go out like Diamond, kicking at the perfumed air. He just faded quietly into the night...

I'm yanking out the Titanic Love Affair CDs and cranking them loud. R.I.P. Mr. Bennett.