Shortly after the release of Teenage Hate, the debut album from the Reatards, an 18-year-old Jay Reatard started working on a new album. He was spitting out punk rock anthems a mile a minute at this point, so a new record made sense. And what else was there to do? He’d quit school a couple years back so a normal day for Jay meant he was bumming around midtown Memphis winding people up.
At this point, Eric Friedl had introduced Jay to Meghan Smith, via mail or phone or something. And they became fast friends. Smith and Blake Wright ran Empty Records out of Seattle, and the label made plans to release Grown Up Fucked Up. After a complete mess of a European tour with the Persuaders, Jay came back and recorded the album with some help from his girlfriend at the time (and future Lost Sounds bandmate) Alicja Trout. It soon became clear that there was a harder edge to everything. While Teenage Hate had been nasty, it was rooted in the Crypt / Oblivians scene of scuzzy rock, with covers of Fear, but also Buddy Holly. Grown Up Fucked Up was a power pogo into Killed By Death-style punk rock. The songs jumped off the record and grabbed you by the throat. They were passionate, ridiculous and utterly authentic. It wasn’t too long afterwards that he put out the equally amazing “Your So Lewd” single (now included on the album as well). Like everything Jay did, he did it his way. His recordings hold up because they are completely unique. He created a scene full of imitations, but no one duplicated him.