Jay Walter Bennett RIP(ex-Wilco member)

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Hip Replacement

Howdy friends,

I feel like I really need to check in and explain my long absence from myspace, and tell you all this little story with a sense of humor and an overall feeling of positive energy, gained from knowing that I am now moving in the right direction. I’ve been close to bedridden since I last “saw” y’all. After burying my proverbial head in the proverbial sand since last summer, I finally decided it was time I “face the music,” and find out what was causing the severe pain and immobility in my right leg. I have had a torn A.C.L. in that knee for many years (caused by a “daring,” well, uh, really just ill-planned, and poorly executed, stage jump at Seventh Street Entry in Minneapolis, with Titanic Love Affair), and suspected that time had most likely further worn down, or even torn loose some more cartilage, most likely causing premature arthritis. So, after much prompting from friends and loved ones (“Jay that limp is NOT getting any better”), bright and early one Monday morning I decided to simply open up the Yellow Pages, and find the first Orthopedic Medicine Clinic with an immediate opening and find out what a large part of me did not want to find out. I braced myself for a diagnosis of additional minor knee surgery to remove some “floating” cartilage, and told myself that maybe all I needed was a cortisone shot or two, or something like that…but, something deep down inside was telling me this could well be something bigger and badder (or else why would I have “run” from it for so long). I DID NOT brace myself for THE diagnosis of the need for a complete hip replacement (ball and socket, if you will). I just about fainted when I saw the X-Rays of that hip….holy &%$#*, what a mess I had made. The doctor sized me up at 5’9” (well actually, now a bit shorter than that on one side) and concluded that most likely I was not a basketball player, yet recognized the damage as that typically caused by repetitive high impact sports activity. Well, I knew in a heartbeat that could mean only one thing…. and, yes, you guessed it---a decade plus of multiple nightly stage jumps and various other rock and roll theatrics had finally taken a toll that I could no longer merely “deal with,” or ignore, even if I were to change my evil ways (baby). As I dizzily drove home (a drive I can barely remember), I alternately rode waves of the power derived from finally having the knowledge I had both craved and avoided, and of the fear of an uncertain future.

Well, it turns out that these types of injuries don’t really heal themselves, as I naively told myself might just magically happen, if I rested that leg, used a cane for a while, and lost a bit of weight. So, major surgery it was to be…the only glitch, I am among our nations under-insured (my previous injury to that leg was listed as a pre-existing condition, and any injury that could be linked to the same root cause, I was told would not be covered). Some time passed as I contemplated my next “move,”---how to come up with the money to pay for the surgery “out of pocket,” and as I brainstormed, my hip finally decided to lock up, and the pain got worse. So I began the arduous, or more accurately, extremely time consuming and endlessly frustrating, process of finding a surgeon and hospital that would perhaps “cut me a deal,” be willing to bargain/barter a bit, or at least allow me to make installment payments. As it turns out, this is possible, but also difficult to arrange, if you can not come up with a sizable down payment as a show good faith, etc. I have been saving as much money as possible ever since I made this new commitment to my health, my future, and my quality of life, and have sold off some vintage recording gear, whose monetary collectors value now far outweighs it’s functional value. As time has passed my mobility has continued to erode, to the extent that, for quite some time now, it has even been difficult to sit at the computer for more than just a few minutes---as I only own an ancient, yet reliable (don’t get mad at me baby), old Dell desk top PC, I can’t lie on the couch with a lap top and leisurely engage in the cyber world as I had so enjoyed since I made the commitment to enter the 21st century (or at least the late 20th) and interact with all of the wonderful people who have chosen to be my friends on myspace. And, even if I have said it enough already, I’ll just keep saying it over and over again; what an thoroughly enjoyable experience it has been, it’s like hanging out at a bar talking to folks with similar interests, swapping stories, answering questions, asking questions, getting to know people, reacquainting myself with old cronies, all without having to shout above the music (which I hate, unless of course it is of my choosing)…and I really have missed these interactions on so many levels. I know that I owe many of you mails (my trips to ye olde Dell are painful and now almost non-existent…this note was hand written and transcribed). I also owe some of you input on music that you have sent to me, for these transgressions, I apologize, but trust that you will understand.

I have posted some of the music I have been able to work on during this time period. I have labeled some of the songs as “demos,” but you never know with me which ones might just morph into “real” CD versions. The new songs are definitely still “works in progress,” and, as always I value any and all input, as I have gained so much from the outside perspective you all have shared with me over the past year---so, don’t hold back now. I also put up some new photos, just for yuks…only one of me, though (seriously, who needs to see another picture of me?). Most of my “photos” are still my little online art galley of my paintings and drawings. Perhaps I could have an art opening at the hospital.

I still don’t know exactly when my surgery will be, but I have learned a good deal about the procedure, and that has helped to make me MUCH less fearful. The double dose of anxiety caused by the pain, and the quite natural fear of the invasive surgery itself, really had me in its grip for a while, but now it only comes in waves. Once I am able to get a down payment of sorts together and actually have the surgery performed, I have been told that I then have only about six to eight weeks of physical therapy before I should be operating at approximately 80% capacity---these types of joint replacements have come light years in the past five years or so. The way I look at it, I’m functioning WAY below 80% right now, so what do I have to lose? Except a limp, some pain, some anxiety, and some weight. In many ways, I’m really looking forward to it, and wish I could go in tomorrow.

I will keep you all posted as I learn more, as I’m really Jonesing to get this over with, AND to finish up “Kicking at the Perfumed Air” (the CD that just doesn’t seem to want to get finished). I will continue to stay as active as I possibly can, making music, and staying in touch with all of you (my friends), as the surgery approaches, and later, whilst I am recovering. With any luck, by mid-summer, I should be a new man (albeit bionic---“we can rebuild him”) This whole experience has really taught me to look both inward and outward for support, and I’ve learned things about myself that I thought I had completely figured out years ago. Family and friends have helped me to keep faith in a future that will actually be much more carefree than my constricted present state. I encourage you all to tell me stories of recovery, as they really do help…if you don’t mind. All in all, I’m “in a really good place” right now; I’m just waiting until I can make it all happen. Thanks so much to all of you for downloading “Whatever happened I Apologize,” I really hope that you enjoyed it. I greatly appreciated all of the feedback you all gave me---keep it coming on the new stuff, if you feel like it. Again, apologies for my absence, I honestly do care about staying true to my promise to maintain open and interactive relationships with all of you “out there,” wherever you may be.

Peace, Love, and Understanding

Jay Walter Bennett

Bee OK, Monday, 25 May 2009 02:26 (eight years ago) Permalink

can anyone confirm his death? i can't find any credible source but i think it's true.

Bee OK, Monday, 25 May 2009 02:34 (eight years ago) Permalink

OMG. That's horribly sad. RIP.

Daniel, Esq., Monday, 25 May 2009 02:36 (eight years ago) Permalink

That's terrible. Way too young to go. I really liked the music he had a hand in creating in in Wilco.

curmudgeon, Monday, 25 May 2009 02:40 (eight years ago) Permalink

Truly sad...RIP.

jonathan - stl, Monday, 25 May 2009 02:43 (eight years ago) Permalink

ugh that is a bummer. interviewed way back when. he was a huge part of some great records ... RIP.

tylerw, Monday, 25 May 2009 02:44 (eight years ago) Permalink

Bad news.

•--• --- --- •--• (Pleasant Plains), Monday, 25 May 2009 02:50 (eight years ago) Permalink

The Wilco stuff was fine, but I buried myself really deep in that first Titanic Love Affair album in the early 90s as a way of coping with the end of The Replacements. The guy was a fantastic songwriter, even if he was something of a stuffy curmudgeon. Will be missed RIP

Johnny Fever, Monday, 25 May 2009 02:57 (eight years ago) Permalink

I listened to those Yankee Hotel Foxtrot demos more than I did the actual released album. His exit from that band was a big loss.

•--• --- --- •--• (Pleasant Plains), Monday, 25 May 2009 03:26 (eight years ago) Permalink

jesus, unreal


Stormy Davis, Monday, 25 May 2009 04:19 (eight years ago) Permalink

weirdly been listening to summerteeth a lot lately for some reason. really sad.

akm, Monday, 25 May 2009 04:29 (eight years ago) Permalink

Wow that's really awful.

TAT THY SAD EAGLE (ENBB), Monday, 25 May 2009 04:48 (eight years ago) Permalink

He was great. I believe he was much smarter than Tweedy, if not more "talented." He was an irrecoverable loss to Wilco. And now a loss to everyone.

I do not entirely understand what he died from. He had his hip replaced... and then what? Infection? Rejection? At his age, he should not have died from that kind of surgery unless... well... unless his immune system was already very weak. I will not deign to speculate.


my features are so intense (kenan), Monday, 25 May 2009 06:59 (eight years ago) Permalink


Ludo, Monday, 25 May 2009 08:29 (eight years ago) Permalink

wow shit, just found out. there's a kind of empty feeling in my gut right now.

Charlie Howard, Monday, 25 May 2009 08:40 (eight years ago) Permalink

Kenan, by posting "I will not deign to speculate" you ARE speculating. The guy underwent major surgery which is ALWAYS a risk no matter how old or healthy you are.

Very sad news.

Sickamous Mouthall (Scik Mouthy), Monday, 25 May 2009 08:42 (eight years ago) Permalink

jesus that sucks

Bathtime at the Apollo (G00blar), Monday, 25 May 2009 08:47 (eight years ago) Permalink

that's really terrible, RIP.

sonderangerbot, Monday, 25 May 2009 09:32 (eight years ago) Permalink

damn, that's really sad. just 45, and from the blurb i gather he just got some shit together/sorted out to keep going with life.

"B1 is the one for me" (willem), Monday, 25 May 2009 09:40 (eight years ago) Permalink

RIP; this guy brought a lot of light to my life, and many others, at innumerable shows over the years. Bizarre and dreadful news.

dulce est desipere in loco (Euler), Monday, 25 May 2009 13:19 (eight years ago) Permalink

RIP. So sad. I remember seeing him and Jeff Tweedy play an acoustic show together around Mermaid Avenue. He could really, really play.

kornrulez6969, Monday, 25 May 2009 14:31 (eight years ago) Permalink

ah damn :(


your porno name is rodd tundgren (M@tt He1ges0n), Monday, 25 May 2009 14:51 (eight years ago) Permalink

Playing Summerteeth now- RIP dude

ColinO, Monday, 25 May 2009 16:37 (eight years ago) Permalink

RIP. For Summerteeth and Being There, he deserves props. I don't know to what extent it's a coincidence that I lost interest in Wilco after his exit, but anyway.

Freedom, Monday, 25 May 2009 16:53 (eight years ago) Permalink

Damn. I talked to him one night when he popped in to guest with The Reputation and he was extremely likable and funny. RIP

homage is parody gone sour (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 25 May 2009 18:10 (eight years ago) Permalink

Hmm, that post also makes me wonder if he thought suing Tweedy wasn't something he really wanted to do, but was getting hard up to pay for the surgery.

homage is parody gone sour (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 25 May 2009 18:16 (eight years ago) Permalink

Sorry, I'll save the speculation for later, just a thought. Still kinda stunned by this tbh.

homage is parody gone sour (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 25 May 2009 18:19 (eight years ago) Permalink

very sad about this, re-read this interview i did with him in 2001 or 2002. this was one of the first interviews i ever did (if not the first) and i was pretty starstruck -- at the time I was heavily into Summerteeth and YHF. I really overstate the awesomeness of Palace at 4am, but maybe I'll pull it out and have a listen again. http://www.junkmedia.org/index.php?i=195

tylerw, Monday, 25 May 2009 20:17 (eight years ago) Permalink

I might be wrong, but the Wilco arguments seemed to have as much to do with who was on what drugs when as it did with the music.

Eazy, Monday, 25 May 2009 20:35 (eight years ago) Permalink

Jeff Tweedy is gracious and honorable in his first comments about Jay Bennett's passing:

Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, Bennett's former band, was on tour in Europe when the news arrived. "We are all deeply saddened by this tragedy," he said. "We will miss Jay as we remember him -- as a truly unique and gifted human being and one who made welcome and significant contributions to the band's songs and evolution. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends in this very difficult time."

As you'd expect, but it's still nice to hear.

Daniel, Esq., Monday, 25 May 2009 20:37 (eight years ago) Permalink

really really sad news

"I do not entirely understand what he died from. He had his hip replaced... and then what? Infection? Rejection? At his age, he should not have died from that kind of surgery unless... well... unless his immune system was already very weak"

possibly a fat embolism? often when fractures or orthopedic surgeries occur, this situation can develop. bone marrow may leak into the circulatory system and enter the lungs or brain and cause arrest. i'm not a medical doctor, but this is how i understand it and perhaps this is what happened.

regardless, great loss to music

sknybrg, Monday, 25 May 2009 20:39 (eight years ago) Permalink

From this message, he hadn't had the surgery yet.

Eazy, Monday, 25 May 2009 20:41 (eight years ago) Permalink

wow. even more tragic then.

sknybrg, Monday, 25 May 2009 21:04 (eight years ago) Permalink

Ha ha, how is that more tragic?

congratulations (n/a), Monday, 25 May 2009 22:26 (eight years ago) Permalink

a very fair question!

Billy Pilgrim, Monday, 25 May 2009 22:31 (eight years ago) Permalink

i understood that he died from complications to a surgery - which is always horrible but always a possibility. that he died before it even happened - an apparently "accidental" death? yeah, more tragic imo.
it's absurd to even discuss cause he's gone and that fucking sucks

sknybrg, Tuesday, 26 May 2009 01:20 (eight years ago) Permalink

This is terribly sad. There was a terrific interview with him in Amplifier in the late 90's/2000 about Summerteeth in which he confessed his love for early Bee Gees (not an easy admission to make back then) and discussed his use of the Chamberlain, a precursor to the Mellotron.

I really thought a lot of his playing on that record and concur with others who noted that his departure from Wilco was a real loss -- they never have equaled that partnership again, IMO.

Naive Teen Idol, Tuesday, 26 May 2009 02:21 (eight years ago) Permalink

yeah its gonna turn a game from a 13 pt lead

iro with the brown bag (Hunt3r), Tuesday, 26 May 2009 03:39 (eight years ago) Permalink

oops wrong thread sorry!

iro with the brown bag (Hunt3r), Tuesday, 26 May 2009 03:40 (eight years ago) Permalink

For a second I'm all "Well that's one way to look at it..."

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 26 May 2009 03:40 (eight years ago) Permalink

Dude seems to have gotten the short end of the Tweedy stick w/ the Wilco thing. I dunno what exactly he contributed, but BT, ST & YHT are easily my fave Wilco records, so it was probably something pretty vital. RIP big guy.

"alt-black" (Pillbox), Tuesday, 26 May 2009 03:53 (eight years ago) Permalink

Sad news.

I suppose Tweedy won't have to worry much about that pending Bennett lawsuit, then.

I just wish he hadn't adopted the "ilxor" moniker (ilxor), Tuesday, 26 May 2009 14:34 (eight years ago) Permalink

when i have the time, i'm going to post a Bennett-era Wilco bootleg from 2000 on my blog. That was the first time I saw Wilco and he definitely owned the band at that point, playing lead guitar, all kinds of keyboards, tons of backing vocals. I can kind of see why Tweedy -- as good as the music was -- felt like he had been usurped as the leader of the group.

tylerw, Tuesday, 26 May 2009 15:18 (eight years ago) Permalink

Yikes: Did a lack of health-insurance contribute to Jay Bennett's passing? If so, it makes a tragic story even more horribly sad.

Daniel, Esq., Tuesday, 26 May 2009 17:31 (eight years ago) Permalink

And lack of health insurance could easily have been the reason for that lawsuit last week.

Eazy, Tuesday, 26 May 2009 17:49 (eight years ago) Permalink


The Wild Shirtless Lyrics of Mark Farner (C. Grisso/McCain), Tuesday, 26 May 2009 19:34 (eight years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...


velko, Monday, 15 June 2009 03:18 (eight years ago) Permalink


Kevin John Bozelka, Monday, 15 June 2009 03:21 (eight years ago) Permalink

i was trying to find info on his autopsy and came across that from some dallas rag

velko, Monday, 15 June 2009 03:22 (eight years ago) Permalink

just read something about more tests being done to determine cause of death

velko, Monday, 15 June 2009 03:24 (eight years ago) Permalink

that's really funny... but honestly, it was my first thought when I heard.

Jesus Christ, Attorney at Law (res), Tuesday, 16 June 2009 01:17 (eight years ago) Permalink

That's fucked up that Jeff Tweedy would do something like that.

kornrulez6969, Tuesday, 16 June 2009 01:25 (eight years ago) Permalink

What a disaster for Wilco.

Pleasant Plains, Tuesday, 16 June 2009 01:48 (eight years ago) Permalink

Coroner says overdose.

still counting on porcupine racetrack (G00blar), Tuesday, 23 June 2009 19:21 (eight years ago) Permalink

still sad about this. live show i mentioned upthread is over here: http://ow.ly/fFF6 it's awesome

tylerw, Tuesday, 23 June 2009 19:24 (eight years ago) Permalink

kind of figured that was the case, thanks for posting.

Bee OK, Tuesday, 23 June 2009 21:58 (eight years ago) Permalink

Why is this a disaster for Wilco?

Also, coroner doesn't say "overdose" -- he says "accidental overdose." Big difference.

Naive Teen Idol, Wednesday, 24 June 2009 00:23 (eight years ago) Permalink

Why is this a disaster for Wilco?

read the wikipedia snapshot

Jesus Christ, Chiropractor at Law (res), Wednesday, 24 June 2009 00:24 (eight years ago) Permalink

Also, coroner doesn't say "overdose" -- he says "accidental overdose." Big difference.

definitely. fentanyl is a very, very strong opiod, and there have been recalls and lawsuits associated with some types of those transdermal patches.

pretzel walrus, Wednesday, 24 June 2009 00:41 (eight years ago) Permalink

read the wikipedia snapshot

Again, why is an obviously made up wiki item a "disaster for Wilco."

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 24 June 2009 04:09 (eight years ago) Permalink

"what a disaster for ( )" is a lil ilx in-joke i believe

pretzel walrus, Wednesday, 24 June 2009 05:06 (eight years ago) Permalink

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