Ex-Wilco Songwriter Jay Bennett Dies At 45

Jay BennettSome sad news on Memorial Day: Jay Bennett, the Chicago multi-instrumentalist who added his talents to Wilco’s Being There, Summerteeth and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot before being embarrassingly ousted from the band on camera in the documentary I Am Trying To Break Your Heart, died in his sleep on Sunday morning, Billboard reports. He was 45. For better or worse, his appearance in the film — which he sued band frontman Jeff Tweedy for royalties from, among other things, earlier this month, bizarrely — made him out to be a bit of a clown interested mainly in “easy rockers,” and a musician who had a hard time interpreting Jeff’s intentions for the experimental YHF, but he was a formidable performer in his own right. “Reasons For You To Love Me,” one of the best songs to emerge from the YHF sessions, found a home on his album Bigger Than Blue, and he is considered to have been a driving force in the band’s move away from alt-country on Summerteeth — a move that set the stage for the wide-ranging rock of YHF and A Ghost Is Born. Chicago Sun-Times critic Jim DeRogatis has more on Jay’s untimely passing. [Correction: Jay died on Sunday morning, not Monday.]