Wednesday 27 February 2019

RIP Jay Douglas

Very sorry to hear of the death of Jay Douglas, who was our distributor at CAV in San Francisco.

I first got to know about Jay when he was at Anchor Bay in the 90s, coming up with all those ideas for the various tins and box sets that they became known for. Jay was an enthusiastic marketer and defender of the products he handled and I came to see this in person when Andy Starke and I moved our small operation over to Ryko in the early noughties. I remember his lively sales pitches at the first label conference we went to in beautiful New Orleans (before the devastation of Katrina). I first met Jay in person there and then later when the key Ryko team came to London. Jay’s presence at his next home, CAV, was the reason we finally moved there.

I remember our long phone calls – sometimes late at night due to the time differences. Phone calls that nearly always developed into lengthy discussions about music as Jay was a huge rock fan. His tastes were broad. He had a deep love for 1960s art rockers Procol Harum but I also remember him telling me how he had once driven for 7 hours though a blizzard to see UK proto punks Slade play in the US… only to discover when he finally arrived that the concert had been cancelled! And, in the last couple of years, no conversation with Jay ever ended before he got in a few well-honed quips about the latest madness from the POTUS.

Whenever there was an issue that needed sorting or something that I was uncertain about, Jay was always the person I referred back to. And he always got us moving in the right direction. He was a big fan of our label and was very familiar with our titles, even some of the less loved ones. And he always had something interesting to say about them. I’ll miss those conversations and I’ll miss him. His untimely death at the early age of 65 reminds us that in this world of shadows nothing is forever.

RIP Jay.

- Pete Tombs, February 2019