Calgary is coming together in support of local music legend, Kelly Jay, who recently received a two-month long reprieve to clean up his property.
The former keyboardist for the Calgarian rock and roll band, Crowbar, has struggled with hoarding and has been issued with warnings from the city to specifically clear his yard of his beloved tour bus, which Jay told the media is filled with music memorabilia and recordings, including tracks recorded with John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
Jay, who co-wote the Crowbar’s 1971 hit “Oh, What a Feeling” (which was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2011), has been vocal about his hoarding troubles, which worsened following a series of traumatic losses. In the 1990s, his daughter disappeared while working in Tokyo and the mother of his three children was killed in a car accident. Then, in 2012, his wife of nearly 20 years, Tami Jean, died of heart complications.
In 2013, when Jay’s health began to decline and his hoarding intensified, he appeared on an episode of the TV series, Hoarding: Buried Alive. The episode showed Jay’s Penbrooke Meadows home packed with suitcases and piles of his late wife’s clothing. His stepdaughter spoke to the camera crew, telling them that “the more people he loses in his life, the more he wants to hold on to his stuff.”
Now, members of the community ranging from people from the music industry to teachers are stepping forward to help Jay with his possessions. Kristin Poch, owner of Beatnik Bus (which sells classic vinyl records out of a bus), has offered to sell some of Jay’s records; Scott Herzog, owner of Aarand Moving and Delivery, is willing to help tow out items and store them for free; Travis McClellan, a teacher at the Discovering Choices outreach program, has offered to send helpers to Jay’s home to assist him in sorting through his memorabilia to donate to the new National Music Centre.
City bylaw services, which have granted Jay a reprieve until next spring, will also connect the musician to hoarding aid agencies, like the Calgary Community Hoarding Coalition.