September 14, 2009

Jim Carroll has died, died…

Actually, he died on September 11, ensuring that those who recall his work will never forget his day of passing. And yes, I know everyone’s using that “People Who Died” joke, but it seems appropriate; the song was about the staggering number of his friends who had suffered early and violent deaths, and now… hopefully he is with his friends. If we could be certain this was to be our fate, Death would hold no terrors.

You’ll find his NY Times Obit here. I never thought of his music as “punk” – I always thought punk’s blank nihilism devalued it too much, and The Jim Carroll Band was anything but blank. Here was a man whose output was so exciting and provocative that Andy Warhol and Keith Richard sought him out. I played those records a lot back then, never could part with them.

I must admit I’m not closely acquainted with his written output; I guess I’ll find my copy of Basketball Diaries when I unpack the twenty or so boxes of books still languishing in the garage after our last move. But I spent a bit of time today checking out some of his poetry and writings on the ‘net, and it was a good way to pass some time. He was hailed as a great by no less than Alan Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and Patti Smith, which makes him an artist’s artist – they are the ones you need to read, so go Google-cruising if you don’t know his work and you may be pleasantly surprised.

And put his music on while you do…

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