The band’s bassist recounts
the Legend of Big Joe – toucher of death, consumer of meow mix.
BY DINO EVERETT
Long ago, we had a friend called Big Joe. Joe would do
anything at any time-the more shocking, the better. He was like a giant, strong
Sid Vicious with the sort of youthful energy that would generally land him in
deep trouble, and eventually landed him underground when he flipped and rolled
his truck for the last time.
Joe was super fun, and we had a special sort of crazy
kinship. I have many fond memories of him walking down the street, jumping up
and smashing his head against the street signs, usually slicing his forehead.
He had the kind of scars that professional wrestlers usually have from cutting
the same spot so often the skin no longer heals properly. And the very first
day we arrived in Hollywood, all green and
ignorant from Florida,
Joe was so drunk he walked down the middle of Hollywood Boulevard screaming, “I want to
punch somebody! I want to hit someone hard!” But he was so big that no one
would ever dream of challenging him.
Anyway, on the trip out from Florida,
we were driving through Texas
late one night. There’s a stretch that seems to go on forever and is as black
as night. If you’re sharing the road with anyone else, you’re lucky. Around 2
or 3 a.m. we saw another car
about ten to fifteen car lengths ahead of us. Suddenly it swerved and pulled
over-then we felt a quick bum-bum-bum-bump under our vehicle. We too swerved off to the side of the road.
We got out of the truck and saw the couple from the other
car walking toward us. Joe leaned over something in the road and yelled, “It’s
a dead guy… Look at this shit.” We saw pieces of torso and flesh that was
once a man on a motorcycle. We wondered how long he had been there and what
should we do. The couple said they had a phone in their car (this was 1989, so
it was one of those giant ones), which meant that we could leave and continue
on our trip to Los Angeles
and become rock stars. Figuring it was his only chance, Joe went back to touch
the dead body. Then we jumped in the car and drove off to LA.
Touching that dead guy wasn’t the most fucked up thing I saw
Big Joe do. One time he ate cat afterbirth. We all went out drinking afterward,
and we wondered aloud if he could get a girl to kiss him that night – and he
did! Someone’s first kiss may have been the most fucked up thing I have ever
[Photo Credit: Alison L. Beier]