The Jim Carroll Band, “People Who Died”

The Jim Carroll Band, Catholic Boy, 1980

Teddy sniffing glue he was 12 years old
Fell from the roof on East Two-nine
Cathy was 11 when she pulled the plug
On 26 reds and a bottle of wine
Bobby got leukemia, 14 years old
He looked like 65 when he died
He was a friend of mine
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died
Jimmy and Georgie let their gimmicks go rotten
So they died of hepatitis in Upper Manhattan
Sly in Vietnam took a bullet in the head
Bobby OD’d on Drano on the night that he was wed
They were two more friends of mine
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died
Mary took a dry dive from a hotel room
Bobby hung himself from a cell in The Tombs
Judy jumped in front of a subway train
Eddie got slit in the jugular vein
And Eddie, I miss you more than all the others
And I salute you brother
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died
Herbie pushed Tony from the Boys’ Club roof
Tony thought that his rage was just some goof
But Herbie sure gave Tony some bitchin’ proof
“Hey,” Herbie said, “Tony, can you fly?”
But Tony couldn’t fly – Tony died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died
Brian got busted on a narco rap
He beat the rap by rattin’ on some bikers
He said, “Hey, I know it’s dangerous
But it sure beats Riker’s”
But the next day he got offed
By the very same bikers
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died
Teddy sniffing glue he was 12 years old
Fell from the roof on East Two-nine
Cathy was 11 when she pulled the plug
On 26 reds and a bottle of wine
Bobby got leukemia, 14 years old
He looked like 65 when he died
He was a friend of mine
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died
Jimmy and Georgie let their gimmicks go rotten
So they died of hepatitis in Upper Manhattan
Sly in Vietnam took a bullet in the head
Bobby OD’d on Drano on the night that he was wed
They were two more friends of mine
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died
Mary took a dry dive from a hotel room
Bobby hung himself from a cell in the tombs
Judy jumped in front of a subway train
Eddie got slit in the jugular vein
And Eddie, I miss you more than all the others
This song is for you my brother
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died

A very interesting figure from the very early punk rock days in New York. Although he was heterosexual, he worked as a rent boy on the streets of New York to get money for his heroin habit. Lots of young straight junkies do this in New York. Johnny Ramone did it. You would be amazed at how many straight men will have sex with men for money, especially if they are drug addicts. It would boggle your mind.

He hung out with Patti Smith, Richard Hell, the Ramones, Johnny Thunders, William Burroughs, and all the rest of the New York punk maniac crowd back then. I remember William Burroughs came to give a reading in LA in 1980, and though I wasn’t there, the place was full of the craziest LA punkers – all the local maniacs were there.

Burroughs was a punk icon as he was a Beat icon and even a bit of a hippie icon. In the hippie era, there long-haired young man backpacking through Europe with a copy of Nova Express became something of an archetype. Face it: Burroughs is a hipster – the ultimate hipster.

All the people in this song died young. They were all shooting stars – after all, every shooting star burns out after a brief flash of glory. A lot of these types have an air of doom about them from early on. They seem headed in only one un-veering final direction with no way to stop them. Get out of the way before they take you with them.

It’s a great song though from back in the day. This is one more example of how great early punk rock was!

Amazing how many people this young man knew who died. Sort of reminds me of Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side too with the list of wild characters and crazy behavior – the crowd that loves to bet it all, to throw it all down and tiptoe on the tight wire of life for no particular reason, or just for the Hell of it.

Jim Carroll RIP.

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One thought on “The Jim Carroll Band, “People Who Died””

  1. I flirted with such compromises during my short but bleak amphetamine-abusing days in the recent past. I was like, “Nope”. Then rehab, ignoring all the caveats of course, and next I got hooked on opiate pills. Then I was all like “If I keep this up, I’ll vaporize what few brain cells I have left”. Yep, drugs are bad, m’kay.

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