Don’t go in the bathroom

I lost a friend this week. And my heart is heavy for the loss.

I first met Joey a few years ago when I interviewed him for a YouTube video at his home just outside of Miami.

Joey Image was the drummer for a punk group, The Misfits, who were quite successful during the punk heyday of the late 70’s and 80’s. While stories of touring with The Damned across Europe intrigued me, it was really getting to know the man before me that enriched my life.

Here he was, born the same month of the same year as me, yet with lives that bore no resemblance. His achievements and subsequent fall from grace are well documented and in the twilight years of his life, he was in many ways a better person than he had been when he soared in the clouds.

His success stories very much epitomized the sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll stuff that we have all heard about. But it was his honesty and humility that grabbed me most during our time together.

He was a genuine human being. Surprisingly humble and appreciative of his time here. Death had come knocking on the door in the form of liver cancer, yet he took it in his step and in many ways blamed himself for the knocks.

He had arrived at the conclusion that sharing drug needles gave him hepatitis and heavy alcohol use had shot his liver. So, in his mind he deserved this.

For my part I don’t believe in just desserts and most of our private conversations after the interview played on that theme. People don’t get what they deserve in life and yes, his life story very likely contributed to his health issues. But there are many others who traveled the same path, without hitting the same crossroads.

At the point in his life where our paths came together, Joey lived a mostly quiet existence and his humility shone through. He was heavily engaged in the whole chemo process and while it certainly dominated much of his day to day existence, he still occasionally played drums and returned to the moments of his youth.

We talked several times over the past few years and messaged infrequently but he was never far from my thoughts. And when we did speak on the phone, they were heart warming conversations. Time spent with a real human being.

Thank you for those, Joey and Rest In Peace, my friend.

Footnote: If you don’t know The Misfits, they had a huge success with their album Horror Business and my favorite track is Don’t Go In the Bathroom, hence this title.