People Who Died: Jim Carroll (August 1, 1949 – September 11, 2009)
Alex Williams of the New York Times did a nice writeup on the life and final years of the great downtown writer, poet, and musician, Jim Carroll.
On Carroll’s latest work:
He (Carroll) was trying to finish his first novel, tentatively titled “The Petting Zoo,” an ambitious book about an art-world prodigy of the 1980s, Billy Wolfram, who is driven by early fame into seclusion, where he suffers psychological and spiritual crises. It didn’t take much to see the autobiographical thread.
Most will remember Carroll for his famed memoir The Basketball Diaries, which focused on his drug-binged teenage years in the 1960’s while attending Trinity School in Manhattan’s Upper West Side. It was eventually made into a film (1995) starring Leonardo DiCaprio. I’ll personally remember him for his song People Who Died. I remember watching him perform on the early 80s television show, Fridays, going out and purchasing the Catholic Boy album, and within a year or two my brother and I would see Jim walking the streets of New York City during a family vacation (we also, incidentally, saw Haywood Nelson — that’s Dwayne from ‘What’s Happening’ – as well as Tiny Tim during the same trip).
At the time, Jim Carroll represented ‘downtown New York’ to me, in much the same way that Lou Reed, The Ramones, and Blondie did.
Anyways, for those who haven’t seen it, here’s his hit, “People Who Died,” performed live:
Rest in peace.