Poet and punk rocker Jim Carroll has died at age 60

By Euphoric · Sep 16, 2009 · ·
  1. Euphoric
    Poet and punk rocker Jim Carroll has died at age 60.

    Funeral arrangements are pending.

    A respected poet and musician, Carroll also was the author of "The Basketball Diaries," which was adapted into a 1995 movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

    Carroll died Friday at his home in Manhattan after suffering a heart attack, said his former wife, Rosemary Carroll.

    In 1980, he released the popular album "Catholic Boy," which, according to his fan Web site, expressed the "omb-fear anticipation, the optimistic nihilism and glittering darkness of the 1980s."

    The track "People Who Died" was one of the most-requested songs on FM radio at the time, and as Newsweek's Barbara Graustark noted then, "it propelled [Carroll] from underground status to national attention as a contender for the title of rock's new poet laureate."

    The release of the song coincided with the death of John Lennon. The success of the album was attributed to the powerful combination of pure rock 'n' roll with Carroll's poetic sensibility and ability to write from his own experience.

    The fan Web site Catholicboy.com sums up Carroll's approach to music by quoting him as saying, "There ain't much time left, you're born out of this insane abyss and you're going to fall back into it, so while you're alive you might as well show your bare ass."

    In addition to two follow-up albums, Carroll was a best-selling author of six books.

    "He was a sweet, sweet man, and I'm going to really miss him," said Cassie Carter, a close friend for more than 20 years who operates Catholicboy.com.

    Carroll was born in New York in 1949 and spent his childhood living on the city's Lower East Side, attending Catholic schools, said Rosemary Carroll, whom he met in 1973.

    At 12, he began keeping a journal that eventually was published as "The Basketball Diaries" in 1978. In it, he recorded the highs and lows of his youth.

    He first experimented with drugs at 12 and soon was addicted to heroin, but he was able to kick that habit in the 1970s, his former wife said.

    He had just completed a novel, tentatively titled "The Petting Zoo," which is about a young painter who experiences spiritual crises. The date of its release has not been set.

    Carroll is survived by a brother, according to his ex-wife.

    By Chris Kokenes
    updated 3:14 p.m. EDT, Mon September 14, 2009


    Punk rock poet Jim Carroll dies at 60

    Punk rocker and poet Jim Carroll, author of the autobiographical The Basketball Diaries, has died. He was 60.

    He died Friday while working at his desk in his Manhattan home, according to his website. The cause of death is believed to be a heart attack.

    His Jim Carroll Band combined his poetic sensibility with rock 'n' roll and was influential in the burgeoning punk rock scene in 1970s New York.

    Carroll made a big impact with his album Catholic Boy and the single People Who Died, which was heavily played in response to ex-Beatle John Lennon's death in 1980.

    He rubbed shoulders with artists such as the Velvet Underground, Patti Smith, Larry Rivers and Robert Mapplethorpe in New York.

    "There ain't much time left, you're born out of this insane abyss and you're going to fall back into it, so while you're alive, you might as well show your bare ass," Carroll told Rolling Stone at the time.

    Known for his deeply personal lyrics, Carroll recorded the albums Pools of Mercury, I Write Your Name and A World Without Gravity.

    He was an influence on a later generation of artists, both musicians and writers, and worked with Pearl Jam, Rancid, Lou Reed, Danny Barnes and John Cale.
    Mentioned in Warhol films

    Carroll was a poet before he became a rock musician, publishing his first collection Organic Trains at age 16.

    Carroll was mentored by poet Ted Berrigan, and moved in circles that included William Burroughs, Beat writer Allen Ginsberg and artist Andy Warhol. He appeared in two of Warhol's films.

    From age 12, he kept a journal, chronicling his Catholic childhood as the son of an Irish bartender and the impact of his basketball scholarship.

    Throughout his teens, he lived a double life, hooked on heroin but a basketball player and excellent student.

    That story would become The Basketball Diaries, published in 1978 and made into a 1995 movie of the same name.

    Other collections include:

    * 4 Ups and 1 Down (1970).
    * The Book of Nods (1986).
    * Fear of Dreaming (1993).
    * Void of course: Poems 1994-1997 (1998).

    Carroll left New York in 1973 and moved to California where he vowed to kick his heroin addiction.

    He spent several years enjoying solitude, writing poetry, and met his future wife, Rosemary Klemfuss, there. They later divorced.

    In 1978, Patti Smith came to California on tour with her band, encouraged Jim to form a band, which led to the creation of the Jim Carroll Band.

    Last Updated: Monday, September 14, 2009 | 11:41 AM ET


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  1. Horiz
    Thanks for posting this, I was a huge fan of Jim Carroll, even the movie 'The Basketball Diaries'

    Offtopic: having never seen Jim before, he looks familiar, I wonder if he plays a junkie in the movie? He looks like the guy that talks about "the ritual" to Leonardo's character.
  2. Nero663
    Yeah that is Jim Carroll it took me a few years to
    catch on but that's definitely one of my all time favorite movies
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