Happy Birthday, Joe!
I adore Joe. He’s one of the most interesting and adorable guys I’ve ever known, just damn cool. We met while working at the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, and we’ve remained friends for fifteen years. (Fifteen years, Joe? Is that possible?)
He loved R.E.M. nearly as much as I did (and I pray he still does). Joe and I went to R.E.M.’s first night-before album release party — for Automatic for the People — now a tradition I never miss. We shopped the town dry, drank The Globe dry, won an autographed press kit in the auction, admired Bill Berry’s very muscular arms close up (talk about your swoons). And we got to hear Automatic for the People before it was released. We also attended the New Adventures in Hi-Fi release party … and then he moved away.
We saw some great shows. R.E.M., of course. U2, with Big Audio Dynamite and Public Enemy. k.d. lang. The Peter Buck/Kevn Kinney benefit for the Atlanta Community Food Bank, with Smashing Pumpkins (I nearly embarrassed myself five times that night … but Joe saved me … or laughed.). Richard Thompson. Bob Weir. That 10,000 Maniacs show at Chastain when Michael Stipe joined Natalie on “Suspicious Minds” … and we were on the front row in ten seconds flat. And so many more.
One of my favorite Joe moments was at a fundraiser for AID Atlanta, back when Joe worked for the organization. He performed the sexiest, flirtiest drag to Lucinda Williams’ “Hot Blood.” Dan was on his knees, stuffing that garter with every dollar bill he could find.
Lots of cocktailing, lots of dining, lots of introspective conversation, lots of laughter. Atlanta just hasn’t been the same since Joe left.
I’m listening to “Me in Honey” and World Party today and thinking about you, Joe. I promise to get up there before spring. I’m so glad you’re part of my life.