I Was Dying Way Before Every Other Celebrity Started Doing It

Illustration for article titled I Was Dying Way Before Every Other Celebrity Started Doing It

Look, I don’t want to be one of those whiny famous dudes who spends his days ragging on other famous dudes in the press. That’s not what I’m about. But this whole thing with celebrities dying has just become such a crock of shit, man. Such a crock of shit. I’m telling you, dying when you’re incredibly famous has been done. By me. I was doing that shit 15 years ago, and now people are acting like it’s some new trendy thing.


Come on. I was tragically dying before my time way before all these other pop culture mainstays. I was burning out and not fading away back when they were all still living successful, healthy lives a thousand miles from death’s door.

Honestly, I cannot begin to tell you how fucking weak it is in this day and age for famous people to die like it’s some sort of big accomplishment. What is this, 1994? Whatever happened to formulating your own ideas? Don’t just die because I did it, man. Find your own thing. See, people don’t think for themselves anymore, that’s the problem. And why not? Because the corporations who control the media outlets in this country have taught you all to shut up and eat your bowl of slop like good little piggies.

Well, fuck them, and fuck their slop. I never played that game. My death existed totally outside of the corporate structure for what famous people “can” and “can’t” do. And then, a little more than a year after I die, Jerry Garcia drops dead because it’s suddenly “hip” to do so. Give me a fucking break, man.

And that shit is still happening, to this day.

I mean, if you’re going to die famous—like, really fucking die—then at least do it with some originality, you know? Don’t cop out with some cancer or cardiac arrest thing. That’s not how I wanted to go out. No way. I did it myself, man. DIY style. I didn’t need a whole bunch of doctors and fancy medical equipment and the comfort of assorted friends and family to pass away in a highly publicized manner. Fuck that. All I needed was a shotgun, some heroin, a couple of Valiums, and Automatic For The People spinning on the turntable. Simple. Perfect. Punk rock.

Not that it wasn’t watered down later by the media, of course. It’s a shame, because my death was so much more pure and raw before those smiley-faced vanilla merchants tried to sugarcoat it and force it down your throats on MTV.

And okay, fine, all famous people who die are inspired by the famous people who died before them, and no idea for dying is original, and all the rest of that tired crap. And of course I acknowledge the influence that the deaths of Sid Vicious, James Dean, Jimi Hendrix, and Dylan Thomas had on me. That’s a given. But I worked really hard and paid my dues as an artist to get to the point where I could die in a maelstrom of tabloid scrutiny, and I didn’t wait until I was fiftysomething years old to do it, either. No way, man. Twenty-seven years old. Just a crazy punk kid from Aberdeen, WA who made it happen.


So if you’re some young little fucker sitting in your parents’ basement somewhere, listening to your Mudhoney records, jamming on your shitty little Sears-bought guitar, and dreaming of being a big, famous, dead person one day, let me give you a word of advice: Don’t bother. Sure, getting famous and dying will bring you more attention than you could ever hope for and make your family tons of money. But trust me, it ain’t worth it. Because one day, years later, some freakish R&B; clown, or grizzled old pinup girl, or well-respected newsman is going to kick the bucket and claim all the credit for what you started. And then your ass is nothing but a memory.

So just forget about dying famous, kids. It’s a sad truth, but one you’ve got to face: You’d be better off alive.