Joe Zippo Throws a Party

by Bill Brenner on October 17, 2010

Some thoughts on the benefit show last night for Joe Zippo

Mood music:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbr2PxWUMLM&fs=1&hl=en_US]

The best part of the night was meeting Joe’s parents. It was an honor, really. You can really see Joe’s personality and heart in them.

It was great to see so many old friends. I saw Christian Campagna for the first time since we worked at Rockit Records. We’ve kept in touch through Facebook, but it’s not the same as seeing people in person.

It’s always great to see Greg Walsh. I’ve always been blown away by the guy’s energy.

He’s been a drummer in multiple bands, most notably Pop Gun, he’s been an editor at The Boston Business Journal for years (we met when we were both working for The Swampscott Reporter), and he has a very busy family life. As if all that and three kids weren’t enough, he even started taking in foster kids at one point. Seeing Pop Gun play live was my way of capturing some of that energy in a bottle — and making some age jabs at the man.

It was a nice surprise seeing one of my oldest friends, Mike Trans. It’s hard to believe I’ve known the guy for 21 years now. I think we pretty much owned the North Shore Community College smoking room on the Lynn Campus back then.

The benefit show was crawling with people I remember from Salem State. Many of them look pretty much the same as they did back then.

Why write about a benefit concert in a blog about overcoming addiction and OCD? Simple:

In the late 1990s when I was isolating myself and doing everything I possibly could to destroy myself with junk, I lost touch with people I shouldn’t have lost touch with. It happens. That’s life. But it reminds me of some of the things I lost in those years where I struggled most.

It also reminded me of the healing power of friendship. Friends have helped me along and still do, and when I see people like Mike, I’m reminded of that. Not much has changed between us. The second I see his face I start lobbing insults at him. He returns them in rapid succession. That’s something I call New England affection: When you like people, you make fun of them.

Another lesson from last night: Even in death, the people who make an impact on us continue to do so in death. 

Sean Marley does it to me all the time. Some of my deepest friendships today, he made possible. Joe made a lot of friendships possible, too, and proof of that was abundant last night.

I have only one regret from last night: Not getting to see Matt Affannato. He was Sean’s brother-in-law for the two or so years Sean was married to his sister, Joy. He was always a great kid full of positive energy.

He left me a Facebook message last night asking if I’d still be there around 9:30 so we could catch up. I didn’t get to see him, which is a bummer because the last time I saw him we were sitting next to each other at Sean’s funeral.

Sorry ’bout that, Matt. We’ll have to catch up soon.

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