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Old 03-04-2006, 09:48 PM   #1
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Default Joe Cole murder / Henry Rollins

I found an interesting interview with Henry Rollins and here is the part where he mentions about the murder of his best friend Joe Cole (as seen on UM):

In December of 1991, Rollins witnessed the murder of his best friend, Joe Cole. The violence and anger which typify Rollins' lyrics had finally caught up with him.

He and Cole were headed home from a grocery store in Venice, California when they were held up by two armed men. After taking their money, the thieves forced Rollins to unlock the door to his house. As Henry finally reached the main hallway, Joe turned around and attempted to flee. Cole was shot in the face and Rollins escaped through a back entrance of the house. Images of the evening still haunt him.

"Sometimes when I catch myself having a really good time, or enjoying something," Rollins explains to art+performance, "I have a tendency to check myself and say, 'Should I really be grinning this much?'

"I'm not really all that experienced with death," says Rollins. "I wasn't in Vietnam. I know people who had everyone blown up next to them. I know people who killed more people than they can remember. I'm not bragging -- I'm saying I know people who REALLY know about death.

"I don't. I mean, I've only had ONE guy die next to me."


For several fateful moments, Rollins honestly thought he would never leave his house alive.

"It was strange -- being walked into your house at gunpoint -- because it wasn't like I didn't wonder if I was going to die. I knew I was going to be executed. I was terrified. But, in that time, there was something that was pretty unterrifying about it. It was very ultimate. . . If I said, 'Come on, man,' he'd say, 'Yeah, right. BANG ! ! !' I had a gun to my back and my hands up, and I went along. I didn't hope for the best. I couldn't hope."

After escaping and phoning the police, Rollins became the prime suspect in Joe Cole's murder. "I was arrested and held for ten hours, and since then they've been interrogating me as to how much cocaine we were moving out of the house. They're dealing with someone who's never even tried cocaine, never even really seen cocaine. So for me, trying to legitimize myself to this PIG, who's going, 'Come on, Henry, we're not trying to bust you. Just tell the truth. Are we talkin' kilos or what?' The guys don't get it. The strongest thing that came into our house was Tylenol and coffee. I'm totally a lightweight on that level."

Five months later, Rollins is unable to find any meaning in Joe's death. "You kill someone, they're dead. You step on a bug, you kill it, it's dead. That's it. You rot, make good soil for someone's tomato garden, and that's it.

"I don't believe in karma, I don't believe in any of that, because my friend died for nothing. I can't find a single reason why he died, except that someone shot him, and that's it. I mean, he came home from the store -- that's what he did. That's what we're guilty of -- coming back from the grocery store. That's what he did to die."

Rollins is still surprised by the unusual location of the murder. "Venice is like one big small neighborhood," Rollins explains. "No one ever talks to each other but everyone knows who everyone is.

"There is an unwritten law in Venice. I lived on Brooks avenue, which bisects 5th and a big part of the middle of Venice called Ghost Town -- it's like Venice Shoreline Cryps. Crack, guns, dead bodies, helicopters, high-speed chases, but, if you're on the other side of 5th, you're not in Ghost Town. If you're not past 5th, you're not looking to buy drugs. They know that. And if you're in their neighborhood, you're in their neighborhood. . . It's really cool, because, if you want trouble, like you really ever would, but if you did, all you'd have to do is take ten steps over 5th, and all these black guys would be looking at you saying, 'Are you crazy??? Don't you know this is Ghost Town? Go ten steps back, or I'm gonna have to shoot you.'

"Me and Joe used to take our bikes and go through Ghost Town to go to the beach and work out on the chin-up bars. We used to call it Running the Gauntlet. You get all the speed you can for the two blocks before 5th, so by the time you get to Ghost Town, you're like hurling down, and there are guys trying to get in front of you to slow you down going 'Hey dude! Hey dude! Come here.' Yeah right. But the drag is, one night, Ghost Town came to visit. The guy who wasted Joe probably lived five blocks from my house.

"I basically lived in a hip ghetto. You go two blocks and to the left, and your in Baby Beirut. Back up, go two blocks and to the right, and you're at Dennis Hopper's house. Two blocks past that, and you're bumping your nose into Arnold Schwarzenegger's parking space at World Gym. Literally, Ghost Town ends at the end of Schwarzenegger's Jeep. Go two blocks from the Jeep, and I don't think even old Arnold would want to deal with that. They'd be like, 'Oh, yeah. Terminator, right??? BOOM!!!'"

"I moved the next day, because I didn't want them coming back and finishing me. I live in Hollywood now."
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Old 03-05-2006, 10:10 AM   #2
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Every time the Joe Cole Murder segment came up on Unsolved, I always expected to see an update. It seemed so obvious that it had to be someone in the neighborhood- someone must have seen something.

I like Rollins a great deal - he's a powerful speaker and uses the death of his close friend to speak to young crowds about the finality of suicide and drug use. I'm not sure if he comes off this way on Unsolved - he is permanently freaked out by Joe's death.
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Old 03-06-2006, 01:04 PM   #3
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I don't blame him for being freaked out by Joe's death. It could have just as easily been him.
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Old 03-23-2006, 03:01 PM   #4
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I am a huge fan of Henry Rollins. I go see his spoken word events and buy all of his books. In each and every one of his books there is always a dedication to Joe Cole in it. I wish this case would get solved, but fifteen years after the fact the chances are slim and none. However, if it was just a couple of Venice gangbangers like Henry said, they're probably dead by now anyway.
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Old 06-10-2009, 04:03 AM   #5
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Ghost town ,venice shorline gangster crips ,oakwood section of venice,Police know more or less who the jerks were...
Some lame gangbanger crack fiendprobably serving 18 with Life now or pushing up dasies
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