Last week got off to a terrible start because a book project I was involved in, which already had plenty of ups & downs before it was released digitally, was taken down & apparently away from its original editors. I wasn’t and still am not sure where it’s going to end up or how, or who is organizing the efforts to return it as is.
And then I got home and was scrolling through the social media feed and, probably like a lot of people found out that way, saw that Reed Mullin of Corrosion Of Conformity passed away. Everything got a billion times worse.
When I met him in 2010, after he rejoined the band after being out of it for 10 years, he gave me his phone # and address and told me to visit. That’s like if you met one of the Beatles at the height of Beatlemania and they were like “oh come by and help me remove the weeds in my garden.” I don’t know – I had been in contact with them (the band) for some time, they were very patient with such a nerdy fan for such a long time. He called, we joked, we hung out when he’d pass through if he had the time, we texted. There’s like 9 years of this I don’t want to start having to type up to give you the gist of our correspondence and friendship.
He once left a message for me, thick accent, prank call. Used his last name.
I got some inside baseball here and there and heard about a few plans independent of the band (especially after some of his health issues kept him from participating), this probably matched his health decline. The band kept the door open for him in the last year but were pretty blunt that he had to clean up his act as Reed recovered from surgeries in what I’m guessing is extra-pharmaceutical ways. Reed had been out of the touring pictures for well over a year before he died. I still heard from him but sporadically, and couldn’t tell where he was or what exactly he was dealing with, relationship and family wise. Texts ended with “lurve you brother.” He seemed so positive regardless and unless you were in the local loop you had no idea how close to death he had come.
I had met a lot of people through liking and knowing the band. I did not know him or the band during the “crossover” period where COC created a genre of rock while establishing a rock, punk, and metal scene in the Raleigh “triangle” area, as well as that south eastern part of America. But it was mighty, and he used his connections and resources to build up everyone in that scene. Brian Walsby (who drew something for the RwC Kickstarter) wrote up a great history of that scene’s era completely with comic strips, and COC takes up a huge part of it. I strongly urger you to check it out!
I wore out copies of Blind, Deliverance, and Wiseblood, bought everything religiously, an entire drawer of COC spike skull t-shirts, sought out singles and a few collectibles. Tape traded with other fans. Hosted as much information on a website with people sending me guitar tabs and the band sending me tour dates, before people could go on a smart phone and upload an entire show and media presentation with links to purchase tickets by themselves before lunch. I’m grateful for some of my all time favorite music, the many friendships I made over the love of that music, and especially for the time that the members had given me over the years. Reed was such a great guy, and I am devastated that this is how his life was cut short. I will miss him greatly. I lurve you too, you goofball.