On Monday, July 15th, 1996, the VINDICTIVES officially disbanded due to my inability to recover from a numerber of symptoms and illnesses that have occurred over the past 2 1/2 years. This decision was very difficult to come to since I genuinely loved what we did; however it was by this same token that I had let it go. I didn’t vent to force out something that wasn’t coming natural and destroy the sincerity of our already existing body of work. We had a few albums’ worth of new material already written and the band (minus me) practiced 4 times per week, religiously. Fans continue to write shitloads of fan mail LOOKOUT!! continued to have faith in us never poking, prodding or pressuring us to “deliver some more product to market”, respect by all involved remained and never waivered, hand-decorated get-well notes little toys, baubles, zines & music have been consistent and gratefully received, and there were even offers by promoter. to arrange benefit shows to help cover medical expenses (none were accepted). It was all of that led to this decision. Try to imagine how many “expectations to perform” types of stress that could burden someone who can simply not deliver. Worse then that, I couldn’t even give a rough estimate of when I would be active again, or if. The band had been in a coma for a long, long time and someone had to pull the plug. So, instead of continuing to string everyone along and obsess about the situation, I simply stepped out of the picture. I have conceled all of my upcoming production sessions ( in moat cases, bands that I was really looking forward to working with). Johnny Personality and Jenny Gee are continuing VML Records on their own, (to be honest they have been carrying the majority of the weight for quite some time now, anyway), and I’ve demoted myself to occasional record stuffing and bullshitting with members of other bands. Jenny is now solely in charge of “the store” DUMMYROOM. She has hired some help and is doing fair for a little punk rock mom 4 pop shop going on its third year anniversary And as of this writing, I have no idea where the FLIM-FLAMS are gonna go, but wherever it is, I won’t be tagging along, unfortunately This move slowly and reluctantly came about only after a number of trusted friends and professionals insisted persistantly that I uncumbered myself of all responsibility except for focusing on the single goal of following through with all of my treatment modalities and devoting all of my energy towards a complete recovery, which has now become my agenda. In order to clear up some misconceptions and confusion as to just what the hell is going on with me, I’ll first say that these rumors are wildly untrue. I do not have cancer AIDS nor am I recovering from overdose and withdrawal of heroin, (though I am entertaining the option of taking it up as a hobby).
Now come a confused mess. I’ll try to be brief) of what really has been going on with me health-wise. In no particular order. For (15) years I have suffered from panic disorder and (on-and-off) agoraphobia. This led to a physical and mental addiction to the pharmaceutical drug XANAX. I’ve attempted to wean off this med(since it doesn’t cure, but only makes you feel sort of dull and foggy), but I’ve only managed to get down to half of my original dosage since this shit is extremely addictive and the withdrawal is hellish. I have a clinical, Depressive illness for which I was hospitalized. This is not to be confused with feeling bummed-out or having the blues, this the blacks. This is sitting on the floor in the pitchdark of your bedroom at 4 a.m. with a cocked and loaded .357 magnum stuffed in your mouth just in case the pain continues to increase. They really do treat you like the patients in the film One flew over the Cuckoos Nest. For this nasty little malady I was unsuccessfully treated with just about every family of anti-depressant drugs, whenthey finally prescribed the big daddy of ’em all PROZAC. My adventures on PROZAC include a much deeper dispair than even I ever thought possible: the desire to killjust about everyone, a weight gain of over 100 pounds in less than (6) months, bi-lateral gynecomastia with fybercystic lumps or “tits with tiny tumors” and finally, intermittent narcoleptic seizures, (falling asleep suddenly and uncontrollably). Well, this happened to me on several occasions most of them kinda funny. eg: Jenny and I were at a movie theatre when I fell asleep in the middle of the picture and began to snore very, very loudly. The audience vas laughing so hard they nearly placed themselves (according to a mortified Jenny). But one time something happened that wasn’t so funny, check this out. I was booking shows at a club right next door to DUMMYROOM, (quite successfully for a while until this happened). I don’t remember who was playing that night, but I was driving there when I had an I.N.S. According to witnesses I was really flying, so I guess while I was sawing logs I was simultaneously putting the proverbial “pedal to the medal”, due to the limp leg connected to my far overweight gerth. Going westbound on Grand Avenue right after Harlem, roughly (2) blocks down there is a really wide curve, which didn’t concern me at all since I probably had already reached REM sleep. This curve is so wide that were you to drive completely straight, which I was, it almost becomes a North-South street of parked vehicles. I don’t remeber too much after the collision with the speudo-mobster guys’ 2-day old white Lincoln Continenal Town Car except opening up my glass-filled eyes, I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt, so my face sort of went through the windshield) and catching a glimpse of myself in the rearview mirror and thinking I look Carrie out of the movie Carrie after the jock/preppies dump the bucket of pig blood over her head during the prom. Since then I’ve lost my fear of death, thanks to the amount of endorphins that were probably rippling through my body at the time. I ended up with 12) head gashes, a broken nose, chipped teeth, bowed spine and neck, broken ribs, and bruised, swollen brain from when the soft little bit a grey matter smashed against the inners of my cranium. It took over (6) hours to remove all the glass from my face and eyes. I spent the next (8) weeks in a bed gobbling pain killers and having hallucinogenic migraines, waiting for the swelling to go down.
During this time I developed severe esophogitis which means that my stomach acids were literally eating away my throat and vocal chards, from nerves and lying prostrate for such a long period of time. This is the last thing a singer wants to happen. It did. Shortly after that, not used to maneuvering my newly unwelcome 260 pound body, I broke my foot, ankle and another rib on the ice, so it was crutches and back in bed for me. How many people know what chronic atypical insomnia is? Well, you guessed. I got it, too. For the ininitiated I’ll try to describe it. Imagine a drag race, (packed stands, screaming audience and all) going on 24-hours-a-day somewhere in your head, ever since you can remember. Mild at first with long periods of complete remission but now worse then ever and continuously exacerbating in severity. Soon I will be admitted into the hospital for a Sleep Disorder Study. Over the past 2-3 years, if I sleep (10) hours weekly, it is a good week. Lately, it’s not even that. Sleep deprivation to this degree is very serious and sometimes fatal. Talk about walking around in a daze, huh? Anyway, I am going through with it even though it seems futile. My psychiatrist says “this test will determine exactly which type o-sleep dysfunction you are suffering from so we can prescribe appropriate treatment for your illness”. Translated that mean, if you grin and bear it, they will prescribe some more pharmaceuticals, (that I can’t afford), (even though this is the same son of a bitch who has repeatedly told me that I cannot take sleeping pills along with the present medications), that might let me sleep. Go figure. And now for the grand finale, all during and a little bit before this period of decline began I continued to develop repeated bronchial infection; This turned into double-pneumonia ( 3 \ times and single lung pneumonia twice. When you have this, you also have a persistent barking, wheezing, hacking cough to accompany it, (sorta sounds like the aftermath of a coal miner who smoked (S) packs of unfiltered Camels very day for many years). It feels like your lungs re on fire. Also, as you can probably figure out, this wreaks quite a bit of havoc on pipes as well. Like I said before, not a good thing to happen to a singer Well, as you have probably figured out by now, this is not nearly the end but merely the beginning.
By now I was able to tell when another bronchitis, pneumonia, whatever, was about tocome on. I figured I’d head it off at the pass. so I went to a “specialist”. He discovered that I had a bacterial infection in my blodd that originates form a solid bacterial mass located in my completely consumed rear phenoid sinus. This is located about a 1/4 inch from the brains’ frontal lobe, separated only by an extremely thin, porous, fleshy piece of epidermal tissue. I was told that given no treatment, the sinus would eventually burst and enter the brain through the fragile little wall separator. I was given two option: 1) gobble several types of antibiotics for 10 weeks and undergo a surgical procedure that entailed drilling – hole up through my palate and moving the mass, or 2) gobbling several types of antibiotic for (10) weeks and having a piline (thin, long plastic tube) inserted into my artery (via my arm) that would lead to the inside of my heart and stay there for B-10 weeks so I could wake up at 6 am every morning, drive down to the hospital (courtesy of Jenny) and receive an IV infusion of Cleocin and Rocephine (big artillery used to combat AIDS, cancer, etc.) clocking in at around (2) hours with blood thinner injection and redressing the incision in my arm from which emrged the little reservoir used to shoot me up daily. Then, returning to 10 more weeks of oral meds again to “make sure everything was all cleared up”, Well, Ichose the latter obviously since the idea of having a drill boring a hole through the roof of my mouth was less then appealing. During the insertion procedure the fuck-ups accidentally scraped the inside of my heart, causing it to go into arrythmia. It was like a bad t.v. show with the doctors yelling at me “C’mon Joe, stay with us!” “calm down” and “relax!” while the nurse inches from my face smacking me and authoritatively ordering me to concentrate on her eyes. Luckily, she wasn’t hard to look at or had bad breath. I can’t really remember much after that. Now that the entire procedure is over I’m worse off in way because even though the bacterial infection was killed, the meds I took to kill it unfortunately wiped out the good bacterial and fungi that help to make up the immune system. So for the next (9) months I’ve been mostly bed-ridden, getting out only occasionally since it takes such great effort to put on a happy face, walk down the stairs and climb into the van. I’m lucky if I can attend shows, never mind perform in one. If you use your imagination you can probably come up with endless configurations of how all of this shit weaves together creating newer and more complicated problems that continue to make things worse and prevent recovery. And that’s why Joey quit the VINDICTIVES. so now when someone comes up to you and tells you the one about how I won the lotto and flipped out from blowing all of my riches on hookers and mainlining coke, you’ll know better. This is the story straight form the horses’ mouth. The only reason I even bothered to go into so much detail is because 1 ) I’m sick of answering the same questions over again and again. 2 ) Discourage stupid rumors and 3) since so many people showed their concern towards the band and my health I felt I owed some sort of an explanation. After all, if we had no fans we’d have no band. So, we died young (6 1i2 years) and left a pretty good-looking corpse. I feel o.k. about that. We anted to do so much more but it just wasn’t in the picture. Now there’s nothing left to do except roll with the punches. The other VINDICTVES will probably be popping up in new bands and I wish them all of the fun and success in the world. we’ve all remained friends and thats an oddity when it comes to bands breaking up.
As for me, I’m concentrating on my health and learning to play guitar left-handed, (since that’s my dominant hand), after playing right-handed for 12) years. I hope to be able to form another band when I get well. I’m not sure what genre it will fall into since I like so many type, of music. So if you were a big fan of the VINDICTIVES, don’t make a hasty purchase just cause it has my name on it, it may be something o far removed for the VINDICTIVES that you’ll consider it garbage. so don’t say I didn’t warn you in advance. As of a few weeks ago I’ve pretty much abandoned all of my contemporary hippocrates oriented doctors and have been recieving treatments based on the philosophy of holism. Acupuncture, herbology, Reikki, Maxiobustion and Qi Gung are what I am practicing now and my feelings thus far are that this is the right direction for me. I hope I’m right. Wish me a little luck. So, thanks for you support and encouragement over the years. It was fun while it lasted,