This AIDS shit is so much shit, damn fucking shit, God, I'm sorry I didn't buy that airline ticket on time, or Drew didn't come to England like he wanted to, because he was broke or scared, or we thought that life would last forever.
This is the next day, 17th February 1999...
I can't hear those spiky, stuttering notes of Red hot chili peppers ' Under the bridge' without thinking of Drew and his obsessive twelve hour binge of playing that song when Randy left him. 'Under the bridge is where I Drew some Blood'... So many memory prompts, like shards of black glass... sobbing, spinning out into an uncertain void of loneliness...
There was a time when it was painful to listen to Drews' self loathing, almost a living Van Gogh type nightmare... like lust for life... Drew hacked pieces off his soul and showed them to the World to see in the palm of his hand, he then asked people's opinion.
Drew to me, was Drewboy, to Regi, he was Honeybean... to the World, he was friend. He and Donnie Rose would wank together just like the kids in Hollywood high did back then. Oh Hell... I just remembered... In 1995, Drew found two feathers in a stairwell downtown. He swore they were representatives of Kurt Cobain's spirit. Drew often had strange ideas based on the personal loss he felt for people he had never met like Kurt, and Princess Diana. Drew empathised with the whole World of peoples' suffering... He was hot feverish and emotional about Diana, and called me hours after the tragedy... He swore at the boys at McDonalds when they laughed at his headrag and emaciated face. 'Who the fuck do you think you are you pricks?... I know Courtney love Cobain , and I amDrew Blood.. Who the fuck are you?'
Drew had style. He had inestimable courage. His life was a state of modern war. Warbaby. Drewbaby. Trauma. He oozed weakness, but he was the strongest person I have ever known. Every letdown, every disappointment, every infection, a virus to make the soul stronger, while his body slowly died. I wish the fortune teller was right when she said you would see the year 2000. You didn't, I wish, I Wish.
At the Circle Jerks show Drew was backstage and needed a piss really bad, his HIV had made him less continent than the average 35 year old, so he took a piss in a flight case only to realise that it contained ten thousand dollars worth of video equipment for a movie that was being made there... Oops.. that was Drew. He lived it... He was punk. Drew, Regi, and me would be referred to as Rosemary's triplets by Regi. Baby messy is Regi's creation, and at the end Drew became Baby messy, he was having to wipe his ass with a rag because ha couldn't get out of bed anymore. Mrs Bailey took charge, she fed him soup, cleaned him up and booked him into the hospice. She was wonderful and I love her forever for her kindness.
I've known kids who died from drugs, suicide, accidental deaths, and been brutally murdered, but Drew, you hurt me, or rather your pointless, avoidable death hurt so much. Your death is worse than any and all of them because we had a vibe going. 'We are one' as that old Offspring pre chart topper song went... I hear that and I'm back again. Back when things were young. You were alive and still enjoying much of life.
Every New Years' Day, Drew would hike up one of the mountains at San Bernadino. Every day was New Years' Day to Drew though.
The soundtrack to Drews' life is a history of Southern California. The beat of traffic on sun baked asphalt. Santa Anna blowing palm leaves into untidy yards. Drew's California. My long goodbye to him is a goodbye to the geography ofthe land that gave him life. He was a valley boy I guess, and a former surfer. He often fantasized about what California must have been like in the beginning, before the Conquistadores and Europeans, and would send me tinted postcards of a bygone land. He had a sense of history, of his place in the wheel of life as an 'Old Soul', and believed it too.
As a child he was different. He made tinfoil people to play with, and dolls. He was special, but not disabled. Perhaps emotionally, by a cruel macho society. He was ultimately vulnerable. The eternal child - man.
As an adolescent he smoked dope, drank malt liquoir and panhandled in front of liquor stores. So the next time you see teens scraping for change for booze, think of Drews' spirit watching over them. He is there somewhere. He was a culture vulture. A collector of cultural debris. He inspired me. I wrote poetry for the first time. My awkward lyrics became something new and personally revealing. That was thanks to Drew. Being Drew's friend made it effortless. The Grey Spikes killed the blue horse. When Randy left that first time, Drew had a big fistfight with him. Blood flowed, Drew broke a finger. Drew rode his bike down to where Randy worked and left a suicide note. He pedalled home in a frenzy. He hung himself from the skylight frame. The rope snapped, he blacked out and came to the next morning. Alive, sore, and pissed off to still be living. At the end of the week he tried again. He took a bellyfull of pills and put his head in the gas oven. Darryl, his neighbour called round, smelled gas and hauled a barely conscious Drew Bailey out onto the lawn. Missed again. In the meantime Drew sent suicide letters to a number of people, me Regi, and others. We thought he was dead, the tributes were written. Like I said before, out of tragedy, tragi-comedy.
Drew was with me for every red letter day of my life these I last few years. When we were married he was there. Drew was due to come over and visit in the fall of '94, but passport trouble and travel fears got the better of him. Another regret for both of us of course. Liz and I dined out on the day he was due to arrive, we had cajun, margaritas, and cheap beer. Drew was then due over in the spring of '97, but we were going to have our first baby and he was always too considerate, even though he knew it was his last chance. Another pointless regret. God is catharsis central or a tribute? Is it good enough for you Drew? I was going to talk about Patti Smith, PUNK, poetry, AIDS, World events in a Drew Blood context, but like Regi , this is probably going to be just another regretful rant. Regi's way of coping is to look at your metaphysical being, your logos, and he impresses me with his beliefs in the eternal nature of your soul. i am a Godless Comie who still loved you I and I don't know if believe in God. You know I love your wherever you are now. I can't believe in re-incanation like Liz does. I just know you are with me in my skin. As long as I live you will live on with me in good memories, and your work will live on for purely selfish reasons I guess. When I sent you that parcel for Xmas '95, with those priceless 7" singles, clay pipes, cake decorations, t shirts, jewellery, New York Dolls badge once owned by Johnny Blitz of the Dead Boys, you were so stoked you didn't come down till the New Year. I wished I could send some sunshine every year, but I figured we had a lifetime. I was wrong. Regret again.
This morning Regi wrote me to tell me that the famous Donnie Rose died. Darby's boyfriend, and your life long buddy. Another waste. Another cast member. Did I love you Drew? Yes of course, regret is the nagging doubt that lives at the back ofyour rational mind. Did I use you? Yes, I did. But I did love you didn't I? Why the hell can't I make the break? There will never be another you, that's probably why.
You were more noble than all that superficial shit. Clinton, Iraq, Diana, money, venereal disease, you are no be away from the hurt. This horrible, hatefull World is a dream you dreamt in another dream that was your life withl good sex thrown in. Teg of bundle of sticks fanzine called you 'Dude brother, the nicest person anyone could meet.' That's obvious.
You picked up friends wherever you went, and your friends became friends with each other, because of a I shared love for you. You weren't perfect, but you were real. This society offed you with its indifference to your disease.
A week ago, my mum came round and saw your picture on my mantel. 'Some fairy friend of yours I suppose' was her assumption. She was right of course, but being right didn't make her correct. The you and your kind syndrome lives. It's true. It's never been o.k. to be a queer. It makes me want to die that the woman that gave birth to me can be so incapable of basic human love, and that tragedy is repeated everyday. People hate you Drew. Even in death they can't leave you to be you. The people that read these words will not be buying this off newstands with all their other lies, but be the traders and publishers of queer zines, or the curious. This is preaching to the converted in a place that you would have loved to be remembered by those that cared and still care about you. PINK , PUNK, and PROUD, Drew Blood LIVES! Because society needs an injection of reality up the arse, a bad dream to wake it up screaming. When you died I wished the whole World would die ofa progressively worsening fatal disease with no visible cure. And YOU MUM. God, how I hate you all. Everytime I see a senior citizen I get this imp at the back ofmy mind saying 'How dare you live to 87 when Drew died at 39?' Is that an unfair thought? Maybe. I will never be able to listen to the GERMS without your long shadow threatening to engulf it all in one enormous: 'shutdown.' 'You were the first, you were the last.' Is this bitter? Yes. Because Drew was bitter in life, or at least rightfully angry. Silence = Death, but it' s a death filled with pride. Drew's words do live on, but we I have to make the great big noise now. Feel the hate, burn I baby burrn. I would love the masters of World War Three to fall into the sea from their ivory towers, their bodies putrefying with AIDS so they can understand... Untold millions dead of AIDS in S.E. Asia, Africa, and the first World. Had enough!? Damn this World and everyone in it. Drew Blood is dead. I knew him well.
Al Slammer, England, feb 22nd 1999.