NPR logo R.I.P. Jim Carroll

R.I.P. Jim Carroll

Back in the mid-1990s, my band played for the first time at the Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle. We were playing a stage far too big for us — long and sparse, ill-lit, hollow-sounding and very much unclaimed. We tried to spread ourselves out among the blank canvas of it all, but we felt tiny, and our songs spewed forth into the ether, misshapen.

Jim Carroll was on the same bill as us. He was tall and lithe, with a ghostly, otherworldly mien. Carroll was reading poems with no back-up band, no team, no amp to crank to up to 10. But he didn't have any problems covering the stage, reaching the corners and permeating the room. Carroll died Friday at age 60, but here's a moment to remember him by: