Jim Carroll at 40 Watt
Athens, GA, 12 April 1996
Shortly after 10:30 p.m. on April 12, 1996, I made my way to the 40-WattClub
near the University of Georgia campus in Athens. The point of my trip, obviously, was to
see Carroll do his thing.
This was my first time seeing Carroll, so to my dismay, I was a little late arriving.
However, it was only a few minutes, so I didn't miss much at all. I sort of went blank
when I found my place and realized just who exactly was on stage. I'd always heard how
sickly he looked, but he didn't seem all that bad to me. He was dressed simply in jeans, a
shirt, and a vest, and he looked pretty much like he did on the inside jacket of The
Book of Nods.
Upon my arrival, I found a fairly large crowd packed into the small club. There were
people relaxing in chairs, at tables, lined up against walls, andin small spaces on the
floor. They were all giving their undivided attentionto Carroll, who was on stage relaying
the saga of a pesky abscess. He followed that with parts from Fear of Dreaming and
other works. Among the things that I remembered most was "8 Fragments for Kurt
Cobain." It took me straight back to that day in April two years ago when the world
first heard the news. The crowd seemed to be totally enthralled and hanging on his
every word. After each piece, the room exploded in applause and praise.
Carroll seemed very humble while on stage. He made casual chat throughout and brought
forth laughter from the crowd as he was telling us about his computer and the pointlessness
of the game Minesweeper. He went on to fill us in on offers that he received from the Fox
Network. Carroll also spoke about his novel-in-the-making and some of his new poetry. It
was those comments that really put the icing on the performance for me.
He closed by chanting "I Want the Angel" and "Beast Within." It was
then time for him to leave, as he did not want to keep the band Smoke waiting toolong to go
on stage. He walked through the door leaving us wanting just onemore taste, and he left me
with the perfect memory of seeing him read for the first time.