His name is John M. Higgins. It was a sudden heart attack. He died at the hospital early this morning. He was 45 years old.
I met John in 1990 at a trade conference. We were both working; he was a trade reporter and I was working the press room. My wife introduced him as someone she thought I would like. That first conversation, he told me of his latest music purchase, a used copy of Ice Cube’s AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted. We were instant friends.
He always wore the same uniform: black Jeans, thick black shoes, white shirt, and black jacket. He did have a suit for interviews on Wall Street, but this was the standard outfit for every day of the week, every occasion. We went to Lollapalooza in 1994 and ’95 and he still wore the jeans and dress shirt, shirt sleeves rolled up in the hot sun.
His taste was harder-edged than mine, although I edged him out in eclecticism. I could never understand his distaste for the Beatles. He introduced me to a number of bands, such as Morphine and Bad Religion.
He also turned me on to two albums that both came out in 1994: Hole‘s Live Through This and Soul Coughing‘s debut Ruby Vroom. He always said that he would never want to sit next to Courtney Love on a cross-country flight, but he loved the music she made. Soul Coughing was a band he discovered through live performance, seeing them perform live in NYC a number of times before they hit it big.
He alerted me to The Aristocrats (2005) when news of its production first slipped out. We both eagerly pored through reports for a year, awaiting its appearance. He also got hold of the legendary original South Park cartoon and showed me the video. He knew every great hip restaurant in New York City. We had this great Tea-Smoked Chicken in San Francisco and he figured out how to make it himself.
One of his colleagues, Tom, is African American. Back in ’91, Naughty by Nature’s “O.P.P.” was a huge hit. John and I were at some event, worrying that we were missing some nuance of the phrase, but not wanting to be un-hip enough to admit it. So, we run into this other reporter and decided to go for it. Swallow your pride and ask the black guy. Tom laughed and gave his analysis. Months later, John and Tom were someplace else and the topic of lava lamps came up. Tom said, “What’s a lava lamp?” John was delighted to return the favor of cultural education.
I’m really going to miss him.
Hole – Doll Parts — BUY
Soul Coughing – True Dreams Of Wichita — BUY
Tags: John M. Higgins, Hole, Soul Coughing, MP3s
The Pop View Says:
John also made the occasional contribution to this blog, such as here, here and here.
Geoffrey Martin Says:
John, you will be missed. Thanks for being one of those people I actually wanted to talk to. God bless and rest in peace.
It is sad… Your friend was still very young…
Sonia Marrone Says:
Thank you so much for your kind words. I am John’s sister-in-law, and we loved him very much. He was so good to Debi, his wife. I loved the way he would look at her and hold her hand. And of course, there was always his welcoming hugs whenever we saw him.
I appreciated his humor (dry, sometimes so dry – as in “are his eyes laughing at me or is he serious?”) and his ability to make you feel comfortable with him regardless of your background. We could actually discuss just about anything, and he was always able to respectfully agree to disagree when it came to that.
Thank you, John, for allowing us the pleasure of knowing you. You are sorely missed.
John Higgins was the Lester Bangs of contemporary trade journalism. He knew his stuff, lived large and well and never compromised. I was fortunate enough to share some time with him in some of the best venues in the U.S. — Los Angeles, New Orleans, Washington, D.C. John and I were trade reporters and he made me look like a hack — an amateur. He could have worked for any major publication in the world. He was that good. One of the many regrets I have is not being able to spend more time with him and study under his tutelage (even though he was only three years older than me, he was at least 20 years ahead of me in experience). I will miss him.
I just now learned of John’s passing; it is July 10, 2007. I attended Marquette University with John, who of course was a journalism major. Reading all the tributes at the B&C blog, brought back memories of knowing him in the mid-80′s: The uniform was in place then and he was a fountain of facts, knowledge and good cheer. He was a gentleman.
After graduation, John looked me up in Chicago and invited me to attend a Chicago Tribune party of some sort. I went for the free drinks; John , I am sure was scooping and looking for contacts. In fact, the now-shamed Bob Greene was at this party. Most memorable of the evening was his car getting towed and our trip to the smelly underworld of Chicago Car Impound. $200 was an absolute TON of money to some poor just-out-of-college kids.
From all the tributes I’ve read, I regret that I did not know him past our college years, as his wisdom, tenacity and kindness and love of his craft I’m sure would have been wonderful gifts to treasure as a friend.
jackie paper Says:
red dog died a few years back. i was i amsterdam, covering some convention. he fell asleep just dint wake up. this was his song too-
Signal got lost to the satellite
Got lost in the
Rideup to the
Man sends the ray of the electric light
Sends the impulse
Through the air
Down to home
And you can stand
On the arms
Of the Williamsburg Bridge
Hey man, well this is Babylon…
—glad it means stuff to other folk too.
The Pop View » Blog Archive » Songs of Death Says:
[...] You may recall that John Higgins died suddenly last year, right before Thanksgiving. My mother-in-law passed away a couple weeks ago, after an eight-month fight with pancreatic cancer. I was up in New York for her final week. [...]
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