First off, mad respect. That's the reason I've kept my big mouth shut. But you know that already.
At the risk of getting morbid, I have had to write a couple obituary articles in the past couple years, and the idea that those people, those friends, may have not realized how much they impacted my life, how much they meant to me... well, not gonna happen with you, my brother.
I'm not writing an obituary, either. I'm writing a letter, on stage. MY stage, Joey. The one I know you have always appreciated and respected.
And it is from my heart.
Dude, I get it.
Not too many people have probably said that, especially the ones who truly love you. They honestly don't understand, and guess what? They're not supposed to. The things in you, the qualities you possess, the talent, the charm, the insight, the showmanship-- all of it-- double edged sword only you can wield.
And you're the only human on the planet who truly knows you. No one; not your mother, your brother, your best friends and lovers, will ever know you as you do.
Because you are an exceptional human being possessing exceptional depth of character, you are very much more aware of this, and therein lies the horrifying reality of seeing the truth for a man who has always seen it, and used that insight to bring joy to others.
Dude, as much as you and I love the spotlight, etc., (we've talked about this) it is the ability to connect with people and make them feel better that truly drives us.
My brother, the truth is, we cannot define ourselves by what we were, because it keeps us from being what we are, and we we can be.
You know I am not talking out my ass. You know the things I went through, both self-inflicted and the result of, 'the world can be cruel'. I call it my "Apocalypse Now Phase".
This is public because, my friend, you are a fucking public figure.
You are a celebrity in Pittsburgh's music scene. You are a talent and force to be reckoned with. You don't get to turn that off when you want. Had you achieved the super stardom that, yes, I truly do believe you possess, despite, 'the breaks', you would be tabloid fodder.
This is not tabloid fodder. This is me saying I love you man, and I don't want to write your fucking obituary. Ever.
And Joey, I get it. I really fucking get it.
This is your brother talking-- almost 3 decades of my fucking life talking-- I get it. Now it's time to come back. You went there brother. You are that brave. Now come back. No easy road, either. I would never lie to you. You know that.
It's time to come back, bro. We're all here waiting for you. We may not all completely understand, but we want you back. That's it. We need you.
You won't answer calls, you won't let me visit. You made me do this. I love you and I will not stand by and say nothing any longer. You wanna be a fucking star with me, here we are bro. You and me, standing naked in the spotlight together.
Let's wave our dicks.
I love you, and so do a lot of other people. Deal with it.