Joey left us twenty years ago today, and those who knew and loved him feel no less bereft now than when we did back then. He remains without any doubt the most fascinating man I ever knew. We found each other by way of Madonna--who I never even met. It's all going to be in the book, along with reminiscences from friends, lovers and co-stars.
A man like Joey comes along only once in a lifetime. This is the most painful book I've ever had to write, yet I felt that it needed to be done. It's not going to come out for the twentieth anniversary of Joey's death--this day is for him alone, for us to remember. Much has been written about Joey, about he spent his entire adult life with his finger pressed on the self-destruct button. No, he did not. He was a normal, healthy, and very funny young man who chose a different career to most of us, and who was inordinately good at it. He was not a junkie. Yes, he took drugs--most of us have at some time or other, and in this respect he was no different than any contemporary pop or rock star. He was just unlucky at the end.
Joey and I had much in common. His manager and I share the same birthday. Joey died on my father's birthday, which means that whenever 26 November comes around I think about a man who was good--not the evil monster who raised me. Joey too suffered at the hands of a nasty father--in his case, it was sexual abuse. Nicholas Iacona Sr has a great deal to answer for, and it's all here in Joey's story. The rest of his family also left much to be desired.
The one thing which staggered me about Joey was how completely down to earth he was, one of the most beautiful men in the world, yet utterly void of vanity. The picture he sent me is not of him in all his naked glory, but in the checked shirt he wore that evening we were together. And how that man could eat! God bless you, Joey. For twenty years now this world has been that much poorer without you, little buddy.