Murder of Joe Cole

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Joe Cole
Born Joseph Dennis Cole
(1961-04-10)April 10, 1961
California, United States
Died December 19, 1991(1991-12-19) (aged 30)
Venice Beach, California, United States
Occupation Writer, author, actor, roadie
Parent(s) Dennis Cole
Sally Bergeron

Joe Cole, an American roadie for Black Flag and Rollins Band, was shot and killed in an armed robbery on December 19, 1991.[1]


Joseph Dennis "Joe" Cole (April 19, 1961 – December 19, 1991) was the son of actor Dennis Cole by his first wife, Sally Bergeron.[2] Cole also worked as a roadie for Hole, filming the group's 1991 tour performances, and appeared in several films including Raymond Pettibon's The Book of Manson, where he also has a cinematography credit.

Incident and aftermath

Cole and Henry Rollins were assaulted by armed robbers in December 1991 outside their shared Venice Beach, California, home on Brooks Avenue in the Oakwood district.[3] They had attended a Hole concert at the Whisky a Go Go and were returning home after having stopped at an all-night grocery store when two armed men – described as African-Americans in their 20s – approached them demanding money. Angry that Rollins and Cole had only $50 between them, the gunmen ordered the two men to go inside their house for more cash. Rollins entered at gunpoint. However, Cole was killed outside after being shot in the face at close range while Rollins escaped out the back door and alerted the police.[4][5] The murder remains unsolved.[2]

In a 1992 Los Angeles Times interview, Rollins revealed he kept a plastic container full of soil soaked with Cole's blood. Rollins said, "I dug up all the earth where his head fell – he was shot in the face – and I've got all the dirt here, and so Joe Cole's in the house. I say good morning to him every day. I got his phone, too, so I got a direct line to him. So that feels good."[4] He is remembered in the Sonic Youth songs "JC" and "100%" on their album Dirty.[6][7]

A book of Cole's collected writings, primarily tour journals, was published posthumously by Henry Rollins's publishing company and titled Planet Joe.[8] It describes his time touring in the 1980s, in particular with Black Flag.[9][10] Henry Rollins included Cole's story in his spoken word performances.[11] Cole also appeared in Raves – God's Movie, Volume 1 starring Joe Cole. According to Rolling Stone magazine, after Cole's death, hundreds of hours of interviews Cole had taped with "flamboyant street characters" in Venice Beach were edited into an hour of "primo footage" that the magazine described as "an unflinching look at the American dream gone amok."[12]

See also


  1. Rollins, Henry (April 11, 2013). "Henry Rollins: Joe Cole and American Gun Violence". LA Weekly. Retrieved August 26, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Hevesi, Dennis (November 23, 2009). "Dennis Cole, 'Felony Squad' Actor, Is Dead at 69". The New York Times. Retrieved August 26, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Punk Rock Band's Road Crew Member Slain". Los Angeles Times. December 20, 1991. Retrieved June 18, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 Cromelin, Richard (April 2, 1992). "Singer-Poet Henry Rollins Fuels His Art With Rage". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 26, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Baker, Trevor (February 2, 2008). "Still rockin' and Rollins". The Guardian. Retrieved August 26, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Gordon, Kim (2015). Girl in a Band. Faber & Faber.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Valania, Jonathan (October 18, 1992). "Dirty Deed Led to New Boom for Sonic Youth". The Morning Call. |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Planet Joe". Goodreads.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. O'Connor, Alan. Punk Record Labels and the Struggle for Autonomy: The Emergence of DIY. p. 32.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Ebersole, Stewart Dean; Jared Castaldi. Barred for Life.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Bromley, Patrick (May 6, 2004). "Henry Rollins: Live At Luna Park". DVD Verdict.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Neely, Kim (October 14, 1993). "Raves – God's Movie, Volume 1 starring Joe Cole". Rolling Stone. |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>