James was a wonderful friend to me when I was a very screwed up kid. He taught me the wonders of strange horror movies. There were many, many great conversations about movies, music, art. We bonded over Trent Reznor and Tori Amos. (I think we always wanted them to have a love affair together so they could make incredible music…) James could be very funny, and laughed me out of many states of confusion. I will always remember him that way. I know wherever he is, it’s a much more interesting place now with him in it. He was by far the most creative, unique, and brilliant person I ever had the pleasure of knowing. He is very missed. I wish I had told him how much he influenced me…and how much he helped me.
Words can not describe how heartbroken and devastated we are by the sudden and unexpected loss of our friend James Izzo. James recorded primarily as Thread, with remixes of Coil gracing the first Brainwashed Recordings release. Additionally, Izzo recorded, performed, and remixed under his own name and as The Boy Without Hands, and collaborated with Jarboe and Neotropic.
James passed away in his sleep at home, Thursday, September 1st.
You will be missed.
(from: Star-Ledger Obituaries, September 11th, 2011)
James-Michael Izzo, 34, passed away on Aug. 31, 2011. A memorial service for James will be held on Sept. 17 at 10 a.m. in St. Jude’s Church, 40 Maxim Dr., Hopatcong, N.J. James attended Hopatcong High School, where he played trombone in the school band. He received a telecommunications degree from County College of Morris. He was a musician and composer signed to the indie label Middle Pillar with his band, Thread. He performed in venues in New York, Greenwich Village, Philadelphia and Newark. His first CD received rave reviews from Spin Magazine and he is credited for creating a new music genre called Dark Wave. He composed, engineered, and recorded lyrics and music for the Diva Jarboe of the Swans. He earned his black belt in Ishin Rhu Karate, participating for 10 years in the program. Memorial donations may be made to the Hopatcong High School music department.
My friend, James Izzo, took a nap yesterday from which he did not wake up. I met James at Hopatcong Middle School where we bonded early on via our love of computers. James was one of the few people I knew who also had an Amiga, and we would share software and knowledge regularly. As we grew into young adults and started discovering film and music, our friendship grew stronger.
James and I (along with other friends, of course) exhausted the local video store’s supply of horror films. Once we ran out of those we moved on to more “indie” and “foreign” films. If it wasn’t for my friendship with James there would have been no Fucked Up Movie Night. If it wasn’t for my friendship with James I don’t think I would have become involved with the Sunday Night Film Club. If it wasn’t for my friendship with James I doubt my interest in independent cinema would have been piqued enough to go full-degen at the Independent Film Festival of Boston every year.
James became an electronic musician, starting the band Thread as well as side projects such as The Boy Without Hands. He worked with musicians such as Neotropic and Jarboe. But before all of that James and I discovered electronic music together. My love for artists (electronic and otherwise) such as The Magnetic Fields, Coil, Skinny Puppy, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Aphex Twin, Autechre and Squarepusher were all kindled in one way or another in his basement in Hopatcong. Some of those artists I discovered, some he discovered, but we were always very excited to share a ‘new find’ with each other.
Over the past decade I had grown distant from James for a number of reasons. We remained in contact, but it became much more infrequent. The impact of our friendship on my life, however, is immeasurable. I learned to think critically about film and music through discussing it with James. I learned to explore new artists with James. I learned to dig deeper with James. My world just got a little smaller…