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Joe Cole

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Joe Cole
Born(1961-04-10)April 10, 1961
California, United States
💀DiedDecember 19, 1991(1991-12-19) (aged 30)
Venice Beach, California, United StatesDecember 19, 1991(1991-12-19) (aged 30)
💼 Occupation
Roadie, author, writer, actor
👴 👵 Parent(s)Dennis Cole
Sally Bergeron

Joseph Dennis "Joe" Cole (April 10, 1961 – December 19, 1991) was an American author, writer, actor and roadie for Black Flag and Rollins Band.[1] Cole's father was 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. He is noted for his friendship with singer Henry Rollins.


Cole and Rollins were assaulted by armed robbers in December 1991 outside their shared Venice Beach, California, home on Brooks Avenue in the Oakwood district. 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.[3][4] 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."[3] He is remembered in the Sonic Youth songs "JC" and "100%" on their album Dirty.[5]

A book of Cole's collected writings, primarily tour journals, was published posthumously and titled Planet Joe.[6] It describes his time touring in the 1980s, in particular with Black Flag.[7][8]

Henry Rollins included Cole's story in his spoken word performances.[9]


  • Planet Joe (1997 2.13.61) ISBN 9781880985090


  1. Rollins, Henry (April 11, 2013). "Henry Rollins: Joe Cole and American Gun Violence". LA Weekly. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
  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.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Cromelin, Richard (April 2, 1992). "Singer-Poet Henry Rollins Fuels His Art With Rage". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
  4. Baker, Trevor (February 2, 2008). "Still rockin' and Rollins". The Guardian. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
  5. Gordon, Kim (2015). Girl in a Band. Faber & Faber. Search this book on
  6. "Planet Joe". Goodreads.
  7. O'Connor, Alan. Punk Record Labels and the Struggle for Autonomy: The Emergence of DIY. p. 32. Search this book on
  8. Ebersole, Stewart Dean. Barred for Life. More than one of |author1= and |last1= specified (help) Search this book on
  9. Bromley, Patrick (May 6, 2004). "Henry Rollins: Live At Luna Park". DVD Verdict.

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