Today would have been Sean Patrick McCabe’s birthday. He would have been turning 37. He died on August 28, 2000. I found an old blog post I wrote about him and thought I’d republish it for today.
I just found a wikipedia article on Ink & Dagger and realized that there really needs to be one for Sean at some point. I don’t recall the first time I met Sean Patrick McCabe in person but it was early 90’s – 93 or 94 perhaps. I’d known him for quite sometime prior to that from the #sxe IRC channel that all 14 of the straight edge kids who had internet connections at the time used to hang out on. He also wrote a lot on his university provided “homepage” which I wish I had archives of all these years later. He quickly became a very close friend of mine, probably because of our similar tendencies towards causing trouble to keep people on their toes although he was much better at it than I was.
Over the next few years we talked hundreds of times about every topic I can think of and I frequently stayed at his apartment when passing through Philly although was never able to return the favor. For a while he worked at Kinkos and a handful of the first Toybox Records releases had printing that was done with his “help.” Before I officially stopped doing Toybox there were only a few records that I had ever hopped to put that had not actually come to fruition. One of those was the Frail Album (Don later went on to Join Sean in Ink & Dagger) and the other was a CD of all the songs from Sean’s first band, Crud is a Cult. Frail never ended up recording the album, but with Crud it wasn’t even that good of an excuse. Sean and I had the whole thing planned out and it was all recorded, the problem was he couldn’t get ahold of the masters. Some were being held by ex band members, some by other labels that had planned to release them. What he had he sent me and I still have some of those songs but wish I had the others. Once I moved to Chicago we didn’t talk as much but it was for no reason other than hectic schedules which I’m finding out is a worse excuse all the time. I did see him a few times when Ink & Dagger was on tour through town but we only talked every few months, if that. A lot of the people who used to look up to him in the early 90’s turned their back on him when he started drinking (as most straight edge kids from that era did) but I never really gave a shit about that, and I think he knew that. I never bought into the “if you aren’t now you never were” bullshit that holier than thou flag wavers used to preach. Sean was my friend and that was way more important that what he did or didn’t drink. Or maybe judgement has just never been my thing.
It had probably been almost a year since I talked to him when I heard that he died a few months earlier. At first I didn’t believe it, it seemed very much like the kind of prank he would have tried to pull on everyone. I tried to contact some of our mutual friends to no avail but a few weeks worth of searching seemed to confirm it. He was found dead in a hotel room in Indiana in 2000, after choking on his own vomit or something like that. I wish I could make the Spinal Tap joke about how they couldn’t prove that it was his own vomit but the whole thing still bums me out too much. His birthday just past about a month ago, November 13th. He would have been 35 this year. For some fucked up reason a lot of people I knew died while I was in High School and College but Sean was the first one to really get to me. He was easily one of the most influential people I’ve ever known and someone that I still think about all too frequently. The crazy thing is, the very few people who knew him that I’ve talked to about him since he died have all had similar memories of him. One of those really bright stars that burned out too quickly.