Remembering James Izzo

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…

18 thoughts on “Remembering James Izzo

  1. Such a creative soul. I have find memories of late night phone conversations when I was a soph in high school. He could inspire thought and create madness in laughter. I am shocked and saddened by this news. I wish we had not lost touch…

  2. This breaks my heart. James was always one of the nicest people I have ever known. The world will miss him greatly :(

    1. I had no idea! I just found out today from a very dear friend Colleen Petruzzi! Me and James used to take karate together, he was a few belts ahead of me! We had to spar quite a few times! I regret all the time not keeping up w Jeremy, James, our karate, skating, or wishing i was good enough to skate! To keep up w u boys! Jeremy, u two were inseperable- i’m so sorry for this loss and finding out way too late. I’ll tell you what, James kicked my ass every time, arms or no arms! He was so special!!!!!

  3. Sean – thanks for sharing. Living a few houses down from him, James and I, along with my brother, Doug, spent a lot of days and nights hanging out together. One moment that has always stayed with me was the day one of his dogs died. We went over his house and their large, black dog was still in the house, lying in silence in the corner of his computer room – almost as if she was sleeping. He asked us if we wanted to pet her. I was a little freaked out, but I remember him going right up to her, petting her, rubbing his face across his fur, saying, “It’s alright.” Depsite the dog’s death, there was no hint of sadness in his actions or his voice. As I try to wrap my head around this, I keep thinking of that moment.

  4. What happened!?!?! James and I became friends very early, it was either in summer camp during elementary school, or in class at Durban Ave. School. What I remember most about him was his drive. He was into the marital arts when we were younger, a musician, an artist. He was one of the few kids in Hopatcong I felt I connected to. I’ll always remember him for his very abstract nature. I too remember his basement, where we would experiment making music together, me as a young hip hop emcee, and him the mad scientist. He was a true genius, an original. I’m shocked and saddened that he’s gone…

  5. I can’t believe it. I have been on line looking up info about James. We had been very tight after College. I remember he would come to my parents house and than later my apartment almost every day it seems. We would watch some different movies I never would have on his projector that he would bring over. Some were way out there some were great. I learned and deepened my appreciation for tea upon James insistence that Dragonwell tea was superior. I can’t get the image of James out of my mind on our hikes into thee woods. I remember how at peace he looked . I denver trying hard to take him serious while we did qi gong and he made these crazy breathing noises. I look back and can understand just how I got into thee many of my interests. He inspired me to be a better person. We lost touch throughout our lives on and off aging but the last time was the longest. until a few months ago and than again he dissapeard. I am not dealing with this well either. So many things were left unsaid. I wish I could have helped him . I rememberam the insane amount he would read and.learn and it seemed to both educate him and bother him. I said James sometimes. You just have to stop thinking he just seemed to not be able to stop thinking and I remember that sadness. The sadness he had. The thing that I could not help him with. The thing that I will always be filled with guilt for was not getting through to him to slow down and not take life so seriously. He truly loved.He truly cared. I will always remember you and miss you James. You are loved

  6. James was truly a genius and inspiration to us all to be a better person. He will always be remembered for his compassion and thoughtfulness.

  7. I remember meeting James in 5th grade. He always wanted to arm wrestled and he would kill me every time. I was amazed at how talented he was, it just seemed that he was able to master anything that he attempted to do. I always loved his drawing, and was jealous of his ability. Another friend gone to soon, James you will be truly missed by all.

  8. I think a memorial or something to honor James or more likely help us would be a good thing I just can’t even believe that is a possibility I keep feeling like it os a surreal dream

  9. I just got the details for his service:

    There is going to be a service for James Izzo at St. Jude’s on Saturday the 17th at 10am. I can’t make it but I wanted to spread the word.

    I’m guessing there will also be a service down in South Carolina (where he has lived for the past few years), but I don’t know anything about that. If anyone is now living in that area and needs the details, I can inquire about them.

  10. This is sad news, although for years I have not spoken to him I liked to follow him via social media to see what new music he was inventing and sharing. I always found him such an intresting person and while never very close as some of you were with him I can say his absence will be felt in this world……RIP

  11. I am going to try and make the service but I feel that if any one would like to have a time just to talk about him that would be a good idea. I feel like I will never get closure and there are so many missing pieces. I have not been dealing so well with his passing keep thinking this can’t be real

  12. Sean introduced me to James when we were living in the dorms at RIT. I was playing some mix of a coil song credited to Aphex Twin that I’d downloaded from napster (honest to god napster) and he said “YEAH MEAT BEAT MANIFESTO!” and when I was confused he told me to check out Actual Sounds and Voices. First introduction to one of my favorite bands and bar none my favorite live act. He was really great to this dumbass kid he didn’t even know.

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