Sam Adams at INDIEWIRE.com posted the news yesterday that the Nashville Film Festival will hold an empty seat in every theater "from now on." Sounds like they mean not only this year but every year going forward, from that statement, which is a remarkable tribute to an equally remarkable man.
Jim's passing continues to stun and sadden me. Jim was always such a great friend and ally to all of us here, a true champion for all of Dr. Gangrene's creative ventures. He was so excited back when I first started my TV show, I remember him telling me how great it was that Nashville had a horror host again. He made mention of my events time and again in those early days of cable access zaniness.
I remember a couple years back I ran into him in Nashville one day shortly after I'd started my Fantastic Films of Vincent Price series. He was so excited to hear about it and told me one of his favorite Price films was HIS KIND OF WOMAN, starring Robert Mitchum, Jane Russell, and of course Vincent Price. It is a great film; zany, unusual, quirky and energetic - much like Jim himself. Makes total sense he'd love that one!
As editor, Jim was naturally the one who gave the go-ahead for a Dr. Gangrene cover on the Nashville Scene. I remember he had me come in for a photo shoot to accompany the article (written by Randy Fox), but instructed friends at the Scene (like Randy) to keep the fact I was going to be on the cover quiet, so it would be a surprise for me. And quite the pleasant surprise it was!! Time and time again he would write reviews or mentions of events we were hosting over the years, from live shows to movies, events and more - and he'd even work humorous mentions of Dr. Gangrene into other folks' events, such as the following from Jan 22nd 2016, during a blurb for a Creeping Cruds show:
When: Fri., Jan. 22, 9 p.m. 2016
To non-fans, “horror ska” is redundant, but South Carolina’s The Independents are still skankin’ to wake the dead after almost a quarter-century of shock rock. Managed for a few years by the late Joey Ramone, an ardent admirer, founders Evil Presly and Willy B. have moved farther from the band’s early ska elements toward a punk sound that’s not as garage-y as, say, The Cramps, but still laden with references to black angels, corpses in the rain, and even the much-missed Rudy Ray Moore. Joining them are Nashville’s own psychotronic rockers The Creeping Cruds. If you plan your evenings around the chance of spotting horror host Dr. Gangrene, here’s a pretty safe bet. JIM RIDLEY
Too funny! That one I stumbled across totally out of the blue. But that's how Jim worked, making kind gestures like that without a second thought or expecting anything in return. He got a kick out of it, and I would have thanked him next time I saw him - to which he would naturally have shrugged it off as if it were nothing.
At last year's 12 HOURS OF TERROR festival Jim handed out stacks of paperbacks to the crowd for free. He gave me one called THE SCREAM by John Skipp and Craig Spectre, which is a heavy metal horror (a favorive sub-sub genre of mine) novel. Jim raved about how much he loved Skipp and Spectre's writing. The book is fantastic, I need to do a proper review of it.
I'll leave you today with this shot of Jim from last year's 12 HOURS OF TERROR fest, where he introduced THE EVIL SPAWN. Thank you again for your friendship and everything you did for us over the years, Jim. You rock, my friend.