On November 25, 1991, I got a call from a friend telling me that Eric Carr, KISS' drummer, had just died. I was blown away. Flipping on MTV, my fears were confirmed. Dead at 41 years old... this really sucked. I made up my mind that moment that if the funeral was anywhere in New York I was going to it.
The next day the New York Daily News reported Eric's death and info on where the funeral would be held. It would be in Middletown, NY. My grandparents live in Newburgh, NY, which is only about 10 miles from Middletown.
So the day after Thanksgiving, I left for NY. I live in Lawrence, Massachusetts (about 25 miles from Boston), & it's only 206 miles to NY so the trek would be easy.
My whole family thought I was crazy, but I'm sure that any fan who had the opportunity to mourn one of their heroes would go too.
After staying in Newburgh the night before, I got up early that Saturday and made the drive to Saint Joseph's Church in Middletown not really knowing what to expect. It was cool and sunny, about 10 people were waiting at the church when I arrived there at about 7am. We were all stunned from Eric's passing away.
Time passed and more people gathered. All of us were there to pay our respects to Eric, some people were dressed accordingly to attend church and others were in KISS T-shirts and ripped jeans, some with cameras. It seemed more than half of the people were hoping to get a glimpse of Paul or Gene. What sick fucks!!!
When the time came for the service, a gentleman came out from the church.
"Against the better judgement of Mrs. Caravello, she has decided to let you people come in to the service," he told us. "Eric's sister said that this is what Eric would want. Do not make her regret her decision!!!"
With that he let us into the church in an orderly fashion.
The church was beautiful and stunning. Big stained glass windows, very high ceiling and small nooks all over it. & there it was. Eric's casket. At the end of the long middle aisle, there it was... Silver with a blue tapestry with gold trim.
Not a chrome or polished silver, but a matte silver finish, it looked like a brand new Delorean.
Gene, Paul and Bruce were already seated when we came in. Ace Frehley came later, but arrived before the service began.
The funeral service was Roman Catholic. Neither Eric's family nor members of the band spoke but left the speaking to the Catholic Priest. Eric's sister had written a message to the people in attendance and when it was read out loud I started to cry.
You could feel the love his family had for him and their sense of grief over the loss of the beloved brother. This was not a funeral for the drummer of KISS, it was a passing of a brother, a son, of a friend who was taken away from us too soon.
When the communion part of the service came, I walked up toward the casket and all of this really started to sink in. Not being Catholic, Bruce, Gene and Paul didn't go up to communion but stayed in their seats.
As I walked by, I saw that Bruce was crying uncontrollably, his wife Christina was doing her best to comfort him.
Gene was just staring ahead. He looked so angry. Angry at God, angry at Eric, just plain angry. How could God do this to his friend?? He looked as though he was thinking, "How dare Eric leave me?!!" Gene never wavered in his stare. When people stood up for the rest of the service, he just sat and stared, it was kind of spooky.
Paul was in the clouds, his eyes where puffy and bloodshot. He was just soaking it all in.
As I walked past the casket, I reached out to touch it. ICE. That's exactly what it felt like. It sent a shiver up and down my spine. From that moment on I was in a daze.
I floated back to my seat and then it seemed as though Eric was there. A serene air filled the church, as if he were making everyone relax.
When the service was over, the fans with the cameras rushed out to try to catch a glimpse of you know who. Some of them clicked photos of the coffin in the back of the hearse. It was pretty sick!! If you were there, what do you need photos for?? Morbid...
The procession to Middlehope for the burial was about 2 miles long. It took up the whole right lane of Interstate 84 East. Only Eric's family and guests were allowed to enter the mausoleum for the burial. The rest of the people waited outside the cemetery, across the steet in the parking lot of a bar.
After a while the cars started to leave the cemetery. Bruce was driving a Chevy Caprice, Gene and Paul were in a blue Lincoln Town Car and Ace left in a silver Cadillac limo.
The State Police finally told us we could go into the cemetery. We all jumped into our cars and drove in. We parked in front of the mausoleum, the cemetery was a beautiful place with lots of grass and trees. Many flowers from the funeral were placed on the front lawn, as the fans passed by they also added their flowers for Eric to the large pile.
Eric's final restiung place was towards the back of the building. A huge rose colored slab of marble on the wall was all that there was, his name would be added later. For now there was just a small sticker on the bottom with the word CARAVELLO on it. People were crying and touching the wall.
There was a couch right in front and I sat there for 2 hours. I was soaking in everyone's feelings, trying to sort out my own, still trying to realize that I was at the grave of my friend, my Little Caesar... & to think that I had never met the man, but at that point I never had felt closer to him...
Rest In Peace...
* I recieve alot of links eveyday from friends...I got this one the other day and finally got to read it this morning before I left for school. I though it was a sweet perspective from a fan...I even teared up reading it. I though it was worth sharing for anyone who would like to read it, if you haven't read it before.