Jimmy Webb has been described as the angel of Saint Mark’s, and he earned that title with every fiber of his soul. The famed stylist and friend to a myriad of rock n’ roll misfits passed away from cancer yesterday at 62.
The cheerful, kindhearted Webb was open about his earlier struggles with drug addiction and homelessness, and eternally grateful for his opportunities to overcome them. He did everything with great zeal. His flair for styling evolved over the years as he created outfits for clubbing at places like Studio 54. He got clean in 1999 and finally landed his dream job at Trash and Vaudeville. From there, Webb cultivated a broad, appreciative clientele as well as countless wonderful friendships. From the seasoned stage vets, to the disgruntled teens needing a safe place to vent, to little kids just discovering The Ramones, Jimmy embraced them all.
“I’ve lived through so many times and not a lot of people are left,” Jimmy told Downtown Magazine in 2018. “The reason I keep dancing and the reason this store is here, and the reason I’m so blessed by people like Debbie and Iggy and Slash, is because I carry on and I dance for all of those who aren’t here to dance anymore. They all touched me in a very special way.”
Jimmy Webb’s knack for styling brought him a special kind of fame amongst the rock n roll set, the alt kids, the punks and the pop stars. He outfitted everyone, made everyone feel special, and knew just what would make a person shine their brightest. Jimmy’s looks have been featured in Rolling Stone, Vogue, MTV…and the streets of the East Village. In 2017, he opened his own boutique, I NEED MORE.
Downtown’s editor in chief, Deb Martin, knew Jimmy for years, often helping him out in I NEED MORE. In 2018 Jimmy made an appearance in Downtown Magazine. She fondly reflected on their close friendship:
“Jimmy loved with his entire self, and when he loved you he loved you and was the most loyal friend. But he also had a finely-tuned bullshit meter and some of the best laughs we ever had were about the con-artists and grifters we have known. He loved authenticity because he was wickedly, fiercely authentic.
I will forever miss his long, frequently hilarious voicemails and texts. I will miss his kindness and his love. I will miss his laugh. We were spending a lot of time together in the past year or so, and I treasure every single moment. My office was just a couple of blocks from the store so I would pop over whenever I could just to give him a hug and share a laugh or see if he needed anything. I helped him plan his last big event, Footprints in February—Debbie Harry and Iggy Pop put their hands and feet in cement inside the store, Hollywood-style. He emailed me the guest list and asked me if I thought it was ok. I told him that no one could dream up a better downtown guest list. It turned out to be the party of the century. But then all of Jimmy’s parties were the best because of Jimmy and the gigantic love that he showered on everyone. He touched so many lives. But that night in particular was filled with love and light. It took a lot out of him and even though we had a lot of fun planning it, there was also a touch of sadness because I think we all knew that it could be the last party. He had been battling cancer for several years, he was a fighter, he muscled through it, but it was taking its toll.
The last time I saw him was at the end of February, a couple of days after the party. I had already started to quarantine but I had to pick up something at the store. He wasn’t feeling well but he had to go in. He called me from the car and we met at I Need More. We talked about the party and had a great laugh as we always did. He told me, “I’m so glad you came in today, you always make me laugh and I really needed to laugh.”
It was the great joy of my life to make Jimmy Webb laugh. I feel so lucky to have called him friend, and I’m sad for anyone who didn’t have the chance to know this remarkable man.
The world is a little less brilliant today, but I know Jimmy wouldn’t want us to be sad. Well, maybe just a little sad, but not forever. He would relish all the tributes pouring out from all over the world but he would also tell us, the people he loved, that we have to carry on for him. I will forever be grateful to have loved and to have been loved by Jimmy Webb. I will keep on dancing for him, until the end of my time here on Earth.”
Footprints In February at I NEED MORE, 2020 All Photos By Alice Teeple
1 of 14
Thank you, Jimmy, for all you gave us. We shall miss you.