Today I awoke to the heartbreaking news that the body modification community has lost one of it’s most beloved members, my good friend, Josh Burdette.
Josh was one of the very first people I met from the online body modification community. When I first moved to Maryland in 2000, I met him at a RAB munch held at a Brazilian BBQ joint. At first I was quite intimidated by him. How could I not have been? He was, hands down, the most modded person I had met in person at that time, not to mention he was absolutely enormous! Within the first hour in his presence all of that intimidation went away and I quickly found him to be one of the nicest human beings ever. Everyone of us there that night shared that sentiment about him and by the time we left that dinner everyone of us called him friend and not a one of us was intimidated by him…….except maybe the owners of the restaurant. The one stereotype he lived up to was the ability to TRULY get his money’s worth at an all you can eat meat buffet!
My next memorable run in with him was at the University of Maryland where Josh, Bruce Wilmot and myself were participants in a Q&A with a group of students about body modification. Josh, stole the show and did an excellent job of representing our community in the best possible light. That wasn’t unusual for Josh at all, that’s just who he was. As the head of security at DC’s famous 9:30 night club every night he managed to make friends, even with the people he had to escort out of the club. Any non-modded person who ever had the privilege of getting to know him could not help but have their prejudices of modded people flipped upside down. For that, we all owe him a debt of gratitude.
Josh’s body mods were not on him, they were him. Each and every mod of his had a story and each and every tattoo had a meaning. He was covered with dragon tattoos representing his Chinese zodiac, the year of the dragon. He had scarification by the late, great Keith Alexander and Ron Garza branded swastikas on his feet, representing the footsteps of the Buddha. Then of course there was his trademark stretched lobes which he pretty much always sported fine organic plugs in, his stretched septum and my personal favorite his perfectly lined up paired bridge piercings.
In the past few years I was lucky enough to become closer with him and that friendship and the insights he shared with me are something I will eternally hold dear. Please use the comments section below to share your thoughts and memories of this beloved character who some of us knew as OBMF, some as “That Guy from the 9:30 club” and a lucky few (thousand) of us simply knew as Josh.