Generous, unselfish, kind. A voracious reader with a calm demeanor and a bit of an obsession with socks.
Joe Sell of Naperville was remembered Saturday morning for being more than just a guitarist for Lucky Boys Confusion, a punk band with DuPage County roots that gained national fame with tunes like "Dumb Pop Song" and "Fred Astaire."
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At his funeral at Grace Pointe Church in Naperville, Sell's sisters and friends told stories of growing up and going on tour with him.
"He'd be out with friends and then come home late at night and sit in the kitchen in front of the radio and just listen to CDs over and over again all night long," said one of his sisters, 27-year-old Karen Gutierrez. "And I remember sneaking downstairs and laying on the dining room floor in the dark, just waiting for him to come home."
With four sisters, one older and three younger, Sell's calmness and patience brought peace to the family. He remained close with his sisters until his death Tuesday night in Chicago. His cause of death is undetermined pending toxicology test results, although he had recently been in the hospital for pancreas problems and had struggled with addictions in the past.
J.P., as family sometimes called him, would bring coffee or dinner to his sister Angie while she was working in Naperville -- even though money was tight for him lately, said his sister Jackie Sell, 27.
"He would give her his last $20; he was so generous," she said. "Even when he had nothing, he would give the shirt off his back, literally, and expect nothing in return."
After teaching himself to play guitar on an instrument borrowed from his uncle at age 14, Sell found another family -- his Lucky Boys Confusion family.
"A lot of people didn't understand the dynamic with the five of us. We were brothers, you know," said Kaustubh "Stubhy" Pandav, the band's lead singer. "Brothers fight a lot, especially me and Joe. I mean if I'd say the Beatles, he'd say the Stones. ... We balanced each other out real well; we were yin and yang."
Pandav and other band members often would laugh at the items Sell brought for three-week tours across the nation. He'd pack two pairs of underwear, two shirts, about 10 pairs of socks (he was a bit obsessed with them, after all), and a separate suitcase chock full of books, Pandav said.
"You're going to bring two pairs of underwear, but you're going to bring 40 books?" Pandav said, remembering his disbelief at Sell's packing style.
A Beatles song and a Creedence Clearwater Revival song, both performed by Sell's friends, were part of the funeral ceremony, which drew about 250 people.
Kevin Prchal sung "In My Life" by the Beatles and played it on guitar, but he admitted his tuning would be a bit off on a couple notes. Nothing the average listener would notice, he said, but certainly "something Joe would have called me out on."
"If you're listening, bear with me, buddy," Prchal said.
Pandav encouraged friends and family to go home and play their favorite Lucky Boys Confusion song, making Sell's guitar work for the band part of their remembrance of him.
"That's his legacy. That's not everything about him, but that's what he left on this Earth," Pandav said. "However you knew him -- J.P., Joe, the Rooster ... remember him for who he was: an awesome man, awesome musician and a great friend."