Billy Joe Huels first began to suspect that something was wrong with his older brother, Matt, when Matt spoke of conversations he'd been having with Mick Jagger and Michael Jackson.
It wasn't out of the realm of possibility. Matt was a world traveler. He had started taking trips to Europe and India in 1990 at the age of 26, after he moved to Seattle and bought a house overlooking Green Lake.
A farm boy from Illinois, Huels had made a small windfall in the stock market. He had gotten a job out of college as a switching engineer at Southwestern Bell, saved up money and invested it. At night, he'd gone to St. Louis University and earned a master's degree in business administration.
He was not only a whiz at finances, but soulful and spiritual, a sort of a Buddha with a cell phone, sister Diane Lovejoy said. She and brother Billy Joe idolized Matt.
The two still can't believe what happened to Matt. Today he lives in a studio apartment on First Hill run by the Downtown Emergency Service Center. He can't work anymore and lives on Social Security disability. The three motorcycles and Porsche he once owned are long gone. He walks now or rides the bus.
But he's doing well, and for that his brother and sister are grateful.
On Feb. 24, Billy Joe and his band, The Dusty 45s, will play at the Pike Place Market's Showbox theater, along with nine other bands. The show, Gimme Shelter, is a fundraiser for DESC.
The Dusty 45s started the benefit show in 2009. Since then, they've raised $47,000 for the shelter and housing provider.
Diane said one of her first clues that something was wrong with Matt was his incessant talk about a raccoon in his backyard.
In the mid '90s, she and Billy Joe had noticed that Matt had become withdrawn. He wasn't talking as much, kept his curtains closed and wouldn't come out of his house.
Matt told the two that he was concentrating on his meditation and reaching enlightenment. Conversations, he told them, just got in the way.
In 1999, Diane visited Matt's house and he locked her in and quizzed her about why people were filming him and what she knew about some kind of conspiracy. The episode only lasted a few minutes. Diane said she didn't tell anyone because she thought Matt was just going through a difficult time.
"I could not believe there would be something wrong with my brother," Diane said, sitting in a First Hill caf