Thursday, February 22, 2007

Charles Gocher RIP!
We recently heard the sad news that Charles Gocher (centre), drummer and surrealistic ranter / crooner extraordinaire for the Sun City Girls, died of cancer last Monday.

Here's the announcement bandmates Alan & Richard Bishop posted on the Sun City Girls website:

With deep regret, we must announce that Charles Gocher passed away yesterday in Seattle due to a long battle with cancer at the age of 54. He is survived by the two of us who adopted him as a brother 25 years ago and his many friends around the world. He will be missed more than most could ever know. Our thanks to everyone for their support and encouragement during the past three, very difficult years. Many of you were not aware that Charles was ill and that’s because he wanted it that way. Details of a memorial in his honor will be announced soon.

The deceased himself had commented on the matter in an earlier performance, using the voice of his own father:

Hello. My name is Charles Gocher, Sr. I was this gentleman's father. I was born in San Leandro, California, in 1906, and died in Los Angeles in 1964. Charlie was very young then. Right now, his song is paying homage to the past. You folks might not realize this, but every one person in each of your ancestral chains is very important to you, because without each link's role in continuing your lineage, you would never have been born. Listen to him as he plays his song, and its meaning will become clear. He's discovered a new method of cheating the cycles of Hindustan. He's donated his body to Columbia University's Musical Sciences Department. After he's passed through this form, the department will take his body, remove the skeleton, and hollow out the bone marrow. They will be used as instruments for a thirteen-piece orchestra. The eight bones that comprised his arms and legs will have trumpet mouthpieces attached to one end, and will be used as horns. The five remaining bone sections -- the rib cage, the hip bone, the shoulder bone, the back bone, and the skull -- will be used as the percussion instruments, with the hands and the feet serving as the beaters. The musicians will be instructed in the methods taken from his writings pertaining to improvisational music. During the orchestra's performance -- delivered annually on November 12, his birthday -- his internal organs, preserved in a canopic jar sitting on the stage front, will be guarded by a young Nepalese milkmaiden who, during the course of each ceremony, will fall into an ecstatic possession trance, and invoke his spirit in the same manner as he is invoking mine right now. Listen to his song. Let me leave you with one last thought: if his idea seems too preposterous, and if you don't believe in the reincarnation of the soul, how do you know that we're not all dead already?

Though I never met him, I was fortunate enough to see the Sun City Girls play live at the Salla Rossa here in Montreal in 2004. I knew Charles Gocher through his work as a great drummer and unique performance artist, playing with one of the most original bands going. He will be missed!

Check him out in these videos:
And here's an mp3:


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