Friday, May 16, 2008

Denis Mochary, Tree People drummer on "Human Voices" album

Denis Mochary (center) Tree People drummer on Human Voices (1984)

As we wait for Tiliqua Records of Japan to do the CD reissue of Human Voices and for Guerssen Records of Spain to do the vinyl reissue of Human Voices, our thoughts are with Denis Mochary, a drummer who played with the Tree People for a time, and played beautiful, sensitive drum parts on a set of drums shaped like singing trumpets on the songs Thomas, Rain, Rain and Opus II on Human Voices. He also played a soulful, creative part on Sketches, a piece we recorded at the Human Voices sessions but did not include in the original cassette. We will be including Sketches as the last track in the Human Voices reissues and would like to dedicate that piece to Denis. We are moved and honored that we got to know him during that brief time!

I wondered from time to time where Denis was and what he was doing after he left Eugene to return to the East Coast. Sadly, it turns out he passed away in Japan several years ago from kidney cancer. I found out about his death just a few months back when I got an e-mail from his younger brother, who found out about Denis' stint with The Tree People from his daughter, who was googling her uncle and found our Tree People sites. His brother wrote: "He lived in Japan for several years, married to a Japanese gal. He was happy with his life there……and seemed to have found the spiritual component he was always seeking. At least, I like to think of him that way. Anyway, it is a very small world, and I am excited to see that the music you made together lives on in its own way."

Jeff of the Tree People added some thoughts about Denis:

When I think of Denis, I recall kindness and humor. He had that tough guy mug and a big heart. I've got a few photos of a concert we did at one of Eugene's parks. The photos show us on a slightly raised stage with a big, blue Oregon summer sky behind us. Denis is kind of hidden behind those strange horn shaped drums of his - no doubt tapping out some subtle and perfect rhythm. He still lingers in my memory, at least. Jeff Stier