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?
I knew Charlie back in the Phoenix days (and NW hepcats or NW ex-hepcats might recall he attended Ti Jean conference–and lent that boodhist joint some class, and scared the F. out of some of the poseur-fratboy “liberals” in the vicinity (and sorority putas as well): played some free noise with him and SCGs at Chuys, swilled cheap booze, cruised Tempe for cheap floozies, listened to a few Beefheart records, or phoenix cats imitate Dolphy, etc. He was a great bop drummer; better than the indie-rock, “alternative” kids realized: sort of a gene krupa meets drumbo (great drummer with beefheart’s band, if anyone still cares about that sh**t).