* During the past week, Facebook has been a memorial to Omaha musician Javier Ochoa, who died of a heart attack June 19th. The 43-year-old Ochoa made his mark both as a first-rate rock drummer and as a friend to many here in town. Most recently, Ochoa played in Led Zeppelin tribute act The Song Remains the Same and original band Diana and the Maries. A specific group dedicated to sharing memories of Ochoa has 200-plus members.
Cami Rawlings, a band mate of Ochoa’s in Goodbye Sunday and Pedal Fast wrote the following tribute for the Reader: “A thousand hearts broke across Omaha when we learned of Javier’s passing. J. was everyone’s big brother; he had a heart of gold and would have given the shirt off of his back if asked. He was the kindest, most sincere and good hearted person, I feel blessed that I had the opportunity to play music with him. Music was his life, he was happiest behind his drumset. I will never forget his infectous smile. I’m already missing his big bear hugs. I do like knowing that he is at peace and is more than likely already starting a kick ass band in heaven.”
Another Ochoa bandmate Jeff Harder wrote, “I am not sure where to begin…..I met Javier through my best friend Rob Harris back in 1994? The thing about meeting Javier is that you don’t remember the first time you meet him, because when you meet him and share a connection, it just seems to flow seamlessly into a friendship. You just feel like you have known him forever, but it took this long to actually get the friendship started. The first thing I can remember about Javier was his passion for music. He lived it and breathed it. You could see it in his eyes when he spoke about it. The energy, the love, the drive……his eyes said it all. The reason he woke up in the morning was to make music and share it with friends. His drumming prowess is legendary, but for those of us who had the pleasure of knowing J., it was his spirit that will remain with all of us. He loved being a part of the musical community here in Omaha, just as he did in Los Angeles as proud member of the Pygmy Love Circus. I was honored to be a bandmate of his back in 1995-96 in a band called Petal Fast along with Cami Rawlings and Donna Davis. It was my first time playing bass in a band, and J. was so supportive. He went along with me to buy my first real bass rig, always encouraged me, and turned me on to new types of music. Our time together in the band created a lasting bond that will live forever. Javier took a great deal of pride in his craft, and it showed. He was not one to brag about his talents, but rather loved to share his knowledge and skills with other musicians. He would teach tricky parts to others, offer encouragement to up and comers, and give heart felt kudos to his peers. His giving nature is well known to all who knew J. He would spend hours putting together the bands for his annual Multiple Sclerosis benefits. He would tirelessly work 16 hour days rehearsing with multiple musicians to put on a legendary show that he would always try to outdo the following year. I had the honor of playing in his last one in the AC/DC tribute. One of my proudest moments was when he asked my brother in law Matt to join us. Matt has MS, and being included in this lineup was just a taste of how Javier would live his life. I will cherish that moment until I die, as will Matt. But that its just one small example of how J lived his life. In a way he was larger than life, in stature and in deeds. His passing is a very sad day in our lives, but the memories of how he lived his will forever be cherished by all of us for the rest of ours.”
More memorials and remembrances can be found on the “Remembering Javier Ochoa” Facebook group online. Friends and family also planned to meet Tuesday, June 26th at the Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. for a reception luncheon following Ochoa’s 10 a.m. memorial service.
* Maha Music Festival is now accepting volunteers online at mahamusicfestival.com. Volunteers get a ticket to the show and a free Maha t-shirt. Maha 2012 takes place Saturday, August 11th at Aksarben Village’s Stinson Park with headliners Desaparecidos and Garbage.
* Rohnert Park, Calif.’s hardcore punk band Ceremony brought a basement punk fury to the upstairs loft DIY punk space the Sandbox, 2416 Leavenworth last Wednesday, June 20th. The band’s most recent records highlight growth from classic hardcore into moodier, bass-driven post-punk. But live, Ceremony went full-throttle into a hurtling, muscular hardcore attack that spun the crowd into a chaotic frenzy. Vocalist Ross Farrar kept the vibe confrontationally weird as he seemingly baited the crowd with each song his band spat out.