On Monday, cancer claimed the life of Sun City Girls drummer Charles Gocher. He was 54. Alan and Rick Bishop write:
"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.”
Fueled by Sun City Girls' limited public appearances and Gocher’s missed dates with his side-project The Sea Donkeys, rumors about Gocher’s deteriorating health circulated in the tight-knit Sun City Girls community for the past few years. The band, however, shrouded itself in mystery from the beginning, shunning the press and, often, disguising themselves in hooded robes onstage. Fans respected the band’s privacy and only dwelled on the most important thing on Sun City Girls' message board: the music.
Although Gocher only released one solo album, 1997’s Pint-Sized Spartacus, his musical legacy is undeniable. As one-third of Sun City Girls, Gocher anchored one of the most original music anomalies ever to grace the world’s stages and speakers. Whether playing a straightforward gig (well, as straightforward as Sun City Girls could be) or engaging in strange street theater or performance art, the Girls alternately infuriate and mystify audiences. Gocher’s contribution to the band can be heard explicitly on the title-track from the cassette God is My Solar System. Gocher sounds as if he is attached at the wrist to Alan and Rick Bishop, stopping and starting on a dime as the guitarist and the bassist repeatedly play only one note then commence until they decide to get down. Gocher took center stage on last year’s limited edition For Drummer’s Only (link) and, surprisingly, constructed a stunningly engaging LP with only a little instrumental accompaniment from Alan and Rick.
In addition to providing immensely talented percussion work, Gocher also narrated most of 1997’s fantastic Dante’s Disneyland Inferno double-disc.
No news on the future of Sun City Girls has been reported as of this morning. Tiny Mix Tapes’ deepest condolences go out to Charlie’s family, friends and legion of fans. He will be missed. Visit Sun City Girls' official website for more information on the band.