Thursday, March 05, 2009

Mark Anthony Kemezys: 1961-2009.

My friend Mark Kemezys was found dead in his home this morning, March 5, 2009.

Mark was 48.

Between 2003 and 2005, Mark Kemezys and I composed and recorded more than 50 songs at my home recording studio at 38 Northern Avenue in Augusta, Maine. I would improvise music on keyboards or guitar and Mark would improvise lyrics. We would record direct to my iMac through a bewildering array of effects boxes and microphones and a never ending parade of guest musicians. Working this way, Mark and I made an album called Amaso Nib Dalen: AM at CPG, some of which can be heard here.

Mark Kemezys was one of the most fearless, talented and funny musicians I have known. Because of Mark, I fell back in love with writing and recording music after a long stint of stagnation. Mark made making music fun again. "Hey Doug Watts," he would say. "Let's go upstairs to your place and jam." And so we did. Like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, Mark would corral half the denizens of 38 Northern Ave. up to my apartment to accompany us or be our audience.

Mark was like the social director on a cruise ship: he wanted to make sure everyone onboard was having fun. These were hootenanies in the truest sense of the word. Mark made them happen. He was the instigator, the prime mover. I was glad to help out.

As Mark said in the first song we recorded, Getting Married: "What are you laughing about, son?"

When Mark did all of this recording, he was also going through the hell of radiation treatment and multiple surgeries for testicular cancer and complications, which ended up with him surviving cancer but having to get a colostomy. Despite not knowing if he was going to die next week or next month and having to suffer the embarrassment of crapping into a bag taped to a hole in the side of his chest, Mark kept his spirits up, and in doing so, kept up those of everyone around him.

Mark and I collaborated on a 12-minute operetta about 9/11 and the Bush administration, "Mark Kemezys: Air Traffic Controller." This operetta had its radio debut on February 2, 2009 at WMPG-FM in Portland, Maine on the show "Thought Crime Generator" hosted by Dan Knight. I will put up a sample of the broadcast soon.

I did not know Mark would die a month later.

Time robs the thief who tries to steal from it.

Mark Kemezys lived every moment of his life to the bone and marrow.

Not many of us can say that.

I will miss you, my brother.


Anonymous said...

Mark Kemezys

He lived along the Kennebec River
His life moved like that river

He had friends everywhere.
It did not matter of your status
Mark said you could be his friend.

His feelings that he left with me
He was like that river flowing from one spot to another.
Some days the river was harsh and rough
And others it was calm and warm.
Just like life both good and bad times.
All you can do is flow with the current.

May his days of travel
Be on the calm and warm days now.
That he might be like that river
And flow somewhere new.

No more pretending while drifting slowly along,
As in his past
But now he flows like that river the Kennebec
With a meaning and direction going someplace new.
Like during the spring thaw in the north.
Leaving friends and family behind.
Moving very quickly ahead

That’s how I will always remember my friend and brother Mark Kemezys

Let your Spirit flow!

Anonymous said...

Mark had a hard life . Was not given credit for what he could tell you. He did know alot of people that would surprise you. I do not think he always asked but gave with what little he had. Which he could make from little into somthing wounderful.

Anonymous said...

Mark was my Uncle, and when very young his was our buddy. He did had a hard life, just like the rest of his family. He was never afraid to look past that hardship and try and cheer someone up. He may have never had children of his own, but he was there with us a lot. I know that right now he is feeling the time of his life. I feel bad that he hasn't seen me grown, but I know he will look over me as he did when I was young, and every crazy moment that happens in my life will be because he is around in spirit. I did love you Uncle Mark, Freddy the Bat. Still wonder why you were called that.

Anonymous said...

Mark was 47 when he passes away from lung cancer. Prior to this new diagnosis, (a new primary site) Mark previously underwent treatment for testicular cacer. The radiation therapy that Mark endured several years earlier resulted in a colostomy for life.

Mark's eyesight was failing so that he could not read his mail. His body was always in pain and it is possible the cancer may have metastasized to the bone.

Mark was a simple soul and sometimes treated poorly. However Mark did not complain too much because Mark wanted to be liked and always surrounded himself with friends and fun.

Yes, Mark drank to drown away his pain and to forget the sorrow. However, Mark did not become mean or bitter.

Mark lacked a family support system, so his friends became his family and support system and helped him during his deep dark hours.

Just when life could not get any worse Mark was diagnoded with lung cancer.

One week after his diagnosis of lung cancer his doctor wanted to start his chemotherapy treatment. Mark was scaired and really did not want chemotherapy. If only Mark knew he would not survive the night after his first chemotherapy treatment, Mark would not have had treatment.

Mark was found dead the following morning by his friends who checked in on him after his first night alone after the chemotherapy treatment.

Mark is missed by all his friends and their lives will never be the same.

Anonymous said...

Well Mark you did live a full life just like you said you would when we were young. I think you might have influenced me to "Party Like a Rockstar all over the world and always be the last man standing at the end of the night. I haven't seen you since 1991 but even then you were fun. I remember you and your brothers my uncles playing war in the fields and even when you burned down the barn with your sisters car inside while smoking a joint. There were times that were not as nice between us but you know what thank god for this blog so I can say I forgive you and hope you finally find peace because everyone should at one time or another, rest now. And for my LIL Sis he was nicknamed Freddy the Bat one year when we dressed up for Halloween he was Count Dracula.

Anonymous said...

I found out why he was called freddy bat .He would be in bed all day then come out at nite.
On a regular schedule.

Anonymous said...

Its been one year now since Mark has passed away . I give him a hello and do something in his name so he may know he's not forgotten.

Anonymous said...

It was a year ago yesterday that My brother Mark passed away on 3/5/09.

He has been forever in my thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...

I moved away and got married, when I came home I couldn't find him, I never forgot him, and I miss him very much. Randy T.

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