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.