Artist Spotlight: David Ochal

Leeeeeeeet’s keep this shit positive!!!!!

We are spotlighting the people who are most important to us here at SUPER DARK Collective.

We LOVE, appreciate and dearly miss Black Ships bassist and psychedelic shit talker; David Ochal.

Today is Dave’s birthday. He passed on October 15, 2019. He wasn’t just John Gill’s father, he was my comrade.

Born in Amsterdam in 1951, Dave graduated from Wilbur H. Lynch High School in 1969. He served in the United States Navy, with a tour on the destroyer U.S.S. Brownson. He earned an Associate Degree from Fulton-Montgomery Community College where he studied electrical technology, going to work for television stations WOCD and WMHT.

Dave’s passion was music. While pursuing a music degree at SUNY Albany, he frequently served as a sound man; and was key in the area for repairing guitars, TVs and electronic equipment. He played bass guitar with a number of jazz, fusion and rock groups like N-XCess and Skeeter Creek.

I met Dave sometime around 2006, when I befriended his son John Gill. John and I have been music collaborators and good friends for 14+ years and Dave was always there. He came to every one of our gigs and frequently hung out and heckled our band practices. His dark and downright twisted sense of humor always had us in tears. Particularly when he’d happen to bring over a couple of tupperwares of his homegrown cosmic brownies.

Around 2011 John and I recorded our first full collaboration album Ocean. John chose the band name The Black Ships and we started to assemble a live band. Dave was always around supporting us, sitting in on practices and was the obvious choice to play bass. Black Ships morphed from a 2-piece dark electronic duo to a post-punk powerhouse quintet. I am happy to have so many great memories with Dave, talking shit on and off stage and especially riding around in his car listening to hilarious, psychedelic adventures of the Navy, getting electrocuted and catching The Who back in the day anytime he could.

Musically, Dave was definitely in his element when it came to playing jazz. John would call me up anytime Dave and his band were playing at Saratoga’s 9 Maple Ave. jazz club. When I myself started playing in a few psych-jazz bands around Saratoga, Dave would be there, heckling about twiddling knobs and buttons while shouting out “How many bands are you in?? Seriously!”

He sums it up on his own musical bio on his Reverb Nation page. As usual it’s all in caps:

I HAVE BEEN PERFORMING ON BASS FOR SOME 38 YEARS. STARTED WHEN THE BEATLES AND ENGLISH MUSIC ARRIVED IN AMERICA. STUDIED MUSIC THEORY AT ALBANY STATE UNIVERSITY. I HAVE A LOVE FOR ALL STYLES OF MUSIC AS I FIND THAT IS WAY TO STUDY METER AND GET INTO THE GROOVE.”

Up until mid 2019, Dave was a staple at every Super Dark show. He’d drive out and surprise us at gigs as far as New York City, Hudson and Massachusetts. His tongue and cheek talking shit has become a part of the Super Dark language.

You may have found yourself at a Super Dark event wondering,

who’s the weird old guy always talking shit to the sound man?”

That was Dave.

check out Dave’s music:
https://www.reverbnation.com/davidochal
https://theblackships.bandcamp.com/album/dead-empires

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