Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Saying Goodbye to a Show Man

Mark Noone with Vance Bockis photo by Mike Ratel
Like everyone, Vance Bockis has a story, but Vance's story is particularly sad. Just this year Shift, a short but riveting film, celebrated his six year triumph over heroin addiction and his comeback to the music scene and... life. But last week Vance was unable to recover from a recent surgery and died at home at the age of fifty.  A life long musician, Vance was in several bands including 9353, The Obsessed and The Factory which played The Slickee Boys' farewell show at the 9:30 Club in 2011. Mark Noone, front man for the Slickees Boys, had this to say in remembering his friend:

"Show Business. It’s called that because it’s all about putting on a show, and the business of music depends upon the talent that can do just that. People usually remember Kim Kane even if they have only seen Slickee Boys once because  he individually put on the best show amongst his five band mates. I remember seeing The Factory for the first time, and marveling at the front man. I soon realized that it was Vance Bockis- the singer from The Obsessed; but now he was looser, more self-assured, newer. He had this zonky swagger. I immediately loved this band, and I tried to study Vance, and see what made him such a wonderful front man. He was a killer singer; his pitch, timing and inflections were just right. He was smart and a true musician. He was keenly aware that one had to put on a show. And beyond that, whenever I saw him off stage, he was the same sweet and intense guy. I was always happy to see him. Sweet, intense and zonky- I was a fan.

I’ve known too many people who never made it out of the depths of addiction alive, but Vance did. I don’t know how he did it; he had to be stronger than I or any of us may have thought. I thought it was very kind of him to tell us his story in Steven Biver's documentary Shift. It is a very important film. I’ve watched it a bunch of times. For me it’s kind of like hanging out with him. The last six and a half years of his life, he was happy, hopeful and excited. Personally I was delighted that Factory had re-formed. I saw the new band twice, and loved it and was thrilled that the band could play Slickee Boys’ final show at 9:30 Club. I apologize for being selfish, but I can’t help imagining what he could have offered us in the years to come. I’ll miss him, and I’m still a fan."

A service for Vance Bockis will be held this Thursday, September 13 at 6 p.m. at Fairfax County Memorial Funeral Home

1 comment:

  1. Mark, I want to thank you for this tribute to Vance Bockis. It reflects my sentiments exactly, and eloquently too. I was acquainted with Vance back in the early eighties and I was always concerned about his lifestyle. But what a tribute to the human spirit he was, coming back from the brink like he did-- with such zest, such joy, and such wonderful humor did he sally forth into life again in these last few years. It was such a delight for me to see him front and center with The Factory last year, and I felt such pride and joy in my home-boy that night! I know you all felt that too. As someone on Facebook noted, the scene will be a little less glam without Vance, and a little less zonky too.