Werner Mory, 1949 – 2019
The first of the gang to die.
When I was 15, he was 51. This was the on-stage joke of the band that we both played in.
We were kind of an odd couple. The experienced bass player, and the greenhorn drummer. Both of us had long hair and the same kind of humor, we both loved wordplays. In a way, he encouraged me to go along with mine. His were always on the edge, sometimes to the lower end, sometimes to the higher end. Indirectly, he taught me that you need a few misses to make a hit.
With our music, we never had a hit. But we played in a band with two of the better known songwriters in our district. The Waldner brothers have been making their own music since their late teenage years, and we have formed a new combo with them, called eigenArt, recorded two mini albums without a record deal, and did what was then the larger shows in the area.
Keep in mind that this was Carinthia, Austria, in the early 2000s. Not a lot was happening there in general, and apart from the summer season where tourists flooded the lakes, this hardly changed. So a spark was a highlight for everyone.
So it was for us. We played all the major venues, where otherwise the held balls or local theatre. When my sister and I started playing with the two brothers and Werner, the first thing we did was a record and a big show at the Heynburg, where Werner shared a cigarette with my sister, who just had her tonsils removed. This was a backstage moment we’d never forget. So rogue.
My sister did the background vocals and played the keys – until today, she is a gifted pianist and singer. I was percussionist at this gig. Soon after, the official drummer stopped showing up for rehearsals, and I took over the drums on all songs.
Werner played a headless bass guitar, which wowed everyone back then:
Of all of us, he was the most knowledgeable when it came to music, its history, and especially jazz. He was a regular at the local jazz clubs, and would teach me a lot about the important names, recommended records, and made references about our play that most of the time I did not understand.
He took me to Sunday jazz brunch, and to a Dave Weckl gig. I thoroughly enjoyed his presence there, because I learned how to react to jazz music, what to hear in certain moments, what’s funny and what’s sad about it.
After the concert, we would walk around with one of his girlfriends – who have typically just turned 18 and were basically my age —, so he could release his gas. Werner was always very outspoken about his body’s needs. He would not hide it away – the opposite: He would often follow up with a related joke.
He lifted the air. In a sense, he has remained a young boy – despite being the oldest in the room. His mind was playful, he was wicked smart, but he would also not lose himself in ambition. He mingled with the youth, and kept teaching guitar at one of the better musical schools of the country.
His lifestyle wasn’t the healthiest, he lived for the music, and rode around at late hours with his tuned Renault Clio. Werner loved his two kids with his first wife Bernadette, and was the proudest when they came up with their first own wordplay. He would literally tell everyone about it.
At the age of 70, he recently died. Of any member of the bands I played in, he is the first one to go. This struck me, and I felt I had to remember him and pay tribute. His urn will be installed tomorrow, July 15.