RIP Javier Ochoa, Omaha drummer

Javier Ochoa, far left, with his bandmates in Diana and the Maries.

I didn’t know Javier Ochoa, but he made an impact on a lot of people (a lot of musicians, especially) in Omaha.

Sadly, Ochoa died of a heart attack yesterday.

Tributes have been pouring in on Facebook and Twitter this morning, all of them remembering Ochoa as a kind-hearted guy and a great drummer.

“It just dawned on me that I might not even be playing drums again if it wasn’t for him. He was one of the people that encouraged me to do so after a 16 year break,” Rob Mathews of Blue Bird said. “He even loaned me cymbals and a drum throne for over a year to do so. That’s the kind of person he was.”

Ochoa was a longtime drummer, most recently a member of the Led Zeppelin tribute band Song Remains The Same and Omaha rock band Diana & the Maries. He’d also been in bands such as Two Drag Club, Goodbye Sunday, The Get and Blah Buddha.

According to Marq Manner, many of Ochoa’s friends gathered last night to tell stories about him. They were all how funny, generous and kind-hearted the man was.

What a loss for Omaha music, and most especially for his family and friends.

“He was always someone that you wanted to talk to, wanted to be around,” Manner said of Ochoa. “And when he walked into a room, you immediately wanted to go catch up with him.”

Feel free to talk about Javier or leave remembrances here in the comments section.

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8 Responses to RIP Javier Ochoa, Omaha drummer

  1. Jeff Harder says:

    Javier was a rock in the Omaha music scene, both literally and figuratively. We was a friend, bandmate and brother to many people both in and out of the music scene. He will be greatly missed by everyone, and Omaha has lost a big piece of its musical identity with his passing. Good bye dear friend.

  2. Tanja says:

    I have known Jay (Chief) for what seems like forever. He has talked to me through some really tough times and good ones too! My heart is so saddened that I missed him playing in the band. I have not heard him play since HS. He will truly be missed… it is a sad day in the world without Jay!

  3. Cory says:

    Javier had recently been filling in with my band Fusion while our regular drummer was injured. We had the honor of sharing the stage with him at his last performance on Saturday at Whiskey Roadhouse, and of course he played great. He had become a good friend to all of us in the band since we met him, and I know others that have played with him over the years feel as fortunate as we did to have performed with him.

  4. Coworker says:

    Javier was a coworker of mine. Our clinic was shocked and heartbroken to hear the news of his death. I never had the opportunity to hear him play but heard many funny stories of his years as a drummer. Anyone that spent even an hour with him would now what a loving kindhearted man he was. He will be greatly missed. RIP buddy

  5. Shawn says:

    I worked with Javier at The Nebraska Medical Center. He ‘s such a great guy with a big heart and an infectious smile. I wish I had been able to go see him play last weekend, he will be missed beyond words. It really is a sad day…goodbye Javier, you were a friend to all.

  6. Dave Ferris says:

    I went to North Platte High School with Jay. Like many, I reconnected with him through Facebook in recent years. I remember talking with Jay about music and drumming all those years ago and when we reconnected, we started up again. I am speechless at the news of his passing.

  7. Jason P. Street says:

    The two qualities that I will remember most about Javier were Loyalty and Respect. We walk this earth for such a short time… Make the most of it… That’s what Javier did! Rest well my friend!

  8. JEFFHARRIS says:

    i have known J. for 20 years….. met him and instantly became great friends with him while he worked at NFM. we had more good times in that span than some have in a lifetime. J.’s huge bear hugs, noogies, and laugh will be greatly missed as well as the presence he brought to the omaha music scene. Life happened, married with kids, and i didnt get to hang out with him a whole lot the last few years …..but when i did see him, i got the big smile, bear hug, and its like we never missed a day.
    i started a rememberance page on facebook for him… “remembering Javier Ochoa” in the groups section.
    this great big soul will be greatly missed …..