Obituary: Timothy Gray, 1957-2021 | Lost Coast Outpost



Timothy Gray passed away from this world on April 10, 2021. “Timmy” was an amazing musician, songwriter, sound designer, recording artist, photographer, and friend. Her life was full of great music, great adventures and collaborations that lifted and brought our community together time and time again.

He was born on July 16, 1957 in Indianapolis, Indiana. He attended Indianapolis Catholic Elementary School. By all accounts, he was terrified of nuns. One day, the Head Nun called over the loudspeaker that “Timothy Gray must report to the office immediately.” Fearing the worst, he ran there only to find that he had won the Scientific American sponsored paper airplane competition to have the most aerodynamic paper airplane. He then chooses to go to public high school. There he met his good friend Bob Bullens and together they became the “AV guys” of the school, which allowed them both to immerse themselves in emerging technologies and to leave enough time to learn. let off steam between deliveries. When he was young, his parents gave him a guitar for Christmas. He walked into his room with it and did not come out until he could play it… well.

Her friend Bob traveled to California after high school. And Bob gave Timmy his drums, which kicked off Timmy’s love for percussion. At Indy, Timmy performed in his first group, Pinky Lavenders Jazz Orchestra. So tired of “Indy’s ice and snow,” Timmy ripped off the backseat of his Dodge Valiant (to install the battery) and followed Bob to California. The concerts, and especially the money, were not there. Tim then joined the California Conservation Corps (CCC). Initially he was assigned to SoCal, but soon managed to be transferred to the CCC camp in Klamath River. He fell in love with the river and the north coast. He then worked for the US Forest Service before moving to Portland, Oregon, where he was a school bus driver by day and a drummer by night for Johnny Limpo and the Lug Nuts.

Timmy returned to Humboldt in 1982. He served as a ranch guard on several ranches, then drummed for the Boggies, a local bar cover band. He became good friends with Jeff Landen, also in the Boggies, who remembers meeting Tim when the original drummer was fired. Jeff and Tim formed a recording studio called Vinyl Taco. It should be noted that, according to Charlie Moon, legendary HSU professor, Timmy had a “golden ear.” Timmy had a strange ability in ear training, where he could accurately hear the pitches of music. Because of this skill, he was a phenomenal sound engineer and producer. Its recording client list is a who’s who of Humboldt County musicians as well as national and international artists. He was particularly known for his sympathetic, inspiring and positive side. For many years he ran Big Bang Studios in Loleta before establishing his own studio, Myrtletown Records in 1995.

In 1995, Timmy began his relationship with Dell’Arte. From TEN MOON TRIP to MAD LOVE to JEFFERSON STATE to WILD CARD to PARADISE LOST AND CASANOVA, and BLUE LAKE: THE OPERA. Timmy was the main composer and sound designer for Dell’Arte. He composed a new work which performed in the National Theater in Sweden and was the first national recipient in sound design of the prestigious TCG / Pew Trust Fellowship. He was a finalist in the quadrennial Prague Design Competition in which he had a sound design piece accepted and exhibited. His visit there was an epic journey. He was a drummer and sound effects designer in house group Dell’Arte for many years until he took on the job of sound engineer for the summer show at the Mad River Festival.

Timmy founded Myrtletown Records and worked with Sound Chaser, one of the first companies to explore digital audio on the North Coast. The bands that Timmy performed with were legion, but among the notable bands and artists he collaborated with were Barking Dogma, The Joyce Hough Band, Home Cookin, Bayou Swami’s and the Road Masters.

Timmy has also worked with the Arcata Playhouse, composed an audio installation in the Creamery District, FOOTFALL, created complex odd-meter music for CRAWDADDY’S ODDITORIUM and like many of us here in this community he honored us with his presence as a singer. , drummer, soundperson and handsome all round man.

Tim was passionate about computers and was always available to help others learn programs and familiarize themselves with the keyboard. He was a master of Photoshop and could create storylines that didn’t exist before the technology was developed. He was patient and kind.

Timmy was a true autodidact (gloriously autodidact). And he said his father was born in a barn in Scotland. Timmy died of a rare brain disease. He was referred to the UCSF Center for Memory and Aging five years ago to be part of an ongoing study into rare brain diseases. He went down to the center three or four times and underwent numerous physiological and psychological / cognitive tests. On these occasions, he was asked if he would donate his brain for further study. He did. An important thing in Timmy’s vision was that if his own disappearance was studied and better understood, it might benefit others. This was another example of Timmy’s “spreading love”.

Timmy is survived by his sister Bonnie Odle, Marla Joy, his devoted partner and bandmate, Margo Yon (his amazing caregiver) and a bunch of us, so many people, who knew Timmy as a dear friend and collaborator. His friend Jeff Landen wrote: “And on the subject of death: I think you lived a good life if you left behind people who wish you were still there. We wish you were still here, Laddie (Timmy’s favorite salute). “Laddie”, we raise a glass of the good stuff and light a Cuban cigar (they’re legal now I think). You live in our hearts and souls. “Angel flights”… dear friend.

The commemorations will take place from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on July 9 at the Arcata Playhouse and July 17 at the Dell’Arte where a marker for Timmy will be placed in the Dell’Arte Memorial Garden.

Donations for the Timmy Gray Artist Fund can be made at this link or by mail to Arcata Playhouse 1251 9th Street, Arcata, CA 95521 ATTN: Timmy Gray.


The above obituary was submitted on behalf of Timmy gray loved ones. the Lost Coast Outpost maintains obituaries for residents of Humboldt County free of charge. See guidelines here.



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