My name is Gregory Michel Henry Marcel Gochtovtt. My sergeants in the army couldn’t pronounce my last name, so they ended up calling me “G,” but I also became “Wow Czar,” because of my Lithuanian heritage (Czar) and my love of the “Wow” effect that I bring to any creative endeavor to which I put my mind.
I was born and raised in Paris, France, and I came to the United States when I was 12. I went to college at Indiana University in Bloomington. It was there that I learned to play the doumbek and djembe drum, and I was very active in drum circles. I wrote two songs for a girl who never cared about me, and a multitude of poems for waitresses who never knew I existed. After graduating with a degree in English and spending a few years trying to find myself as a waiter and bartender (I’m still lost), I traveled and lived back and forth between Florida, Indiana and Pennsylvania, and finally settled in Pennsylvania. I also spent a crapload of money.
In 2002, I joined the United States army, after which I spent four years in Louisiana, deployed twice to Iraq (where I earned the respect of the local Iraqis, who named me “Doumbekchi” or “he who plays the doumbek”), and deployed twice more in the National Guard to Iraq and Afghanistan, earning a two-page spread in Time Magazine photos of the year in 2008. And spent another crapload of money.
I have drummed for several dance troupes and bellydancers, and in Indiana for an African dance troupe, and I am still an active musician in Philadelphia every week at Fairmount Park. I sing, play Native American flute, and dabble in classical and acoustic guitar. And spend a crapload of money.
Another of my hobbies is medieval re-enactment, and I own a full coat and coif of chainmail, a variety of swords, a full-length Hungarian longbow, and several pieces of armor. I have done shoots in full armor, in army gear (fashion photographer Mike Brochu), and as a Doctor Who cosplay. I welcome any opportunity to display my love of medieval history, such as Halloween, Renaissance Fairs, o the opening night of Game of Thrones at West Chester’s Hookah Matata. Or to spend a crapload of money.
My next project is to find other drummers with whom I can collaborate to do local performances in the tri-state area. So if you are a drummer or bellydancer looking for a doumbek or djembe player, feel free to contact me, or check out my website, Greg on the net!