by Chris Patyk
The Tucson music scene is short one pompadour this week with the passing of Jim Gyuro last Thursday night at University Medical Center after an 18-month struggle with a rare form of cancer. Gyuro was most recently known as kids’ rock crooner Mr. Mocos, as well as the lively “Casino Guy.” Within a brief 41-year lifespan, Gyuro delivered an extensive creative output as a musician, visual artist and marketing professional. Since 1989, Gyuro was a fixture at local nightclubs, singing and playing lead guitar in bands like Zuzu’s Petals, Flavius B. Freeman, Dick Grayson Trio, Lucy Chair and Fukuisan Go!
It was the foot-high hairdo that defined Gyuro’s image, along with his talent for writing infectious retro pop songs blending rockabilly, surf and latin music.
In the late 2000’s, he began to channel his musical efforts into children’s rock n roll with the impending birth of his daughter Presley, leading to the emergence of his alter ego, Mr. Mocos. After performing, producing and self-releasing the CD “You Can Pick Your Friends” in 2008, Gyuro made live appearances as Mocos (his favorite recurring gig was at Reid Park Zoo,) where it was not uncommon to see captivated little tots rocking out to his twangy, energetic melodies.
Gyuro was a staple of the Tucson community, where he was born and lived his entire life. He was a Salpointe Catholic alumnus, starring there in several Poorman’s Theatre productions, most notably as Seymore Krelborn in “Little Shop of Horrors.” Gyuro also graduated from the University of Arizona, and was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity.
He spent several years with Madden Media as a web developer and audio-visual specialist, and in 2003, founded Atomic Sight and Sound, a web design and commercial music composition business. He was also instrumental in the creation of a video news website known as iSeeDavis.com, founded by his sister Cheri.
Gyuro was also known for his appearance in a 2005 television commercial for Casino del Sol, which is how he became known around town as the “Casino Guy.”
Last year, Gyuro broadened his accomplishments to include a witty series of smart phone photographs, documenting the aftermath of his daughter’s playtime entitled “How I Found Barbie.” Selections from the series will be featured with a group exhibit at Le Pavillon Popularie in Montpellier, France from July to October of this year.
A pop-culture obsessive, Gyuro’s affinity for cult movies, wry comedy and independent music was complemented by his love of baseball, Yahtzee, poker, comics, cooking, and of course, his own hair. He was an avid consumer of Dublin Dr. Pepper, and a boundless devotee of Elvis Presley. A meticulous gift-giver, Gyuro also had a reputation among family and friends for expending great amounts of thought and energy into his Christmas list.
Less known was Gyuro’s quiet habit of helping friends who needed it. Always a source of encouragement and consolation, Gyuro used his offbeat, but somehow warm sense of humor to bring relief to even the most stressful situations.
After a diagnosis of cholangiocarcinoma in late September 2010, Gyuro focused all of his energies on his own fierce struggle, and he never stopped fighting.
Of all of Gyuro’s loves, his greatest was his family. He is survived by his wife Amy Haskell, daughter Presley Jane Gyuro, father Al Gyuro, mother Sue Gyuro, brother Paul Gyuro, sister Cheri Gyuro Benson, brother-in-law Stacy Benson, niece Hayley Sue Benson and nephew James Benson.
A memorial fund has been established for the education of Gyuro’s daughter Presley. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to: The Presley Jane Gyuro Educational Fund, Alliance Bank of Arizona, 4703 E. Camp Lowell Drive, Tucson, AZ 85712.
Although the world’s supply of cane-sugar-based Dr. Pepper beverages may now slowly start to be replenished, the Tucson community has lost a unique and dynamic talent with the passing of this delightful and generous man.