This morning I was catching up on Facebook, and saw an interesting Tym Guitars post. Tym Guitars is based out of Brisbane, Australia and makes some great stuff from pedals to guitars and hosts some pretty awesome shows there. They just recently posted a photo of a limited run of Squirelsound pedal which is inspired by Shellac released a year ago – “The pedal and artwork is obviously based on the famous Intersound IVP rack pre-amp as used by Steve and has NOS 1N695 diodes as used in the Harmonic Percolator, also made famous by Steve.” He mentioned that proceeds were going to a film project – Rock vs. Cancer. I need to learn more about this…
Rock vs. Cancer lives on Facebook, and is a project documenting John Grabski III who was diagnosed with cancer in 2007 and passed away in 2012. You can read about John written by Albini here. Before he passed away, he wanted to record his band Teeth, but not only record it, but have it recorded by Steve Albini. Rock vs. Cancer is a film documenting those days in the studio.
Here is more info on John and the project:
John Grabski III was a drummer who, like many musicians, relegated his love of music to a mere hobby, but when his life suddenly took a drastic turn, rock music became his refuge.
John was first diagnosed with cancer in 2007. He was told he had testicular cancer but soon it was clear he also had a tumor in his abdomen, and then cancer appeared in his chest. As more and more cancer presented itself, John endured chemo, radiation and multiple surgeries. He almost died many times, but in November of 2008 John received the good news … he was in remission.
John began to go back to life. He got a job, he spent time with his family, he formed a band. Then, in the summer of 2011, he learned his cancer was back and this time it was incurable.
Rather than let cancer dictate his life, John decided to face reality head-on, with realism, a sense of humor, and love for life, family, and rock & roll. He decided it was time to start checking things off his bucket list. First up, record a rock album with legendary music producer Steve Albini.
Based in Chicago, Steve Albini of Electrical Audio Studios is best known for his work with Nirvana, PJ Harvey, the Pixies, Bush and Jimmy Page & Robert Plant. On the close to 2,000 albums he’s worked on, he prefers to be known as recording engineer rather than producer and refuses to take royalties from the bands he works with. Steve also plays music himself and is part of the grunge band Shellac. He cites John’s album “Teeth: The Strain” as one of the most meaningful projects he’s ever worked on.
ROCK VS. CANCER is an in-depth look at John’s final days as he made his way to Chicago to record with Steve, fulfilling his life-long dream. Through insurmountable odds, John left behind a hate letter to cancer and a love letter to life, assembled within the construct of a 30 minute rock & roll LP. Rock critic Everett True describes John’s album “The Strain” as, in essence, “One of the finest of its genre in a decade.” Cancer may have claimed John’s body but it never claimed the character, dignity, or music behind the man. Join us as we relive John’s last days and prove that when it’s rock vs. cancer, rock wins!
Our mission with this film is to raise money to help those with cancer, especially young adults. All net proceeds from ROCK VS. CANCER will be donated to fund cancer research and help support those with cancer. The proceeds will be split evenly between Sands Cancer Center in upstate NY where John received treatment during his time with the disease and Stupid Cancer, the largest charity that comprehensively addresses young adult cancer through advocacy, research, support, outreach, awareness, mobile health and social media.
The Facebook page is active, but the Indiegogo page is closed. If you’re interested in contributing / donating, you might want to contact them through the Facebook page. You can purchase The Strain by Teeth on their bandcamp. Let me know what you think by commenting below!