San Francisco Bay Area thrashers EXODUS have tapped John Tempesta to play drums for the band at two upcoming festivals — at Psycho Las Vegas on August 22 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada and at Full Terror Assault on September 11 at Hogrock Campground in Cave In Rock, Illinois — while Tom Hunting is recovering from surgery.
Tempesta was a member of EXODUS from 1989 until 1993 and played on the band's albums "Impact Is Imminent" (1990) and "Force Of Habit" (1992).
EXODUS said in a statement: "Due to Tom's continued recovery from his surgery, we are announcing that for our show in Vegas and Full Terror Assault , we will be joined by @johntempesta on drums! John was Tom's ( and our) number one choice to jump behind the kit in his absence, and John will kill it while Tom continues his recovery, which is going very well! Looking forward to seeing everyone who is coming to Vegas for the show. And looking forward to getting Tom healthy and back behind his kit as soon as possible! But let's welcome John back for two shows where he started!"
Added Hunting: "Hey Y'all. I'm 5 weeks out from the surgery and on the mend. I'm feeling stronger all the time and I'm beyond excited to get back to working out on the drums. Unfortunately I won't be ready for the upcoming Vegas and Full Terror Assault shows. Originally I thought if I could walk, I could play. I need to manage my own expectations, and then work my very core back into shape to be fully ready for action. I have no doubt I'll bounce back and get there. I wanna express my undying love and gratitude to our brother Johnny Tempesta for agreeing to play in my absence. I'm 100% sure he will crush playing this music! I'll check in again very soon. Thanks Soooo Much And CHEERS EVERYONE!!!!"
Said Tempesta: "I'm very excited and honored to fill in for my brother Tom as heals from surgery. Looking forward to these shows and being back with the EXODUS family!"
Last month, Hunting underwent a successful total gastrectomy in his battle with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the stomach.
According to Cancer.org, a total gastrectomy is done if the cancer has spread widely in the stomach. It is also often advised if the cancer is in the upper part of the stomach, near the esophagus.
On July 5, Hunting said that he had four rounds of chemotherapy and that "the mass [had] shrunk to less than half the size it was in March… After recovery [from gastrectomy], I get four more treatments, then I can resume my life cancer-free."
According to Cancer.org, a total gastrectomy involves the surgeon removing the entire stomach, nearby lymph nodes, and the omentum, and possibly removing the spleen and parts of the esophagus, intestines, pancreas, or other nearby organs if the cancer has reached them. The end of the esophagus is then attached to part of the small intestine. This allows food to move down the intestinal tract. But people who have had their stomach removed can only eat a small amount of food at a time. Because of this, they will need to eat more often.
A GoFundMe campaign to help Hunting with medical expenses had previously raised more than $108,000 — including $5,000 from Tom's former EXODUS bandmate, current METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett, and $1,500 from FOZZY singer and wrestling superstar Chris Jericho.
After Hunting went public with his diagnosis, guitarist Gary Holt said that EXODUS will "delay" the release of its recently completed new album, "Persona Non Grata", "so that when Tom has defeated this, he will be back to full strength to hit the road and pummel his drums like only he can! When he has kicked cancer's ass like we know he will, we will resume kicking YOUR asses with the sickest record yet!" he said.
The squamous cell carcinoma of the stomach is a very uncommon entity, with worldwide incidence of 0.04% to 0.07% of all gastric cancers.
"Persona Non Grata" will be the follow-up to 2014's "Blood In Blood Out", which was the San Francisco Bay Area thrashers' first release since the departure of the group's lead singer of nine years, Rob Dukes, and the return of Souza, who previously fronted EXODUS from 1986 to 1993 and from 2002 to 2004.
"Persona Non Grata" was recorded at a studio in Lake Almanor, California and was engineered by Steve Lagudi and EXODUS. It was produced by EXODUS and was mixed by Andy Sneap.
Photo courtesy of John Tempesta's Facebook page