Guitarist’s songs help him heal
After guitarist Thomas Fekete left West Palm Beach indie-rock band Surfer Blood last spring to battle cancer, he kept tinkering with new music in his bedroom.
This week, Fekete released “Burner,” a collection of songs recorded over the summer while he recovered from chemothera- py and surgeries. All proceeds from the album, offered through Surfer Blood’s label, Joyful Noise, as a cassette ($8) and digital download ($7), will fund his cancer treatments.
“Burner” is 11 demo tracks of warbling sonic experimentation, washed-out noise and hauntingly soft, plaintive vocals by Fekete, an uncommon side of the guitarist for fans familiar with Surfer Blood’s polished and jang- ly rock.
Made on a four-track recorder between March and June, Fekete’s first solo album is full of meditations on “walking, talking and functioning like a normal human being,” he writes in a statement on his record label’s website.
“Some of these songs reflect on good times, days I’m able to walk on my own,” Fekete writes. “Others remind me of barfing between vocal takes, wheelchairs, Dilaudid withdrawals, and tears, from my family, my spouse, my dear friends. However, like everything in my life, I did manage to find some humor in my situation, and I hope that helps level out all the heavy stuff.”
“Burner” is the latest effort to raise money for Fekete’s mounting medical bills, after friends set up a GoFundMe page in April. Surfer Blood likewise staged several benefit shows in West Palm Beach and beyond.
In May, on a tour supporting the band’s recent album “1,000 Palms,” thieves allegedly broke into Surfer Blood’s touring van in Chicago, stealing music equipment and cash donations for Fe- kete. And in November, Fekete’s label raised $48,000 via Kickstarter after releasing a compilation album of songs by Yo La Tengo, Cults, Guided by Voices and others.
In a Dec. 10 post on Fekete’s Facebook page, his wife, Jessica, said the guitarist will start a new round of therapy in January, after doctors discovered his cancer “mutated and became resistant to Thomas’ current chemotherapy regimen.”