Atlanta progressive metallers MASTODON have cancelled their previously announced summer tour, which was scheduled to launch in Germany on June 5 and wrap in Finland on July 3. The band's guitarist, Bill Kelliher, was diagnosed with pancreatitis (a sudden inflammation of the pancreas which can have severe complications and high mortality despite treatment) and was advised by doctors to pursue further medication. Doctors are optimistic and expect a full recovery in the coming weeks for Bill, as the band is eager to take part in the BlackDiamondSkye tour (also featuring ALICE IN CHAINS and DEFTONES), which is scheduled to kick off in Chicago on September 16.
MASTODON cancelled its April 27 concert in Rochester, New York due to Kelliher's illness, but went ahead and played in Grand Rapids, Michigan on April 29, with Peter Adams and John Baizley from opening act BARONESS filling in for Bill.
Kelliher's pancreatitis previously sidelined him in November 2008 while MASTODON was on tour with SLAYER in Europe.
Bill recently spoke to U.K.'s Kerrang! magazine about his battle with alcoholism following his earlier bout with pancreatitis and how it may affect his status in MASTODON.
"It was a serious condition I had," he told the magazine. "The doctor said I was lucky to be alive and that I could've been dead if I hadn't gone to hospital when I did. It took me about two months just to get up and bum around again, eating solid food. When you get a health scare like that it's a wake-up call, I guess.
"After that I stopped — the doctor told me I can't drink alcohol anymore. The partying has calmed down a lot. It really needs to totally stop but it's not that easy when everybody around you is drinking, partying and having a good time. It's definitely a disease, alcoholism, and I'm not cured of it yet. I'm still in the phase of trying to deal with it myself and get out of that phase but I don't know if that means I'd have to leave the band or what.
"It never really crossed my mind (to the leave the band) 'till recently but talking to my wife back home, she's really upset that'd I'd risk my life just for beer or alcohol. When I'm home it's a lot easier to regulate it. Just recently I've been feeling like I don't know what I'm going to do — am I going to have to check into rehab or something? — because I really need to go all the way with this."
MASTODON's latest album, "Crack The Skye", sold 41,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 11 on The Billboard 200 chart.