NEVERMORE Guitarist STEVE SMYTH On Kidney Failure: 'I Will Fight This, And I Will Be Back'

NEVERMORE guitarist Steve Smyth (ex-TESTAMENT) — who was recently diagnosed with end-stage kidney failure (the result of a congenital birth defect) — has posted the following message on his official web site:

"Hi, everyone. Just wanted to clue everyone in as to my situation, and why you will see me in very limited fashion onstage with NEVERMORE in the coming months.

"Around mid-October 2005, I was in a London hospital, undergoing arthroscopic surgery for my right knee, which turned out had been badly sprained during our last headlining show in Athens, Greece two days earlier.

"During my stay at the hospital, numerous blood tests were done, one of which revealed that the level of protein in my body, better known in medical terms as creatinine, was raised well beyond a normal level, 4.9. Normal is 1-2. I was advised by doctors there to see my MD as soon as I got back home, which was following our tour with OPETH in the U.S., around late November 2005.

"After several blood tests, urine tests, and ultimately, X-rays, ultrasounds, and CT scans, doctors came to a few conclusions about my condition. It was revealed that I was born with one kidney, and because of a congenital birth defect, I had an obstruction on my ureter, which was causing my solitary kidney to 'eat' itself over the years, to a point where it is now 85% destroyed. Now, as of late April 2006, I am facing 'complete renal failure' within 6 months. This is called end stage renal failure, or CKD, of which I am on the edge of Stage 4-5. I have had 'stent placement' surgery, around 3 months ago, and that seemed to help things for a bit, but things haven't really changed either.

I have been advised by my doctors that I could continue to tour, but that I might not make it through the next one, which would be the IN FLAMES tour. I have had both a doctor and a registered nurse/transplant coordinator tell me that I could go ahead with touring, but this 'failure' could occur at any time, and through the process of weekly blood tests, I would be aware well in advance of when to 'come off the road.'

"To be fair to myself and out of concern for my lovely fiancée, family, my closest friends, and out of respect and fairness to the band, our crew, and especially the fans of NEVERMORE, I decided it is best not to pursue this tour. However, I will perform at the European Festivals in June, Gods of Metal (Italy), Rock Hard (Germany), Rott Fest (Ireland), and Sweden Rock Festival, after which time doctors will have determined the next step in treatment for me.

"The suggested treatment is a kidney transplant, for which I have so far comprised a list of a few willing donors, and hope to be able to find more along the way. The wait time for a deceased donor is 3-5 years (in the event that my list of donors does not work out), with the worst case scenario being that I will end up on dialysis, waiting that entire time to receive a kidney.

"In the meantime, I intend to carry on developing my internet teaching business, pursuing a teaching career at a top notch music school (those that know me know I have been a private teacher for the last 20 years in my 'off time'), and to finish my instrumental project album, 'The EssenEss Project', with Steve Hoffman and Atma Anur, which is already about 75% tracked. For more info on both, please don't hesitate to visit or send me an email. I'll gladly add you to my e-mailing list!

"The band has hired on Chris Broderick [JAG PANZER] to fill in for my absence during this time, and I have complete faith that Chris will go out there and kick ass and do a great job!

"To really be completely honest about how I feel physically, and mentally, I have to admit, I feel fine! I have had to quit drinking, smoking, and change my diet, all pretty big changes, and all not without their challenges! But I have met each one along the way, head-on, and succeeded, the same way I have approached, and intend to beat, this! I do feel tired every now and again, but it feels no different than the way I have always felt. Maybe because I have had this for my entire life and not known it, and am therefore used to it. That's the funny thing I suppose about CKD. You don't really know you have it, and as long as doctors detect it early, they can do something about it. As for how I feel mentally, I am upset about not being able to tour, which is something I still love to do, and something I think a lot of musicians out there take for granted.

"I love travelling, playing for people, meeting new faces, and seeing old familiar ones as well, seeing new places, and revisiting old ones! I am going to miss that a lot, and definitely cherish what I have experienced in my 'metal' life so far, and can only hope I will be able to do more in the future. I also don't take for granted the time I have spent in various bands I have been in, including my time in VICIOUS RUMORS, TESTAMENT, DRAGONLORD, and NEVERMORE. Many memories, a lot of great times, working with a ton of awesome musicians and incredible music industry people along the way, recording some killer metal albums, and a lot of great gigs/tours I'll never forget, getting to meet/share stages with my heroes, working with great musical instrument companies, and working with awesome guitar magazines, the list goes on and on!

"I will say this for now: I will fight this, and I will be back!

"If anyone out there has some information to share, or just wants to give a shout, please don't hesitate to e-mail me at [email protected] I'd love to hear from you."

NEVERMORE announced last week that their bass player and one of the founding members Jim Sheppard will soon be undergoing a minor procedure for Crohn's Disease, a condition he's managed for over 15 years. Unable to perform with the band during the first part of their upcoming tour with IN FLAMES, Sheppard will be temporarily replaced longtime friend James MacDonough (ex-MEGADETH, ICED EARTH).

NEVERMORE, who just wrapped up a series of dates with ARCH ENEMY, will be supporting DISTURBED across Europe this fall. After their touring activity the band will be taking time off to write the follow-up to last year’s critically acclaimed album "This Godless Endeavor".


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