EXODUS singer Steve "Zetro" Souza says that drummer Tom Hunting is "doing really good," a month after he started treatment for squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the stomach.
A GoFundMe campaign to help Hunting with medical expenses has already raised nearly more than $92,000 — 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.
Souza offered an update on Hunting's health during the latest episode of his Zetro's Toxic Vault YouTube series. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I was actually with the whole band last Tuesday. We had a photo shoot. And I've gotta say Tom looks great. And from all of us, and him as well, we wanna thank all of you guys for all of your kind words, all of your financial support. And I want you guys to know that he's one of the strongest individuals I've ever met in my life. That's why he got so much love. He's just such a great, amazing player, as that goes. He's an awesome drummer — an innovator at what he does — and just an overall great dude, and everybody loves him."
He continued: "[Tom's] cut his hair off, and I thought he looks great, dude. I was walking up to him, going, like, 'Hi, I'm Tom Hunting. I'll be selling your house.' He looks so professional. I told him, 'Fuck, dude. I wouldn't grow it back, if I was you.'
"Anyway, he's great, and he looks great, and he's beating this thing. Like he said in the press, he's gonna beat it like a snare drum that owes him money, and he's doing that right now. When you guys hear what he's done on the new record and see him live, it's gonna be really exciting for everyone. It makes it even that much more special as that comes out."
Souza added: "I don't wanna tell too much, because he's very reserved on these types of things and he doesn't really want me to talk about it. I just wanna let you guys know that he's doing really good, and he looks really good, and his attitude and everybody around him is very positive. And that's all I can say. He's gonna lick this thing, no problem. And we'll see you guys back with him right out on the road."
The 56-year-old Hunting revealed the diagnosis in a statement released on April 13. He said at the time: "Today I will be starting treatment for a squamous cell carcinoma. It's a gastric tumor that was diagnosed in my upper stomach in February.
"I'm making this public to raise awareness for people to pay attention to symptoms of stomach and esophageal issues. If they persist, please go get it checked out.
"I'm not gonna be sheepish talking about it. I feel that if I can help someone with what I've learned, or someone out there has information to share with me, it's a win-win! When you can name the enemy, it's empowering, and you're 1 step closer to killing it!
"Ok, you've heard the bad news. The good news is he feels great physically! I'm gonna beat this like a fucking snare drum that owes me money!!! I've had great doctors and a great support system that is an army in itself. I'm ready for the fight!"
After Hunting went public with his diagnosis, EXODUS guitarist Gary Holt said that the band 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.
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