Kevin Carlberg, singer-guitarist for the jam band Pseudopod, was understandably nervous about revisiting Colorado recently. His last trip there was scary, to say the least.
When the Southern California band arrived in Fort Collins last November for a show, Carlberg began experiencing a painful headache that only got worse as the day went on. At first, he assumed it was just a reaction to the region’s high altitude, but band mates Brian Fox (bass), Ross Grant (guitar) and Tim McGregor (drums) grew worried after he began vomiting and complained of dizziness.
“After a while, the guys were like, ‘This doesn’t look like altitude sickness,’ ” Carlberg said recently. “They took me to a hospital that day and the doctors thought it was migraines, but they wanted to make sure so they did a CAT-scan and they found a malignant brain tumor. There was no pre-warning, so it was a shocker.”
Doctors told Carlberg that the tumor had been growing in his brain for possibly a year and a half to two years. Being in mountainous Colorado was actually a blessing, they told him, because the air pressure caused the tumor to swell; otherwise, the tumor would have grown bigger and more life-threatening.
“It was a frightening thing,” Carlberg said. “I’ve never felt pain like that before. I couldn’t even open my eyes. I guess I scared the crap out of everybody.”
After months of rest and treatment, Carlberg is back in front of Pseudopod, resuming a tour in support of their 2002 self-titled debut album (on Interscope). The first official single, “All Over You,” has been added to AAA radio nationwide.
“I’m just excited to be back on the road,” Carlberg said. “The label’s been so supportive. We had that long hiatus and they picked it up where we left off.
“We went back to Colorado, doing three shows in Colorado Springs. I didn’t know what I was expecting, but I had to do it. I just had to conquer Colorado.
“People will see that my hair’s in a little mohawk. It’s supposed to grow back in a month or two. I see hairs sparking up here and there. I did my radiation treatment and I’m still doing my chemo. I take a pill while I’m on the road.”
The experience has given Carlberg a new perspective on life. He doesn’t sweat the small stuff anymore.
“I ended up reading the biography of Lance Armstrong, who had cancer,” he said. “When he was going through it, someone who also had cancer came up to him and said, ‘We’re the lucky ones.’ He didn’t get what it meant, but after he beat it, he did understand because you see things in a whole different way, enjoying life to the fullest. All those little sayings, like ‘don’t take anything for granted,’ sound like cliches, but they’re so true. I got married in January, and I couldn’t be happier.”
Most of all, Carlberg is thankful for the group’s loyal fans.
“They gave me so many positive thoughts and prayers,” he said. “I just want them to know that I’m feeling great. I’m going to beat this puppy; I know I am.”
ORDER “PSEUDOPOD”: Click here.
ON THE WEB: www.pseudopod.net.
BWF (before we forget): Upcoming tour dates – May 17, San Francisco, Red Devil Lounge; May 24, San Diego, Blind Melons.
More updates: Joe Henry, Marcus King, Lily Kershaw, Poliça, Sarah Brightman, Jerry Leger, Simple Minds, Grateful Dead, etc