EXODUS drummer Tom Hunting says that he is "thankful for the science" that helped him in his battle with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the stomach. The 56-year-old made the comment just three weeks after he rejoined his bandmates on stage at the Aftershock festival in Sacramento, California. The concert marked the musician's first appearance with EXODUS since undergoing a successful total gastrectomy in July.
Tom discussed his cancer battle during an October 27 interview with "The Classic Metal Show". He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "It's just some stuff that some of us are gonna have to go through. I'm very thankful for the science and what they were able to do to turn a bad situation around for me. I think I got lucky — I'm a lot more lucky than brave, that's for sure.
"As far as perspective changes, I definitely don't think I sweat the small stuff anymore as much," he continued. "Things that used to stress me out or whatever, it just ain't worth it anymore. But I'm in a good place now. I was able to rejoin the band, and that felt great. I got to do one show with them back so far, and we're doing another one next month.
"I don't have any limitations — dietary, physical or whatever," Hunting explained. "I'm in a good place right now. I'm pretty lucky. They can't find cancer in me right now. And believe me — they're poking and prodding and doing screenshots of my guts and innards all the time. They use words like 'markers' and 'margins,' and all of my markers and margins are just good right now. They got it all; that's what they told me. I won't say [I'm] cancer free, because I don't wanna jinx it. But they're cautiously optimistic. They say I have a lot to celebrate right now, so I'm celebrating, bro."
EXODUS tapped John Tempesta to play drums for the band at Psycho Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada in August and at Full Terror Assault in Cave In Rock, Illinois in September while Hunting was recovering from surgery. Tempesta was a member of EXODUS from 1989 until 1993 and played on the band's albums "Impact Is Imminent" (1990) and "Force Of Habit" (1992).
When Hunting announced his absence from Psycho Las Vegas and Full Terror Assault, he said in a statement: "I need to manage my own expectations, and then work my very core back into shape to be fully ready for action. I have no doubt I'll bounce back and get there."
A GoFundMe campaign to help Hunting with medical expenses had previously raised more than $114,000 — 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.
EXODUS will release its new album, "Persona Non Grata", on November 19 via Nuclear Blast Records. The LP 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. For the third time in the band's history, they returned to Swedish artist Pär Olofsson to create the album artwork.
"Persona Non Grata" is 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 Steve "Zetro" Souza, who previously fronted EXODUS from 1986 to 1993 and from 2002 to 2004.