Surfer Blood’s John Paul Pitts On Guitarist Thomas Fekete: “He’s Fighting For His Life”

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5min 46sec
Photo: Surfer Blood
Surfer Blood

2015 has been an up-and-down year for Surfer Blood. The Florida-based indie rock band proved they could create music on their own terms by self-recording and producing the new album "1000 Palms," which is out now via Joyful Noise.

The record's release, however, was marred by the news that the band's guitarist, Thomas Fekete, had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that required him to undergo surgery and leave the band in order to begin chemotherapy.

Additionally, the band's tour van was robbed in Illinois last month. Not only did the members lose several pieces of equipment, but also a collection of cash donations from fans for Fekete's medical expenses.

Surfer Blood singer John Paul Pitts spoke to OpenAir's Daniel Mescher via phone about the recent difficulties the band has faced and how they plan to move forward in spite of them. The band performs at Denver's Lost Lake Lounge on June 16.

Read some highlights from the interview below and stream the audio above.

On the back-to-basics approach of "1000 Palms":

"We signed to a major label when we were a very young band and things got really confused. There were just too many cooks in the kitchen... it was definitely a conscious choice to not overthink and get too many people involved in this whole process."

On Fekete's departure to undergo cancer treatment:

"Thomas was a huge part of this band. His personality, his taste, his hang-ups: it was all part of the fabric of Surfer Blood. It's been very difficult trying to fill that space.

"We miss Thomas every day. We wish he could be here and I know he does too. But he's fighting for his life right now."

On the support for Fekete's through a GoFundMe page and a recent benefit concert:

"It leads to the fact that the people we've met along the way and our fans are apparently very generous people. We had no idea what to expect. We're just overwhelmed by how much support and kindness people have shown to us."