Bruce Peninsula Gets A Little Help From Their Friends To Help A Friend

Published On January 25, 2011 | By admin | Featured Artists, Features

On December 20th of 2010, the members of Bruce Peninsula (BP) gathered to celebrate the completion of their second record, which is to be titled Open Flames, and to plan what would be a very busy couple months leading up to the record’s March release date.  The next day BP member Neil Haverty – the man with that unmistakable raspy voice that hits you right in the gut – was admitted to Princes Margaret hospital and diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia; a cancer of the blood and bone marrow.  The silver lining in this diagnosis is that this type of Leukemia is highly treatable, with a 95% cure rate and an 80% chance that it will not return.

Bruce Peninsula

Photo Credit: Yuula Benivolski

Needless to say this news hit the rest of BP hard and they immediately decided to delay the release of Open Flames, which had a March release date, indefinitely until Haverty has made a full recovery.  BP member Matt Cully described in a phone interview how he and the rest of BP dealt with the news:

For me its was a three pronged reaction because Neil is also my friend and room-mate as well as band-mate… I called the rest of the band and told them the news, and everyone had a similar reaction.  First it was a feeling of shock that Neil had been diagnosed, then confusion of how to deal with the news, and then we all felt a compulsion to help in some way.  That is how the idea for the fundraiser show came about.  The contributions and donations from the show will go towards helping Neil and his family deal with the financial burdens that inevitably come along with a prolonged illness.

The show Cully refers to is The C is For Cure fundraiser which is  taking place at the Music Gallery on Saturday, January 29th.  Starting with a matinee show at 3:00 and evening show at 7:00, and features the following stellar acts; Lake Vernon Drowning, Steven McKay, The Deeep, Kith & Kin, Snowblink, Evening Hymns, Austra, and Timber Timbre.  This line-up offers a rare opportunity to see many heavy hitters in the Toronto music community on the same stage.  For Cully and the rest of BP the gesture of these musicians offering their support means a lot. “It renewed my faith in the fact that there is a tight knit musical community in Toronto that we are apart of… It’s good to see that when shit goes down people are going to step up and do something outside of themselves.”

Despite the undeniably strong line-up, Cully was quick to point out that it wasn’t his intention to put on something that had the sense of grandeur of a benefit show like Live Aid or SARS-fest.  “It’s not like this show is at Lee’s Palace and we’re like ‘we got the Constantines to reunite!’… These [performers] are people that know Neil very well, they are his friends and friends of Bruce Peninsula.”  The gesture of a community coming together to help one of their own definitely helps Haverty stay positive about his situation.  Cully stated that despite the major peaks and valleys that are associated with cancer treatment, Haverty is keeping a good sense of humour about everything.  In an interview to Exclaim Haverty was clear about his determination for a quick recovery, saying “I’ll fight this bitch with everything I’ve got.”  Cully mentioned Havety is scheduled to be released from the hospital shortly, a positive sign that he is on pace for that quick recovery everyone is hoping for.

Although it is a bit disappointing that Open Flames will be delayed in its release, Cully made it clear that Haverty, himself and the rest of BP are not easing off on their creative pursuits.  “Everyone was getting a little stressed about a March release date because there was so much to do before that time.  Now that we know we won’t be able to do a full release for about 6 months, it gives us an opportunity to work on other things.”  Those other things include more recording of BP songs and keeping in touch with their fan base.  “We are planning on releasing about 2 songs a month, either covers or stuff that didn’t make the albulm and we have an EP in the can that will be released soon.  Plus we all have our own solo projects that we will be working on in the meantime.”  Cully said all this activity will lead up to a “Bruce Peninsula Bomb” in the fall when they will go ahead with the full release of the new record.

It looks as though nothing can prevent the BP family from creating the soul-feeding music they are known for.  So if you want to see what is sure to be an amazing show at the music gallery you better act quick, becuase tickets are going fast.  Or if you are unable to attend but still want to contribute to this great cause, you can do so here.  Either way keep your eyes peeled for news about Bruce Peninsula’s activities in the near future.

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