How Terminal Illness Helped One Seattle Musician Find His Voice

Spalding (Left)
Photo Cred: Sarah Joann Murphy

"The living room of John Spalding's humble yet artfully appointed West Seattle residence feels much like the home of any creative 30-something. The decor is a mix of photos and paintings by friends of Spalding and his wife, Jody, wood carvings from around the world, and mismatched furniture. There's an old record player and a copy of No Lord Shall Live, a live album by Behead the Prophet, one of Spalding's favorite Northwest bands. There's also an pooch named Skooter giving me a once-over while Jody heads for the door and asks Spalding if he needs anything from the store. "No, we're OK on protein bars," he says.

The only item that feels very out of place in the home of such a young, obviously-in-love couple is the portable oxygen-yielding condenser on the coffee table. Spalding has terminal lung cancer, and an estimated two to five months to live; the device is essential for his breathing. He was diagnosed with the aggressive disease four years ago. Originating in his colon, the cancer cells eventually metastasized to his lungs, and Spalding has subsequently undergone more than 80 rounds of chemotherapy and multiple surgeries—and perhaps most astonishingly, a spiritual and creative growth spurt culminating in the release of what will be his band LoveLand's debut and swan song. The Beautiful Truth has been many years in the making, and is the result of Spalding's collaborations with an esteemed cast of celebrated local musicians, including members of Minus the Bear, Pretty Girls Make Graves, These Arms Are Snakes, Botch, and Helms Alee..." - Hannah Levin @ Seattle Weekly

Read the full article here and check out the collab The Beautiful Truth on the LoveLand myspace

Also check out Helm's Alee on the rest of their west coast dates

11/14 San Diego, CA @ SOMA w/ Minus the Bear, Annuals
11/15 Pomona, CA @ Glass House w/ Minus the Bear, Annuals
11/16 Los Angeles, CA @ Henry Fonda Theatre w/ Minus the Bear, Annuals
11/18 Sacramento, CA @ Empire w/ Minus the Bear, Annuals
11/19 San Francisco, CA @ Bimbo's 365 Club w/ Minus the Bear, Annuals