When hearing news of The Expendables bassist Ryan DeMars and his diagnosis of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, The Pier reached out to the Silverback Music and Management Family. After posting on social networks the news back in September ’12, we sent our condolences and love to The Expendies with hopes of sharing how to support Ryan. With help of The Expendables Management Team and Ryan DeMars himself, we were able to get some insight on how Ryan is kicking cancer to the curb.
The Pier appreciates Ryan’s effort to set aside time for us and to share his healing story. As of early December 2012, Ryan was reunited with the band on stage in Santa Barbara, California. Read and find out how Ryan is rocking his treatment and what The Expendables bassist has been up to.
The Pier: First and foremost, how are you doing Ryan? Are you back home in Santa Cruz?
Ryan DeMars: I’m doing and feeling pretty good at the moment and I’m looking forward to moving on from all this craziness. I’ve been home in Santa Cruz taking my time recovering since August 2012.
The Pier: Your music with The Expendables has reached out to so many people, uplifting spirits and creating great vibes. Have you done anything musically while you have been healing?
Ryan DeMars: It was really hard to know that the boys were gonna go on a 2 month tour without me. I was a little bummed that they had to make sacrifices and work their asses off while I just felt helpless sitting on my ass for nearly half a year. A majority of the time I was home, I felt like complete shit but the way my chemo schedule worked allowed me to feel good and full of energy a week before each time I had treatment. I didn’t pick up my guitar or notebook right away on those good weeks but instead took the time to clean, organize, and “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” our home studio that looked like a tornado ran through it the day the tour started. So after all the cleaning up was done, I finally set my home studio up in a separate area from the main practice/recording area of our studio and got to work. When the guys got home they were pumped on how the studio was cleaned up and we’ve been working on dozens of new ideas and songs. The creative song writing juices are flowing as hard as ever for the band and I right now.
The Pier: With small announcements at shows and social networks, I found out that you are going through chemotherapy and are doing quite well! How much longer do you have left in your treatment so you can head on to recovery?
Ryan DeMars: The type of cancer I had was a slow acting Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma but it was acting aggressively. So my oncologist wanted an aggressive treatment of chemotherapy. Basically my chemo cocktail is called RCHOP, a mix of strong chemical drugs, and I get it every 3 weeks through an I.V. for 6 treatments. The infusion takes about 6 hours and side affects feel like an extreme hangover/flu for about 9 days then I slowly start feeling better all the way to the 3 week mark when I go through the cycle all over again. After my first treatment we were optimistic when my arm pain went away and when the original lump in my armpit disappeared as well. My doc said that after the 6th treatment I should be good as ever and free to move on, but for me I need to see the PET CT scan to show I am cancer free.
The Pier: Have the doctors given you a time frame for when you can join back up with The Expendables?
Ryan DeMars: My doc doesn’t want me on stage until February 2014 but I will be doing all shows from here on out.
The Pier: Eric Walsh from Pour Habit jumped on the bass for the Domination Tour. Were you able to work with him before the tour to get your take on how to play bass for the band? If so, how did that go? Did you get a chance to see (either in person or via camera) how he did?
Ryan DeMars: When we heard the news, only one replacement came to mind. Not only is Eric a fast learner and ripping guitar player but he fits a very rare personality profile that works with our family. We were on tour with Rebelution in Florida when I got the news so we called him 3 weeks before the Domination Tour started and asked if he was down and like we expected, he didn’t hesitate to say yes. We told him to start learning our more popular songs and when we got back from Florida, Eric flew up and we started our crash course of bass lessons. After a week of 1 on 1, I stepped aside and let him figure out the rest with the guys. Eric had never played bass before so not only did he need to learn the lines but also the techniques like sitting in the pocket. He did a great job!!! Thank you Eric I owe you one.
The Pier: On the Domination Tour, the merch table was selling green Positive Mind bracelets to support your road to recovery. Can fans still purchase those bracelets anywhere?
Ryan DeMars: They are almost gone but you can buy them at our shows. Check our online store soon as well. We were talking about keeping the wristbands going even after my treatment so we can continue to support cancer patients.
The Pier: Once hearing the news on social networks, fans instantly connected and supported with positive words and donations. Often with their own personal stories and associations with cancer survivors, how can fans continue to support?
Ryan DeMars: Fans can support by showing love at our shows like they always do but if you would like to make a donation to our cancer support fund you can transfer funds to Bank of America (Account number 164100325932 / routing number 121000358). Or make a check out to DeMars Trust and send it to The Expendables Cancer Fund at:
Silverback Artist Management
Attn: DeMars Trust
1013 N. Orange Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90038
The Pier: Thank you for sharing such a personal life story with us Ryan! We want to be able to share with the fans how you are doing and how they can support! We wish you a speedy recovery! Much light & love!
Ryan: Thank you guys for the love and support. I look forward to new music and ripping shows.
The Expendables Links:
The Expendables Editorials
The Expendables Show Locator
The Expendables Website
The Expendables Facebook
Interview By: Alyssa Torres
Photos By: Kit Chalberg, Amanda Zancanella & Bill Colbridge
Watch: The Expendables – “Wells” ft. G. Love Official Music Video