Published in | 09.05.13



9 May, 2013

On the road to recovery, Frenzal Rhomb vocalist Jason Whalley has spoken to about his Valentine’s Day brain surgery to remove a pig tapeworm.

A week before their national tour with Descendents in February, Frenzal Rhomb had to withdraw, citing a “sudden and unexpected illness”, but not mentioning what had happened or to whom.

Waiting until he had an exact diagnosis, Whalley made a detailed statement on the band’s Facebook late March.

“I didn’t want people to be spreading crazy rumors, because these sorts of things – when you have these big life events – they tend to kind of define you for a while,” Whalley told theMusic.

On a trip to Central America four years ago, Whalley believes he ate a vegetarian burrito that had been contaminated by a pig parasite. It traveled to his brain where it lived in a mucus cocoon until it died. The body rejected it and began causing seizures.

“It was a really stressful time for my family and for me, and I dealt with it quite badly at that point. I was really miserable, pretty depressed,” he said. “Every time I think about it I think, ‘Man, a lot of people have to go through that and they get the really bad diagnosis’. I feel like I’ve dodged a bullet.”

Having already played a show with his other band, Chinese Burns Unit, at the end of April, Whalley returns to the stage with Frenzal Rhomb this May to tour Western and South Australia.

“I’m feeling like 100 percent, back to my normal crap fitness before all this shit happened, so I think it’s going to be really fun. Frenzal Rhomb is like my favourite thing ever to do, and so being able to get back to it after they said, ‘You could have brain cancer and we don’t know what kind it is, but we think it’s probably a melanoma or something horrific like that’, to playing shows again about 12 weeks later is pretty amazing, you know.

“I’m just looking forward to getting back to something normal – swearing at people.”

Able to joke about the situation (on the band’s Facebook he labels himself “Ham Solo”, “Notorious P.I.G” and “Oink182”), Whalley said any resulting songs might be of a more serious tone than fans are used to.

“I’m kind of now looking back on it and thinking, ‘How can I express this creatively?’. I’m not going to write just some dumb song about whatever. But like I said, even though it was a pretty weird and disgusting outcome, it wasn’t the worst and there’s definitely people going through worse shit than me.”

Frenzal Rhomb will be playing the following dates:

Wednesday 15 May – The Prince Of Wales, Bunbury, WA
Thursday 16 May – Players, Mandurah, WA

Friday 17 May – Indi Bar, Scarborough, WA

Saturday 18 May – Rosemount, Perth, WA

Friday 21 June – Unibar, Adelaide, SA

Saturday 22 June – Shadows, Mt Gambier, SA

Reporting by Daniel Cribb