Bitterman Circle has not become merely a cancer status website; it just seems that many of our friends have either gotten sick or left us  recently. Gungi Paterson is someone I met in 1995 when I toured with Megadeth. He was the front of house mixer on that tour. It wasn’t the first time I saw him though as I clearly remember (and that’s saying something) in 1988 going to a Judas Priest show on a day off in Austin and seeing that the front of house desk was set up on the floor instead of on a riser. It seemed crazy to me until the band was about to come on and I realized that the mixer didn’t need it to see over the crowd. The guy was friggin’ TALL.

At 6 feet, 11 and 3/4 inches, Gungi has been for a long time one of the easily recognizable sound guys out there. He also had the reputation of being one of the loudest and clearest mixers on the road. I remember the PA blowing my (then existent) hair around that night in ’88 and being wowed by him in ’95 when I would wander out to hear if he could make the un-round clear plexiglass drums I was teching sound like actual drums. That he did and he was pretty good at loosening plaster and other things from the ceiling to give the kids something to remember from a Megadeth show other than the bruises and missing hair from being in the pit.

He has since then done what many able road people have done and put on multiple hats in order to keep working, providing tour and production management services to those artists who need dual roles from their employees in order to keep costs manageable.

Last summer he found a lump in his neck and doctors were not able to pinpoint the primary cancer source. As with traditional western medicine, the slash and burn treatment was recommended to him, surgery and high dose radiation. It would have left him pretty screwed up if he survived. He and his family decided on a different, more natural approach which though viewed as more risky by some, could provide a solution which is less damaging.

Today I received a link to a new website called Friends of Gungi which can give you further details on his condition, his experience with alternate treatments and a PayPal link if you want to help him and his family out with the growing expenses from his treatment. Anyone who has been through treatment for a major problem like cancer knows how expensive it is and when you start taking to doctors whom are seriously “out of network” you might as well double or triple them as insurers are a pretty fickle bunch.

As most of the Bitterman readers are road people and/or freelancers you know that  benefits are something people with real jobs have. If you can, give a little bit back to the community you come from and perhaps it will be there for you when you need it. My friend Gungi’s attitude is nothing short of unbelievable about his situation as you can learn from the site:

I am an experiment in process, I believe that I will regain my whole health and show our friends and peers in this business that there is a different way to approach the cancers that I believe will be the curse of our generation and the generations to come.

No fear, no pity only courage and strength.

– Gungi

Please visit the site and if you can, please give.

Friends of Gungi

(Thanks to Gavin for the link!)