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Singer/songwriter/guitarist Jason Mayer, 23, plays his music regularly at North County venues such as Monterrey Bay Canners, the Coyote, and Squid Joe's. The events of this past August 19 are still impacting his life.

"I had gone to see Alice in Chains at the Four O'Clock Friday show at the Del Mar Racetrack. After that, I went to a bonfire at the [Batiquitos] lagoon and then I hit the bars in Carlsbad. [Afterward], I was walking to my condo. I walked past these Mexican dudes at three in the morning. They were drunk, generic vatos. One of these guys goaded me into a fight. He accused me of being a racist. I didn't really have a choice. I got the one guy on the ground, then the others jumped in. I got stabbed in the side."

Because the attack was close to a major Carlsbad street (Tamarack), police and an ambulance were on the scene quickly. The perpetrators were never caught. Mayer, who was uninsured, spent eight days in the hospital.

"They said I may have had internal bleeding, so they cut my stomach all the way open." An eight-inch scar extends from Mayer's groin to his sternum. That surgery led to "...100 stitches and 60 staples. It turned out to be unnecessary; they didn't find anything wrong."

Medical bills now add up to $65,000. Yet, four months after the attack, Mayer still has a patch of gauze taped at the bottom of his scar.

"I have to clean and bandage myself every day. I still have a hole the size of a nickel. My stomach keeps coming undone." He says the hole has reopened four times since the surgery; once it was caused by riding a bike. "The other times it was when I had sex."

Mayer and acoustic partner Matt Sundstedt appear every Thursday at the Flying Bridge in Oceanside, every Sunday at Tom Giblin's in Carlsbad, and every Tuesday at Mas Fina Cantina in Carlsbad.

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