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Photo on left: Darryn Kelly

“I was diagnosed with a polyp on my vocal chords,” says singer/guitarist Darryn Kelly, whose band Heretic had to cancel their recent record release gig at Eleven. “My throat had been sore for a few weeks and I kept powering through it. I finally saw an ear, nose, and throat specialist and, within seconds of looking down my throat with his scope, he said I had a large polyp on my vocal chords that would require surgery to remove.”

“The first thing that went through my head was ‘Oh shit, this is serious.’ The second thing was canceling our upcoming show, and then I thought ‘I hope to God I’ll still be able to sing.’” Kelly’s diagnosis indicated the polyp could have been caused by stress, overuse, or acid reflux, or “Ironically, I was taking an antibiotic to treat the sore throat, and it was upsetting my stomach and causing problems with heartburn.”

“Right now, I can’t even talk, let alone sing,” says Kelly, who moved to San Diego from Indiana in summer 2001. “I have insurance until the end of the month, when I lose it due to being laid off from my job.”

Heretic had already taken most of the previous year off from performing. “Our last bassist [Deyan Dontchev] was in the Navy, and we were all operating under the impression that he wouldn’t be getting deployed. Well, he got sent out on a nine month deployment in the Middle East.” The band ended up replacing Dontchev with Mike Byrnes, who was due to make his concert debut with the band at the record release party.

Kelly’s recent surgery went well. However, “The recovery process will take longer than I had planned. It was a full week before I could even talk again.”

Then, another bit of hard luck. “Our drummer Brian was out with his sister and some friends the weekend before my surgery and they were drinking. So he called up a friend of his to give him a ride and this girl came and picked him up from wherever he was at He laid down in the backseat to pass out and apparently there were two idiots racing on the interstate. They cut off the car he was in and they ended up spinning out and into another car, I believe. Either way, he ended up rolling around in the backseat and broke five ribs in the process. So my drummer and I are both recuperating right now.”

“We're both making progress, but I think he's coming along quicker than I am. I just saw my surgeon for a followup yesterday and he indicated that it would be another 3-4 weeks before I could start singing again. So we're putting the bookings on hold for just a little while until I can start rehearsing again. Wish like hell it was going to be sooner. We'll likely schedule the cd release for whenever the next gig ends up being.”

Other locals embattled by various ailments include Playground Slap guitarist David Ybarra, whose kidney disease has caused his hands to swell, necessitating a temporary switch from guitar to bass, and Soul Plow drummer Jesse Adams, who’s battling stage four cancer.

Joey Harris and the Mentals keyboardist Mighty Joe Longa is also fighting the big “C.” “He’ll be starting four months of chemotherapy and catching up on a lot of sleep,” reports Harris. “It’s not clear when Joe will be able to return to work or return to the stage...the Mentals will continue playing around town, with a little help from friends like Mojo Nixon and Scotty Blinn.”

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