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Musician faces terminal illness with CD launch
AFTER a tough couple of years, a Flackwell Heath man is hoping for a taste of success with his band’s first album, Quit Bitchin’. The New Groove, which is made up of six Wycombe residents, promoted their debut album by hosting a CD launch party on Sunday.
Unfortunately the journey has been far from easy for Ben Curtis, who performs lead vocals and harmonica for the rhythm and blues band.
Three days before Christmas 2011, Ben received the heartbreaking news that he had prostate cancer. In his case the cancer was advanced, aggressive and inoperable. He was given a four month prognosis.
It took eight weeks for Ben to adjust to the ‘new normal’, as he began an intensive course of radiotherapy. His determination to fight the cancer was unbounded, and he has now undergone more radiotherapy treatment than anybody else in the UK. Music was not a new venture for Ben, who had previously been in the band The Stir Crazies.
He knew that music could be a fantastic outlet, so he got in touch with old band mate Steve French. There is one track that is particularly poignant to Ben, as it related to his prognosis.
"There is a track called ‘If I have to leave’, it’s a slow blues track that really describes how it feels," he said.
After completing his extended course of radiotherapy, Ben and Steve agreed that they had to get into the recording studio. They called in the help of Grammy award-winning sound engineer Steve Orchard, who has worked with the likes of Elton John, U2 and Rod Stewart.
Steve Orchard then drafted in a selection session players, including Steve ‘Rodders’ Rodford, son of The Kinks bass guitarist Jim Rodford. With such a huge volume of rock’n’roll credibility in one studio, they were destined to produce some fantastic tracks.
Music from the album has now received a huge amount of radio airplay from BBC local stations, Radio 2 and even stations in America. Ben said: "It is great that the music is reaching people". He added: "We never intended to produce an album or a CD, originally we were just writing music for the fun of it".
Naturally, Ben is thrilled to still be in good enough health to perform at gigs, and cites his wife as an invaluable aid. He said: "I have had immense support from my wife, she has been fantastic"
The New Groove’s album is called Quit Bitchin’ and is out now on iTunes and Amazon.
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