[Editor's Note: Long-time concert photographer Andrew Youssef found out two years ago that he had stage IV colon cancer. In that time, he has continued to shoot tons of music events, on top of other freelance work and working a day job at a hospital, of all places. As he continues to fight for his life, this series allows him to tell his story in his own words.]
I met with my oncologist yesterday for our monthly meeting. He asked about my energy level these days. I explained that I was pretty exhausted from getting chemotherapy on Wednesday and then working Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday for ten hours at the hospital. I slept most of Monday and would have slept in longer if I didn't have my appointment with him on Wednesday.
Knowing my background as a concert photographer, he also asked if I had any exciting shows coming up. My response was that I was taking the next flight to San Francisco to see one of my favorite bands, Quicksand, at Slim's as part of the Converse Represent showcase. My oncologist smiled and chuckled, knowing that it was just another typical "adventure" in my storybook.
Quicksand is a band that resonated strongly with me when I purchased their album Slip back in 1993. When I get sick from chemotherapy, I dose myself with some medications and pull up a chair in front of my guitar amplifier and play along to the album to help take my mind off things. It is the best therapy and treatment for my cancer, as far as I'm concerned.
Quicksand was always one of those bands like the Smiths that I never would have guessed to reunite. My mind was blown when I managed to see their surprise reunion show at the Glass House. I seriously could have died a happy man at that point. My speculation that they would play FYF Festival turned out to be correct and then they announced a short reunion tour where I managed to catch them in Los Angeles, Pomona and San Diego.
I was fortunate enough to meet guitarist Tom Capone at the show in Pomona and was able to give him my information to stay in contact. When I went to see Quicksand in San Diego a few days later, I had a backstage pass and was able to talk to Tom more and explained about my ongoing battle with cancer and how much Quicksand's music meant to me. It was another life-affirming moment that I will never forget.
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