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Like riding a bike, only with poop and The Cult

Geoff Reading

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The first time I was able to control my functions after having all but the most essential nub of my rectum yanked out as a result of a bout with col-rectal cancer was at a show the Cult played at the Showbox Market in March 2008. It wasn't fully clear to me what my surgeon had meant when she told me I would have to relearn how to "use" my plumbing — but it quickly became obvious. Little anatomy lesson for you here: Your rectum is designed to stretch and hold your stool. Your colon is designed to push it along, keep it moving, always pushing it forward. As it turns out, once my surgeon had fashioned an after market rectum out of the floppy bits of my descending colon, it meant I would have only about half an inch of true rectum to keep my new "colon rectum" from pushing all that came in contact with it right out the back door, no questions asked with relatively no warning. Needless to say, I was never more than about 4 steps away from a toilet for the first few months after my surgery.

Then the Cult came to town.

It was March and I had about eight weeks of listening to my body’s signals under my belt — and thought it would be worth the risk. I refused to miss the show. I would just have to be really mindful of what I ate and when. It had gotten to the point that my body was giving me about a 45 second warning, letting me know that if I could get to a seated position (sooner rather than later) all would be fine. If not, well, you get the idea.

The Cult show went off without a hitch — almost. The band was nearly done, and my rectal alarm had yet to sound. I figured I was home free.

Then the band broke into "She Sells Sanctuary"the last song of the night, and one of my top three favorite rock songs of all time, right there with “When the Levy Breaks” and “Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun”.

This is when my luck ran out.

The warnings started to hit me. It’s coming — sure as shit (maybe that’s where that phrase comes from).

I took a few reflexive steps toward the bathroom — which was a good minute away.

That’s when my love of rock and roll overtook me. I fully went Matrix on that shit. "NO!" I said, and the room went all shimmery. My love for that song, and my desire to be in that room while that energy was being exchanged, superseded my panic. ...


I held it, making grimacing faces, dancing around like a 4-year-old who is just beginning to realize he can control the when and where of bowel movements.  

I held it, and after about the longest 15 seconds of my life my colon got the message. My brain wanted to hear "Sanctuary". My mind was Neo. And it has been this passion for music, and the refusal to take no! for an answer that has always driven me in my musical career. 

I will be writing a weekly Wednesday column about my musical experiences, past and present, for the online version of the Weekly Volcano. From the start, I feel like telling these stories without constant references to all that I've been through, health-wise and other — including things like col-rectal cancer — would be akin to you wandering around my house after a storm knocked out the power with no flashlight. You'd bump walls, trip down the stairs, and crash over furniture — but you would have no reference as to the color of the rooms, what was hanging on the walls or whether the beds had been.

See you next Wednesday.

Drummer Geoff Reading — who writes a bi-weekly online column (Fridays) for the Weekly Volcano called “Holding Down the 253” in addition to his weekly Wednesday music column — has played music in tons of Northwest bands — Green Apple Quickstep, New American Shame, Top Heavy Crush and most recently Duff McKagan's LOADED — to name but a few. He's toured the world several times over, sharing stages with the likes of Slipknot, The Cult, Buckcherry, Korn, Journey, The Sex Pistols, Nine Inch Nails and on and on. He has called Tacoma home since 2005, and lives in the North End with his wife and son.

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