The Oasis Podcast Intro LISTEN here
Discussing Getting Cancer on Oasis Podcast LISTEN here
It feels that there is so many ways to say this. I got sick. I got really sick. But I also feel there ARE no words to say it right. Ever feel that way?
Hi, my name is Brandon Arend and I am a 38 year old songwriter from a rising rock band that was diagnosed with an aggressive rare form of testicular cancer in June 2015. I fought It and won. I also wrote songs; uplifting and inspirational songs, that saved my soul while I was sick. I have Gratitude. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t lose. My body and mind were severely damaged from the treatments and it has taken 2 years of recovery to finally have the emotional and physical strength to come to all of you with my goal of using my music to enlighten men about cancer prevention and raising money for the LiveStrong Foundation . We believe that selling a great record for charity as a platform for cancer awareness will raise more money for the fight against cancer and give something more positive to those afflicted.
THE INTENTIONS I HAVE FOR THIS CAMPAIGN IS TO HELP ME AND THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION RAISE FUNDING TO RECORD, PRODUCE, MASTER, and DISTRIBUTE A ROCK & ROLL STUDIO ALBUM FOR CHARITY OF THE UPLIFTING SURVIVAL SONGS I WROTE DURING MY BATTLE WITH CANCER. THE ALBUM WILL THEN BE RELEASED WORLDWIDE ALONGSIDE A DEVELOPED TESTICULAR CANCER AWARENESS CAMPAIGN and a LIVESTRONG BENEFIT CONCERT EVENT IN LOS ANGELES.
It has been an exciting past 2 months. The first major media interview was a smash success over doubling any downloads and listens previously! Most of you know my gift of gab: I launched this fundrasier when I was interviewed by a huge podcast called The Oasis Podcast out of England about my life story in music, battling cancer and officially releasing the charity team up with Livestrong. It was a hugely successful release, as the amount of listens and downloads for the podcast had more than doubled than any other previous episode. Something really special was happening in our rapport and we have a funny and entertaining 2h45m chat about life, The Beatles, the band Oasis, and beating cancer. Fast forward to around 40-42 minutes in to hear my story. The last hour is where we delve into the Big C. Episode 31 of The Oasis Podcast.
HERE is a link to the 1st song demo for the upcoming album! We’ve already started working!
Simon Says (Album Studio Demo)
*NOTE: DONATIONS TO THIS FUNDRAISER ARE CONSIDERED GIFTS TO RAISE MONEY TO CREATE THE ALBUM. I AM MAKING A PRODUCT THAT WILL SELL TO THEN RAISE MONEY FOR THE LIVESTRONG CANCER FOUNDATION BY WAY OF PORTION OF THE SALES AND ROYALTY EARNINGS COLLECTED BY TUNECORE DISTRUBUTION TO ITUNES AND THE LIKE AND ASCAP, INC FOR PERFORMANCE ROYALTIES.
THE CHARITY ALBUM from the band DELTA WILL INCLUDE INFORMATION and ACCESS in the LINER NOTES TO TESTICULAR CANCER PREVENTION AND AWARENESS FOR YOUNG MEN, LINKS TO SOME OF THE BEST INFORMATION FOR THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN DIAGNOSED AND THE LOVED ONES SUPPORTING THEM. AND OF COURSE THE MUSIC.
The band DELTA has recorded an EP and has years of recording studio experience. On lead vocals and guitar is me, Brandon Arend. On drums we have Ryan Healy. We have been given access to state-of-the-art recording rooms at RocketSound Studios in Los Angeles from owner Tom Hays, who was gracious enough to be donating his time on guitar to a few tracks, along with others.
PORTION OF THE PROCEEDS OF THE RECORD SALES WILL BE DONATED TO THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION AFTER COVERING RECORDING and PRODUCTION COSTS.
Music has the ability to move almost everyone. Will it move you?
Here is the ALBUM SONG LIST (Untitled):
2. Simon Says
4. The Simple Life
5. On My Own
6. Bye Bye Birdie
7. Run Round
8. Should Have Known Better
9. Living Rock N Roll
10. Come And Take Me Away
11. Blue Jean Baby
12. Another Wasted Day
Recording in professional studios is costly. Believe me, I’ve actually built them for a living as a General Contractor. The more you can help us raise, the more we can accomplish. Donations at any level are greatly appreciated, and funds that exceed our goal will also be donated to the LiveStrong Foundation and help spread the music and message around to even more folks!
Your Funds will help pay for:
-Cd Replication of CDs & Shipping
-Studio Rental Costs for Recording Rooms and Mix Rooms
-Production and Engineering for the Record
-Album Artwork & Layout
-Video Production & Additional Photography
-Promotional Materials Such as: (Buttons, Stickers & T-Shirts)
-Go Fund Me fees (for processing pledges) - Approximately 7.9% of total + .30 cents per Transaction
We have created different suggested donation levels with fun incentives to show you how much love and appreciation there is for you! If you have any suggestions and or wish to make a custom donation, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
Any Donation under $20:
If you donate $20 or less, you will get a digital download acoustic demo of a song from the album we are making plus your name in the donor credits of the album on our website. On a weekly basis, I will update you about the opportunities your donation(s) have contributed to this project.
If you donate $30:
You will receive 1 digital download of the song “Fully Loaded” from my band Delta’s previously recorded album, the acoustic demo, and your name in the donor credits of the album on our website. On a weekly basis, I will update you about the opportunities your donation(s) have contributed to this project.
If you donate $50:
I will give you 2 digital downloads of the songs “Fully Loaded” and "Downtowner" from my band Delta’s previously recorded album, the acoustic demo, 1 yellow wristband from Livestrong Foundation, a picture of you posted in the Donor Hall of Fame feature on the website and a digital download of the album when it is finished!
If you donate $75:
You will receive a digital download of the whole 4-song EP “All of the Sudden….” Previously recorded by my band Delta, a page of hand written lyrics of a song for the upcoming album signed by me, a special behind the scenes photograph of the recording sessions, and a digital download of the completed album.
If you donate $100:
You'll be mailed a physical copy of the completed benefit record signed by me, a personal thank you card for your donation, receive the digital EP, two acoustic demos, 1 yellow wristband from the LiveStrong foundation, a page of handwritten lyrics, the special photograph, a something secret!
*SPECIAL LOS ANGELES RESIDENT GIFT!*
If you donate OVER $150:
You will get all the above plus a special invitation to visit the music studio during a recording session to meet us all while recording one of the album’s songs and PLAY or SING something on the track!Want to have your 15 minutes? We will have a video of your visit uploaded to the site! We are so excited to have you.
*** please send me your email address to communicate and exchange contact information for physical deliveries. You will also be added to the email list for the updates of the project!
I will be launching and sharing a video diary of the whole recording process, the work needed to make this happen and all the love and support we get to help us move this important project from start to finish. I will share videos of some demos of the songs that are going on the record, clips to a music video made post-cancer for a Delta song, a podcast interview discussing music and life and cancer survival with The Oasis Podcast and preparing rehearsals for the concerts and all the secret surprise very SPECIAL GUESTS that are onboard from the the music industry that I work in.
Everyone has a story. Some good, some bad. But put the word Cancer in any of them and we all get punched in the proverbial stomach and elements of fear, loss, death and anxiety arise in all of us. My story has that. That part of mine that is relevant here is what I experienced during the time I had cancer and the 18 month arduous road to recovery. In the beginning, I went through 5 months of fear, facing mortality, pain and suffering unlike anything I had known. You could taste the chemo drugs in your mouth even though they were administered through and IV and a GIANT needle! I had no energy and couldn’t feed myself. I had to lie in bed for so long it actually broke the mattress. I felt the specter of death hanging around my mind and when I looked in the mirror sometimes I would see it. But I had some secret weapons.
I was able to use my love of making music, the strength of my loved ones (especially my wife) and informing myself of what was actually happening to me via the Livestrong Foundation to help get me through the dark days. The knowledge I learned is so important to testicular cancer prevention and survival. But I also learned that most men Do Not Know the basic fundamentals of TC prevention and awareness. It’s something so easy to gain that could save lives or prevent having to experience what I did. In fact, men generally try to ignore any problems in that area! But I also know from first hand experience how powerful the Big C word is. That’s why I am using music to help breakdown those doors and let the wisdom in.
Chemotherapy is awful. So awful. I was diagnosed Stage 2A of pure type embryonal carcinoma that had spread to my lymph nodes. Embryonal means that it was there in my genes and no matter how I lived my life this was going to happen to me. I was given and immediate orchiectomy and then aggressive rounds of chemotherapy. I fought and my body was almost destroyed by the treatments. It racked my lungs, my kidneys, my entire nervous system, my memory and my emotions. I could no longer breathe like I did before and lost my ability to sing. Then peripheral neuropathy set in. For those who don’t know, this is severe nerve damage caused by the Cisplatin portion of the chemo regimen that most testicular cancer patients receive. It cause your nerves to give you sensations of burning, freezing and numbness. I got it especially bad in my hands and feet. I could barely touch a guitar string anymore. And I was a songwriter singer in my band Delta. Playing guitar and writing was my life.
As life would have it, the weeks prior to my diagnosis, my rock band was making its break. But those plans, along with all plans, were dashed once life ground to a halt with cancer sitting at my doorstep. Even though I couldn't sing anymore and could barely finger the guitar, I found new songs pouring out of me. There was something strange though. I expected songs full of sadness, fear, and negativity. The very things that dominated my waking moments when I had the energy to actually think. But they were quite the opposite! I was needing to push out positive, uplifting music with a message about what I was going through; my own therapy, so to speak. I NEEDED to feel that life still had the lovely things out there that made it so worth living. They helped me find peace of mind till the next day. To hold on. Even when things were bleak.
And then the news came on October 13, 2015. My oncologist reported to me that the lymph nodes had responded to the chemo and that I was in remission. I was so fortunate, so lucky. I had won the battle. It came as the happiest moment of my life but also the saddest. My stepmother, whom had been battling her own cancer alongside me, succumbed to it nearly a month later. Sharon was an amazing person, wife and mother. She will be missed by us all. Life truly is a Bittersweet Symphony.
You change after having cancer and surviving. Priorities change. Somethings become an almost instinctual, primal urge that surprise you. Your will to survive. And this almost indescribable need to stop this from possibly happening to others, now being informed with all the information of testicular cancer. Information that 99% of men do not have or, unfortunately, do not heed as it a feeling that it will never happen to them. But it does and it did happen. I found myself warranted with a mission to get the word out, to spread the message of how easy it is to check yourself, to help prevent the later horrible stages of the cancer with the right motivation. I believe that music is the universal language and the thing that makes us as humans feel and become aware of what's going on inside of them emotionally with empathy and a connection that supersedes talking and reading between us. So I thought maybe Livestrong might be able to help.
Livestrong has been as crucial and supportive as I could never have imagined. They have been helping me since day one. Throughout the medical side during treatment and then all the burdens that come with post-treatment, Livestrong walks the walk and talks the talk.
I came to them with a seed of an idea to make an album of the songs I had written. To get the newfound message of life, positivity and the importance of knowledge and self medical checks. They listened to them. Their response gave me so much confidence. They believed in the positive message and the catchiness of the songs. The representative assigned to me was a real progressive thinker and came up with all sorts of platforms, fundraisers and ideas to help get the music recorded and out there to the people. And this is one of those steps. We are raising some money for the production of the album and its subsequent release internationally!!
Just writing this is making me emotional as it is finally here. It's becoming a real thing. I have been thinking about this and planning for 2 years. My body has taken this long to get to a point where the nerve damage no longer hindering my guitar playing ability. And my voice has recovered. Tough news for my wife ;) It meant so much to me to be able to creatively express what's been brewing up inside. However this plays out, I will be grateful to have the chance to reach at a few of you out there and share music with you and The Message. Music that just might give you something that speaks to you if you’re out of words, something to hold on to when you’re feeling despair, just as it did with me. Thank you all for your time to hear my story and I hope we can make some tunes together.
As Ringo would say,
Peace and Love, Peace and Love
Full on Chemo with no hair!
Two months after chemo with the beautiful wife and dog who took care of me and brought me back to health.
And 9 months later the hair is back! And it's gray and an afro!! Cool!
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