|Photo by Alec Watson, from sotw.ca|
I've seen SOTW live a handful of times, which is more than I've seen any other band, I think. I own several of their albums & know so many of their songs by heart. Today when I saw this Globe & Mail article in my Facebook feed, it saddened me immensely. In case you haven't seen the news in your social media networks yet, John Mann of Spirit of the West has Alzheimer's Disease. If you're thinking, "What? He's not old enough!" you're right, he's only 51, but sadly he has the early onset form of the condition.
My grandfather probably had Alzheimer's near the end of his life, but when you make it past 90, that's not the tragedy that it is for someone diagnosed in their late 40s. I'm sad, not just because of the loss to all of the SOTW fans out there, but for Mann's band mates, his wife, his kids.
Spirit of the West is still playing live, with slightly shifted roles & the use of some more technology to accommodate Mann's memory issues. The group is planning a retrospective tour next fall & are determined to make a lot more music. I don't mean to write a maudlin obituary style post about Mann, but there's no mistaking it: the storytelling, guitar playing front man of Spirit of the West is no longer with us.
If you'd like more information about Alzheimer's, if you need support, or if you'd like to donate, please visit AlzheimerBC.org
Follow Spokesmama here too: