Tom Hamilton will be back in the proverbial saddle this fall when Aerosmith tours South America, Mexico and Japan.
But life in recent years has been anything but the same old song and dance for the tall, blond bassist, who is currently cancer-free thanks to a radical — and somewhat risky — treatment method.
Hamilton went through chemotherapy and radiation for tongue-base cancer in 2006. But when the cancer returned and spread to his voice box three years later, he decided to become the first patient with tongue-base cancer to undergo a laser treatment that’s been used to treat vocal-cord cancer.
“This is not your classic way, or even traditional way, to try and remove a cancer from the tongue base,” explains Dr. Steven Zeitels, who treated Hamilton, of the Massachusetts General Hospital Voice Center.
A possible side effect — permanent damage to his voice and breathing passage — had Hamilton “terrified” at first.
“The second I had a tiny bit of consciousness,” Hamilton says, “the first thing I did was make a sound, and it felt normal, and it sounded normal.”
Aerosmith’s fall 2011 tour begins Oct. 22 in Peru.