X’s Billy Zoom has cancer; band launches GoFundMe site for medical costs

Billy Zoom, left, performs July 10, 2014, at the Roxy in West Hollywood with other members of punk rock band X.

Billy Zoom, left, performs July 10, 2014, at the Roxy in West Hollywood with other members of punk rock band X.

(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

Guitarist Billy Zoom, a founding member of long-running L.A. punk band X, has been diagnosed with bladder cancer and will bow out of the group’s current tour to undergo treatment after a run of shows this weekend in Orange County.

Zoom overcame prostate cancer in 2010 with a radical prostatectomy, and will begin chemotherapy next week, according to a statement released by the band.

“In the music community, we all take turns helping each other,” his bandmates said in a statement. “Punk rock and benefits: you name the cause, and the bands and fans will be there. Now it’s our turn to help Billy Zoom, the wittiest, smartest, nicest, best guitar player & friend we know. We would do anything to help him get better, help take care of his family, and lessen his woes.”


Consequently, a Support Billy Zoom’s Kick Cancer Fight at the GoFundMe website has raised more than $15,000 toward a goal of $50,000 as of midday Thursday.

“Please keep Billy in your prayers and send some positive energy his way!” X’s statement continued. “Donating a few bucks will take away some of his financial stress and worry. And it’s the punk rock thing to do.”

Zoom vowed to see the band through a stretch of shows at the Observatory in Santa Ana that is scheduled to begin Thursday night and continue through Sunday. The band said it will announce a replacement for Zoom for the remaining shows of its summer tour.

As the quartet did last year at the Roxy, X is playing one of its first four studio albums in its entirety at each of the Observatory shows: “Los Angeles” on Thursday night, “Wild Gift” on Friday, “Under the Big Black Sun” on Saturday and “More Fun in the New World” on Sunday.

The bill captures a rich period of L.A. music with the addition of the Blasters each night, as well as former Minutemen bassist Mike Watt.

“The X folks asked me to do a half an hour before the Blasters, so I’m bringing my Secondmen for all four gigs,” Watt told The Times. “I’ll do some old Minutemen [material] since they’re doing their old stuff also.

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