Hello friends! After a lot of discussion and planning, we’re really excited to announce the launch of a Pledge Music campaign as part of the run up to the release of what will be Belly’s third record on April 6, 2018 (title as yet undecided..)! Head over to our Pledge page to pre-order the record, sign-up to receive updates on it’s progress, and take a look at the Pledge exclusives we’re offering, like signed vinyl, posters, special show passes and other Belly goodies!
We very much appreciate all the patience regarding the newBelly material we’ve now promised several times! We really have been busy writing and demo’ing new songs since the conclusion of the reunion tour last year, and we’re happy to reveal that we’ll be going into the studio in just a couple of weeks with our old friend Paul Q. Kolderie working the knobs and faders. It is our hope that we’ll have a new Belly record ready for release sometime in 2018, and in the meantime we’re laying the ground-work for some touring to coincide!
Being part of Wesley Stace’s Cabinet of Wonders at the City Winery NYC last night was an absolute pleasure. An amazing and varied display of talent and creativity from the soulful Amy Rigby, delightfully dark Edgar Oliver, stylishly incisive Fiona Maazel, sweetly witty Walt Martin, commanding Tracy Bonham, hilarious Doogie Horner, and of course, Wes and the cracking English UK. It was an honor to share the stage with such fantastic performers. Cabinet of Wonder shows are something unique and very special- vaudeville variety for the 20th Century- and if one comes to a town near you attendance is highly recommended!
Unfortunately, as far too many of us know, cancer never comes at a
good time. Last April, in the middle of rehearsals for Belly’s 2016
reunion tour, I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. Shows had been
booked, advance tickets sold, and complicated travel and logistical
arrangements were already in place–not just for the band, but for all
of you making plans to travel to see us. As you can imagine, it was a
huge “oh, shit…” moment.
I am blessed to be working with the dearest of friends in Belly, and
my bandmates fully supported me in weighing every option and in every
decision I had to make, including serious consideration of cancelling
and rescheduling tour dates. My oncology team at Women & Infants
Hospital (Belly fans!) actually encouraged me to go on tour and
continue life as normally as possible, and worked my treatment
schedule around each leg of the tour. I had surgery six weeks before
we kicked things off with our ‘secret’ gig in Newport and then headed
to the UK. I had my first chemotherapy treatment ten hours after
flying back from our show in Dublin. Throughout chemo, my Belly
compatriots patiently awaited my word on how I was feeling after each
round and to see if the next leg of the tour would proceed, putting my
health and my needs above all else. They have been incredible. And we
did it–not a single cancelled or rescheduled show! LOVE to you, Tom,
Chris and Tanya.
Though I prefer to keep health issues private, with the impending
threat of repeal of the ACA (Affordable Care Act, or ‘Obamacare’), I
feel I cannot remain silent. Thanks to the ACA, many independent
artists, musicians, freelancers and small business owners, such as my
partner, Chil, and myself, and millions of low-income Americans have
access to health insurance and medical care. Chil and I have been with
the program since its inception, buying our health insurance through
Rhode Island’s excellent exchange. This is not my first ride at the
cancer rodeo, and without the provisions of the ACA (such as
prohibiting the denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions and
outlawing yearly and lifetime caps) I would’ve had a very difficult
time getting the treatment I needed. I can literally say that
Obamacare has saved my life twice (so far….)!
Now, as a recent graduate of ‘Team Chemo’, I want to personally thank
all of you for helping me get through the summer and fall portion of
my treatment. Even though you may not have known all that was going on
(or at least had the grace not to call me out on the suspicious
assorted vegan-roadkill strapped on my head while on stage!), the joy
you shared with the four of us on stage was pure unicorn dust, with a
healing power no FDA-approved medicine can touch! You all helped me
get through this and I can’t wait to see you again in 2017!
PS: Special thanks to next-generation Belly-baby bass-player Indi Rose! Hearing that I inspired you to go for the bass inspired me and gave me an extra potent shot-in-the-arm when I needed it!
In spite of 2016’s overall tenor on many fronts being sad, frustrating, ominous and depressing, the Belly reunion tour was an unqualified success, and we sincerely and gratefully thank everyone who came out for making the shows very, very special events (…not to mention some of the most fun we’ve ever had)! We truly didn’t know what to expect- from initially getting together in a room to relearn and rehearse, to stepping on stage and playing live as a band for the first time in twenty-plus years- but from the start it was a near blinding-bright, joyous light in what otherwise feels like rather dark times. The power of music and art to generate happiness and connection was, and is, undeniable, and it was a beautiful thing to be a part of with all of you. So…. goodbye to 2016 and thank you for being there with us, and welcome to 2017, which we aim to do our part in making a better year. Maybe we’ll be fiddling while Rome burns….. or maybe we’ll be providing a little bit of the soundtrack to a revolution!