Maleny rock star and cancer survivor shared stage with Bowie
BLUES and rock master guitarist Kevin Borich of Maleny has shared the stage with some of the world's best musicians but has no recall of playing support to David Bowie at an Auckland concert in 1978.
It's not that Borich doesn't rate Bowie.
He considers him to have been a true artist, not stuck in one genre, an innovator who drew on a number of influences and who went with what he thought would work with perfect timing to capture the changing mood.
Borich can't remember the gig that attracted a record crowd of 41,000 to the Western Springs stadium because since then he has had his own battle with cancer, the illness that ultimately claimed Bowie on Monday night.
The countless rounds of radiation Borich went through may have "frazzled" his hard drive, he says.
Which of David Bowie’s biggest Billboard hits is your favourite?
This poll ended on 30 January 2016.
Let’s Dance (1983)
Golden Years (1976)
Dancing in the Street ft. Mick Jagger (1985)
Blue Jean (1984)
China Girl (1983)
Space Oddity (1973)
Modern Love (1983)
Day-In Day-Out (1987)
I never liked David Bowie
My favourite track is not listed here because I'm a real fan
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Diagnosed 10 years ago with Nasopharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma, or cancer of the nose, he was given eight months to live.
Radiation burns from the intensive treatment he received left him bandaged around the face and chest and looking eerily similar to the image of a bandaged Bowie that illustrated a video clip on the star's last album, Blackstar.
"It was in my nose and going to go into my brain and then, bye bye Kev,'' Borich said of the cancer that came close to claiming his life.
"The oncologists said they would have to throw the kitchen sink at me and I would lose my teeth, hair and saliva glands and my hearing was going to suffer.
"It sounded like a disease made for guitar players.
"I said hang on, I want to be able to kiss my wife with some juice. He said if I didn't (do the treatment) I would be pushing up daisies. I've beaten it but now I need to resurrect my mouth.''
As well as the radiation and chemotherapy, Borich drew from the book Heal Cancer, Choose Your Own Survival Path by Dr Ruth Cilento, building his body's immunity with an array of juices and a naturopath's advice on supplements.
His wife Melissa also embraced Dr Cilento's philosophy on meditation and visualisation. Borich also gained an appreciation of yoga's benefits.
The bluesman may not remember that Auckland gig which saw his band replace The Angels.
But in a 40-year musical career he went on to share the stage with Santana, Bo Didley, Richie Blackmore (Deep Purple), Ron Wood (Rolling Stones), John Mayall, Taj Mahal, Living Colour and Joe Walsh.
He also opened shows for AC/DC in the US, Toni Joe White, Ray Charles, Elton John, Status Quo, Jeff Beck and Buddy Guy and twice topped the Australian Rock Music Awards as Best Guitarist.
In his cancer treatment, Borich has done 60 sessions at a simulated 14 fathoms in a hyperbaric chamber, with 10 more to go to repair bone damage caused by the radiation so that new teeth can be safely implanted in his jaw bone.
"It's either that or I'd be doing duos with Chad Morgan,'' he laughed.
Just back from two shows in NSW and performing with the Rockwiz Orchestra at the Arts Centre in Melbourne, the lack of saliva remains a challenge addressed by drinking water between songs.
The Rockwiz concert show The Last Waltz, based around the movie featuring The Band, plays at the Sydney Opera House of April 1 and 2.
Borich performs Ronnie Hawkins' Who Do You Love, the Muddy Waters/Johnny Winters version of I'm the Man and Eric Clapton's Further Down the Road.
He's disappointed Bowie's illness was kept so secret and feels the English superstar may have benefited from a visit to the 80-acre Maleny property where Borich's wife, former model Melissa, runs a yoga and wellness centre that draws on some of the things they learned during his own on-going recovery.
"I'm sure some time at Maleny would have helped,'' Borich said. "When you look at our existence, it's a hologram. We are just hanging together as molecules. Our very existence is space for miracles.''
He needs no better example of that than himself.
Borich's new album Totem is a protest at the influence of banks and the damaging impacts of coal seam gas exploration.
"Music is a wonderful thing to do, as is anything you have a passion for to get you through,'' he says.
More at www.kevinborich1.com.