Musician struck with lung cancer can get back to the stage

Steve Foster was struck down with lung cancer
Steve Foster was struck down with lung cancer

WHEN Steve Foster was struck down with lung cancer, he thought his singing career was over.

The musician had been performing for more than 50 years when he was given the shattering diagnosis in March 2014.

But now he credits his traumatic health issues with revitalising not just his career but his life, leading him on a journey that brings him to Edinburgh next week and the fulfilment of a childhood dream.

The 69-year-old said: “Heart issues run in my family but I never had a problem until a heart attack two and a half years ago.

“While I was in hospital they gave me a cat scan and found something in my left lung. It turned out to be cancer.”

MRI scanner room
MRI scanner room

Steve had most of the lung removed and then began a six-month cycle of chemotherapy.

“That was horrendous, the worst part of it,” he continued. “I almost didn’t survive the chemo.

“At one point I thought it would have been better to die from cancer than keep going through that, but I pulled through.”

Steve thought his long singing career – which began with the release of his first single in 1963, while he was still at school – was over due to losing a lung.

“I was determined to carry on, so all through 2015 I learned to sing and how to blow the harp with just one lung, building up my stamina and playing some shorter gigs.

“I realised you have to use what you’ve got left just that bit harder.

“I’m in first stage remission and have three more years to go before I get the tap on my shoulder to say I’m free, but I don’t live under a cloud worrying about it.”

Instead, the experience has led to him returning to the stage with a renewed vigour to match his early days, when he won the South Australia version of New Faces in 1968 and released his debut album, Coming Home In A Jar, with a major label in 1972.

He was also in a band, the Mount Lofty Rangers, with AC/DC legend and Scotsman Bon Scott, played with The Byrds and Steel Eye Span, and co-wrote the million-selling song, Forever Blue.

“When I was younger I used to play some Dylan and Donovan covers in my set. I love both of them, even though Donovan is the antithesis of Dylan, and when I was asked to play at the Adelaide Fringe in February I decided to play those songs again.”

His performance there led to him being invited to the Edinburgh Fringe as part of South Australia’s Made in Adelaide showcase.

As a fan of the pipes, he can’t wait to visit the capital and says he’s fulfilling a dream by attending the Military Tattoo during his stay.

Steve added: “I have a different outlook on life since my illness.

“I think I might have just dwindled away otherwise. I certainly don’t believe I would be coming to Edinburgh.

“I’m getting to do now what I wanted to do for more than 50 years – I truly believe I’m at the peak of my career and after all of this time I’m an overnight success!”

Dylan & Donovan: The Prophet, The Poet and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, St Stephen’s, various dates from Aug 14-28 at 6pm.


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