Chris Holmes, former W.A.S.P. guitarist, diagnosed with throat and neck cancer

Chris Holmes
(Image credit: Cathy-Sarah Holmes/Instagram)

Former W.A.S.P. electric guitar player Chris Holmes has been diagnosed with throat and neck cancer.

The news was issued via Instagram by Holmes’ manager and wife Cathy-Sarah Holmes, who revealed that despite the diagnosis, there has been no metastasis – where the cancer spreads to different parts of the body – and that Holmes is set to start a seven-week recovery process.

As a result, the guitarist has canceled his scheduled appearance on the 2022 Monsters Of Rock Cruise, which is set to set sail on February 9, to focus on his health.

“This post is not easy to write because of the personal nature of it and we would rather you hear it directly from us before stories and rumors start to circulate,” wrote Cathy-Sarah Holmes. “Recently Chris was diagnosed with a cancer in throat and neck but the medical team have assured us there has been no metastasis and this is good news. 

“He will have to start as soon as possible a treatment of seven weeks,” she continued. "I know how important the Monsters of Rock Cruise is for Chris and the band, but the health of Chris is what we have to focus on right now for the next seven weeks and we will reschedule the MORC for a future date.” 

Holmes is, however, hopeful that his upcoming Canadian and UK tours, penciled in for May and October, will go ahead as planned, with Cathy-Sarah saying the thought of performing live in front of fans is “the best way to keep Chris positive”.

The former W.A.S.P. axeman also has a string of shows planned for September that he hopes to attend after his recovery. 

“Don’t forget Chris is strong and he is a fighter and he will come back stronger than before,” the statement continued. "Many of you in your own way show us everyday how much you care. We are lucky to have you as friends, your strength keeps our spirits high to continue to fight another day. 

"Please we just ask for some privacy while we deal with this at this moment and Chris will come back to you stronger and ready to burn the stage with Stephen [Jackson], Ollie [Tindall], Lex [Gifford] and Florian [Lagoutte].”

W.A.S.P.'s Blackie Lawless offered a statement of support for Holmes, saying, “The entire W.A.S.P. family are all optimistic of a positive outcome concerning the diagnosis for Chris. I certainly wish him the very best.”

Holmes first joined W.A.S.P. in 1982, and stayed with the heavy metal outfit for eight years, before leaving in 1990. He returned for a second stint between 1996 and 2001, though hasn’t played with the band since.

During his time with the band, he contributed to a number of LPs, including their self-titled 1984 debut, 1986’s Inside the Electric Circus and 1999’s Helldorado.

He launched his solo career in 2012 with Nothing to Lose, and later went on to establish his new band Mean Man with drummer Stephen Jackson, bassist Lex Gifford and vocalist Oliver Tindall.

To peruse Holmes’ material, head over to his official Bandcamp page.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.