Toronto Music Scene Veteran Adam "Bix" Berger Celebrates Being Cancer-Free with "Dance on the Bones"
The charity single will raise funds for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center's new Teen and Young Adult program
Published Nov 23, 2021Prominent Toronto music manager and Royal Mountain Records co-founder Adam "Bix" Berger — who's had a hand in the careers of bands like PUP, Alvvays, Calpurnia and Hollerado — has released charity single "Dance on the Bones" to celebrate the two-year anniversary of completing his cancer treatment.
Berger was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer involving myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) in 2019. MPNs begin with an abnormal mutation to bone marrow stem cells, so part of his treatment involved a stem cell transplant at New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The royalties from Berger's song will be supporting their new Teen and Young Adult cancer program.
The gently triumphant song was written from in-hospital recovery following the life-saving transplant, when he played guitar and wrote songs as a form of therapy. Berger found the four-word titular sentiment while strumming and reflecting on his gratitude, as well as his mother's passing from lung cancer several years earlier. "Dance on the Bones" pays tribute to her and others lost to the disease.
"The song is something I needed to tell myself: to fight through the fear," the artist said in a statement, "and, as I come closer to my two-year cancer-free mark, remember to cherish each new day — each new breath — while we're alive."
When I was diagnosed with cancer and was told that I would need to get a stem cell transplant for a chance to survive, it came as a huge shock. In preparing for this life-or-death trauma, I think I went into survival mode and tried to put aside the worst-case scenario and did my best to try to stay positive, especially in the eyes of my two children. I'm reminded every single day how grateful I am to be alive for them. I know how lucky I am to have had so much support and encouragement from family and friends throughout my fight.
Hollerado's Menno Versteeg added:
I've worked alongside Bix for over a decade, and in that time I've noticed that one of the reasons he has had so much success working with great artists is because he is an artist himself. Bix speaks the language: he grew up touring in bands, he paints, he makes songs; and he never really tells anyone about that side of him, he just does it for the love. He's alway had a sixth sense for what makes a song great — that distinct, authentic voice of an artist that elevates their work. Well, it makes sense that he could take a wheelbarrow-full of bullshit as big as a pretty bleak cancer diagnosis and turn it into this raw, heartfelt and beautiful song.
Bolstered by hand-claps and reverb-drenched vocal harmonies, the buoyancy of "Dance on the Bones" feels like floating through time with a bird's-eye view — moving on up with a fresh perspective.
You can watch the Martin MacPhearson-directed video for Berger's song below and donate directly to MSK's Teen and Young Adult cancer program here.