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Format: 04/18/2014
Format: 04/18/2014


California Chronicle: An industrial approach to battling cancer

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

By Scott Tady, Beaver County Times, Pa.
Feb. 8--HARMONY TWP. -- Jim Semonik experienced gut-wrenching emotions when, at age 31, he learned he had colorectal cancer. 

He felt fear.



The Harmony Township native especially felt sorry for his mother, who a few years earlier had lost her husband, Joe Semonik, to cancer.

"I told her to please not worry, and that I would fight 'till my last breath," Semonik said.

To wage that war, Semonik pushed aside his negative feelings, and followed a more productive path paved with defiance and determination.

Semonik knew what he needed to do: Fight cancer with the music he loved.

Loud music.

Aggressive music.

A style of music defined as "industrial."

Two years later, after surgery and grueling hospital treatments, Semonik is deemed cancer-free, though he continues to battle the disease on behalf of others. He enlisted 83 of his favorite industrial artists to supply fresh songs for a five-CD set of music, "Electronic Saviors: Industrial Music to Cure Cancer," which Semonik will release worldwide on Tuesday, including at select stores in the national Hot Topic chain. All proceeds will go to Cancer Recovery Foundation of America, a Harrisburg-based group that educates, empowers and encourages cancer patients and their families.

"This is a dream come true," said Semonik, a 1997 Ambridge Area High School graduate who plays in a Pittsburgh industrial band, Rein(Forced), and promotes Pittsburgh concerts with nationally touring industrial bands. In his day job, Semonik works as a buyer for Eide's Entertainment in Pittsburgh, making sure that independent record store is stocked with the latest industrial releases.

To an outsider, industrial music -- with its pulsating beats, techno beeps and blips, and oft-screamed lyrics -- might seem cold, hard and impersonal. But an aficionado such as Semonik appreciates the genre's lyrical depth and raw, heart-on-its-sleeve emotions.

He turned to such music for comfort and diversion in May 2008, when he began rigorous chemo and radiation treatments at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.

To read the rest of the story, please visit this link to the California Chronicle.

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