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Sup Doc A Documentary Film Podcast

Ep 60 D Tour with musician Pat Spurgeon

Part 2 of our talk about D Tour (2009), George interviews drummer Pat Spurgeon, the subject of the documentary. We learn about Pat’s early life as a musician moving from Bloomington to the Bay Area, waiting for organ transplants, and dealing with the medical system while touring in Rogue Wave. Though D Tour has the shape of a music documentary, it’s about dealing with healthcare, mortality, and human generosity.

*Pat and director Jim Granato have a screening in San Francisco tonight (Monday June 5th) at the Alamo Drafthouse in the Mission. 7 pm show with a live set by Rogue Wave after the Q&A.
Pat Spurgeon is the drummer of Rogue Wave, an indie rock band that’s toured the world and released several critically acclaimed albums. He’s passionate about his career as a professional musician, and he’s determined to not let anything stand in the way—not even a serious medical condition. Pat was born with just one kidney, which began deteriorating when he was in junior high school. He received a kidney transplant, but after 12 years, just as Rogue Wave starts to take off, that kidney begins to fail. D TOUR follows Pat’s search for a living organ donor and the myriad challenges associated with finding a viable match.

On the left side of the frame stands Zach Rogue singing into a microphone and strumming a guitar on a dark stage during a show. On the right, Pat Spurgeon straps on a bass guitar.

At age 41, Pat is faced with the possibility of having his lifelong dream of touring with a rock band vanish. Dialysis again becomes part of his daily regimen, raising the question of whether he could—or should—even continue touring with Rogue Wave. After much soul-searching and discussion, the band members make a business decision to keep Pat on, adjusting their travel arrangements with a focus on his health. With so much time devoted to “doing a D,” or dialysis, Pat begins referring to the band’s tour as the “D tour.”

Dialysis does not cure kidney disease, and Pat is put on the national registry list to receive a kidney if and when one becomes available. In 2006, the chance of receiving a kidney from a matching donor is twenty-to-one and the wait is expected to be six years. Finding a living donor could shorten the wait, but finding the perfect match, especially within the U.S. health care system, proves to be an urgent, difficult and often emotional experience.

Featuring live performances from Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie), Nada Surf, John Vanderslice, The Moore Brothers and Rogue Wave, D TOUR chronicles Pat’s experience coping with his condition, and his fierce resolve to go on with a “normal” life despite living with an uncertain future.

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