Founding SAXON guitarist GRAHAM OLIVER diagnosed with Parkinson's disease
During an appearance on “The Classic Rock Podcast” with host Tim Caple, founding SAXON guitarist Graham Oliver revealed that he has just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. “I was shocked at first,” he stated about his diagnosis. “I mean, in ’76 I cut my finger off and (thought) I’d never play guitar again. When I was 59, I had a mini stroke and that paralyzed my left side and I thought I’d never play again. So I’ve overcome them, so I’ve got another battle on my hands. So I’ve done it three times. So it’ll be the third time lucky. It’s not gonna beat me as yet, so I’m just going to keep going till I can’t.”
Regarding how his condition has affected his playing so far, the 71-year-old Graham said: “Well, I’m on medication. I went to ‘jam night’ last week. I did a gig in Lancaster with OLIVER’S ARMY, which is the band that we’re using now. And I did really well, ’cause before I had to concentrate on my left hand to make it work properly whereas it was a lot like I was playing things that I hadn’t played for a couple of years. ‘Cause I’ve had these complaints since lockdown and thought it was a trapped nerve. I didn’t know what to put it down to. I just put it down to inactivity, bitter old age and arthritis or a trapped nerve. So it’s been slow. Hopefully medication is gonna keep it under control.”
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system.
There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but medications, surgery and multidisciplinary management can provide relief from the symptoms.
Oliver is not the only heavy metal musician battling Parkinson’s disease. JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Glenn Tipton was diagnosed with Parkinson’s nine years ago after being stricken by the condition at least half a decade earlier.
Pat Torpey, the longtime drummer for rock group MR. BIG, died in February 2018 due to complications from Parkinson’s disease.
Ozzy Osbourne announced in 2020 that he had been diagnosed with a form of Parkinson’s disease, Parkin 2, which affects the nerves in the body.
Graham, whose guitar work featured on every SAXON record up to 1994’s “Dogs Of War”, recently launched a new GRAHAM OLIVER’S ARMY lineup which includes lead vocalist Brian Shaughnessy (SEVENTH SON) and guitarist Gav Coulson (JOHN VERITY, THOMAS BLUG),and introduces new members Jamie Mallender (TONY MARTIN, JOHN VERITY) on bass and Rod Fearnley (FACTORY, UNDER LOCK AND KEY) on drums.