Guitarist, singer and songwriter Pete Krebs, one of Portland music's longtime leading lights, has been diagnosed with stage two dismoplastic melanoma, a rare form of cancer which is unresponsive to such treatments as radiation and chemotherapy, according to an online request for financial assistance by his wife, Rebecca. Surgery to evaluate the extent of the cancer's spread and Krebs' prognosis will take place next week. Krebs, 46, survived a bout with lymphoma in his early 20s.
Krebs helped put Portland music on the map in the early '90s as the leader of Hazel, a grunge-era band whose approach was notably more melodic and less angsty than practitioners of that genre, and which was signed to Seattle's legendary label Sub Pop. During the band's five-year run, which generated two albums, Krebs—like his good friend Elliott Smith, then of Heatmiser—found himself increasingly drawn to performing his songs in a solo acoustic setting, becoming instrumental in making "folk music" safe for punk rock fans. Krebs and Smith toured together, and released a split single in 1994. Krebs' late-'90s outfit, Golden Delicious, played bluegrass-inflected rock, quickly becoming one of Portland's most popular acts, and he subsequently made several albums with the Gossamer Wings. From there, Krebs' interests evolved toward roots styles such as swing jazz, which he's performed in recent years in such ensembles as the Kung Pao Chickens, Portland Playboys and the Boswell Sisters-evoking Stolen Sweets, among other projects. Meanwhile, he also teaches music lessons, and has worked as a tattoo artist.
Such is the affection and esteem for Krebs that, mere hours after the news of the disease and the fundraising solicitation to allay medical bills made the rounds, over 100 percent of the $8,668 goal was reached, with the number continuing to climb. Donations can be made here.