Drummer Wally IngramWhat a difference a year can make. In January 2007, Wally Ingram was finishing up brutal chemotherapy and radiation treatments, battling for his life against the squamous cell cancer that had invaded his throat and neck. At the end of that month, while awaiting the results of his treatment, Wally was able to participate in a star-studded benefit concert in his honor, organized by Uber-producer/drummer Butch Vig and Bonnie Raitt. The event–which MD readers initially read about in the June 2007 issue–featured Butch’s band Garbage, Raitt, Sheryl Crow, Jackson Browne, Keb’ Mo’, Crowded House, George Clinton, and many others.

“It was a powerful night,” Wally reflects. “The incentive to be there and play got me through some really tough days. The event itself was magical. The outpouring of love from the artists and the audience was overwhelming. It put wind in my sails to fight on.” In June, Wally learned that he is cancer-free, with a clean bill of health.

Wally began 2008 back on the road for a short tour with Stockholm Syndrome, a band including members of Widespread Panic and Govt. Mule. The New Year also marked his return to Sheryl Crow’s band, now as percussionist. Through the mid-’90s, Wally drummed for Sheryl’s first band as she ascended to fame. Sheryl, a cancer survivor herself, literally took the Ingram family into her Hollywood home so Wally could be close to Cedars-Sinai for treatment, even bringing him there herself. Wally is also godfather to Sheryl’s adopted son, Wyatt.

Happy to be back in the game, grateful to all, Wally says, “Everyone’s support made such a difference, and it’s wonderful to be working with Sheryl again. We’re family.”

David Stanoch