Alt-J’s Thom Green on returning to touring in a pandemic: “We’re just going to have to be extra vigilant”

The drummer is clinically vulnerable due to a rare genetic condition and medication related to a kidney transplant

Alt-J’s Thom Green has spoken about returning to touring in a pandemic as someone who is considered clinically extremely vulnerable.

The drummer has a rare genetic condition, which meant he had to have a kidney transplant when he was a student. He now has to take medication to help his body accept the kidney, but which also suppresses his immune system.

With Alt-J preparing to go back on tour across the UK and the US in February in support of their upcoming album ‘The Dream’, which is released on February 11, Green has spoken about the realities of touring in this time. “We’re just going to have to be extra vigilant,” he told the BBC. “Whatever we have to do, that’s what we’ll do because it’ll be so worth it just to get on stage again.”

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During the summer, the musician caught COVID-19 and was hospitalised for a week. “The symptoms dragged on for three or four months,” he explained. “I’m actually fortunate that I’m OK and I’m back to normal, but I don’t want that to happen again.”

Alt-J
Alt-J. CREDIT: Instagram/press

In November, the band – which is completed by keyboardist Gus Unger-Hamilton and singer and guitarist Joe Newman – released a new single that paid tribute to frontline workers. “The context of the coronavirus pandemic lent my words a chilling weight and gave me a new sense of responsibility as a lyricist,” Newman said of ‘Get Better’.

“Whilst the direct events described are fictional, I believe – or I hope – that it’s emotionally the most honest song I’ve written.”

Alt-J’s UK and Ireland tour will begin in Glasgow on May 7, visiting Leeds, Manchester, London, Dublin and Belfast before concluding in Birmingham on May 27. Before that, they will embark on a North American tour at the end of February, including shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden and LA’s Staples Center.

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