By Noe Gutierrez

For the last 30 years in the Coachella Valley, when the name “Hammons” is uttered, it’s usually in a conversation in which music, friends and/or good vibrations are discussed.

Mike Hammons has been a staple in the desert for multiple decades now and when you connect with him, you are no doubt left with things to ponder and are better off after the exchange.

As vocalist and bassist for The Ghost Notes, a desert salute to the The Grateful Dead  and much more, Hammons and Co. have brought us electrifying live performances inspired by the improvisational music cherished by ‘Dead Heads’ around the world. Hammons has truly lived a life full of music and triumph. I often consider the phrase “life is music, music is life” when I think of Hammons. He is the personification of goodness and thus far has lived out the seasons of his life wholeheartedly, but even the best of people suffer from adversity.



In July 2022, Hammons was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Also called colon cancer, it’s a disease in which cells in the colon grow out of control. Our reality is that the overall 5-year survival rate is 64%. If the cancer is diagnosed at a localized stage, the survival rate is 91%. If the cancer has spread to surrounding tissues or organs and/or the regional lymph nodes, the 5-year survival rate is 72%. If colon cancer has spread to distant parts of the body, the 5-year survival rate is 14% (, 2022). Despite the numbers, Hammons has accepted the diagnosis and is currently in the midst of six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy.

Hammons is a warrior and this is the biggest battle he has ever faced. He shared, “I’m fighting for my life. I’m in the ultimate jujitsu tournament where the stakes have never been so high.” Speaking to Hammons, you get the feeling cancer doesn’t have a clue who it’s up against. Hammons asserts, “I’m ‘getting off’ on the challenge. I feel like I’ve been preparing my whole life for this. All the great coaches I’ve had in sports and jujitsu have given me the inner strength to take this on.” He has turned his diagnosis into something meaningful instead of mournful.

Hammons had a chem-port implanted in his upper right chest at Eisenhower Health. He is receiving multiple rounds of transfusions and chemotherapy through the port. He explains that the port may remain inserted for up to two years to treat any potential re-occurrences and because it was found in the lymph nodes.


Hammons’ plan of attack includes a multitude of approaches that include spiritual and holistic methods. Hammons shared, “I wake up around 5:30 a.m. every day, light candles and meditate using breathing techniques as an art form. After meditation, I study Ayurveda, an alternative medicine system with historical roots in the Middle East, with the help of Cheri Michel a Certified Ayurveda Practitioner & Wellness Coach at Desert Ayurveda. I use imagination and visualization to great health and doing good deeds. I go to gym on the days I can. When at home I hit the treadmill, weights, run errands, and get so exhausted so I nap around 11 a.m. I also drink a Vitamix of nuts, seeds, eggs, broccoli, blueberries and apples.” It is well documented that in addition to traditional methods, nutritional, emotional and spiritual wellness can play a very important role in the treatment and recovery from cancer. Hammons has embraced every possible route. “I like Hippocrates quote, ‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’. I drink a combo of cumin, turmeric, coriander and ginger and have a water system installed that eliminates 229 toxins you can find in water. I also drink aloe vera juice, psyllium husks, two types of teas, and consume 1000 calories of nutrition, just in case my appetite is shot, the combination of supplements works kind of like an anchor.”

Hammons has also rededicated himself to his spirituality, “I pray nightly 2-3 minutes like a 7-year-old boy accepting God for the first time.” Hammons shared that being well-rested improves his energy and helps him cope better with the side effects of chemo. He shared, “I eat a CBD gummy bear to help me get 8-9 hours of sleep. I recommend this for people who struggle with sleep, I had never tried this until after chemo.”


Before The Ghost Notes, Hammons was best-known as the core of Green Eggs and Hammons, the unrivaled Coachella Valley jam band that flourished the early 90’s. Along with that, he studied the bass guitar at Musicians Institute College of Contemporary Music in Hollywood, CA. Hammons has utilized these musical experiences to implement a sort of music therapy within his plan of action. He explains further, “There’s healing in my music study regimen. I build mental strength and can focus on one thing and one thing only. I have a 100-year-old upright bass and my relationship with the instrument is touching on nature. The wood that was used to make the instrument allows me that. I complete 3-minute increments of playing/practicing 10-20 sessions a day due to fatigue. It helps me keep peace of mind, focused on music and the things I love.” It is believed that music helps us in connecting with our souls and our real self.


One quality Hammons possesses is humility. Throughout this ordeal he has expressed his gratefulness. His friend and bandmate Damian Lautiero, The Ghost Notes guitarist and vocalist, said this to Hammons, “Intellectually, you’re a smart man. You are successful and you know what you offer to the community. As your friend and brother, what I ask is that you also accept it emotionally.” This affirmation by Lautiero really solidified that Hammons can further grow as an individual in order to accept the help and expound on the already sufficient amount of modesty. In order for Hammons to move towards self-actualization, he would have to shed even more pride. He believes he is ready. He explains, “This was a whole other level of energy and healing, I feel humbled, seeing friends come out of the woodworks, from preschool to college, everybody is reaching out. People I haven’t seen since 6th grade, across the country 35-40 years have gone by and they still give generous donations. That touches me, it blows me away.”

One life-long crony has stepped up in royal fashion, “I would like to especially thank Sean Teague, a solid sounding board, friend and brother. He’s the one that takes me to chemo and takes me home every other Monday. Other close friends such as Russel Holmes, Mike Oster and Humberto Vela, his band mates Damian Lautiero, Bobby Furgo and Robert Peterson have been hands-on in meeting his day-to-day needs. Brandon Ray Henderson, Mike Petrucelli and Tim Johnson have also been paramount in providing support and encouragement. On the larger scale, Hammons has seen friends and family put differences to the wayside to help him. “To watch the community come together, people overcoming corporate competitiveness, politics, bureaucracy or business, and all the ‘cliquey’ stuff. It’s nice to see all the tribes coming together.”


Hammons long-term plan is to develop a foundation to assist families having to cope with a cancer diagnosis. The organization will be called ‘Ghost Hugs’ with the tagline, “you can’t see it, but you can feel it”. Hammons details, “We all want that hug from the person we lost, but they’re all hugging us. It gives me great satisfaction to serve someone. I’m touched that it’s come back to me with small miracle after small miracle. I received the worst news possible and with every hurdle there’s been a miracle from the donations to my prognosis. To be able to serve and do good things for people is a vibe I’ve had since I was a kid, I’m honored to carry that message with ‘Ghost Hugs’.”

There is a consensus that Hammons will beat this. He will prevail. The Chinese proverb “crisis equals danger plus opportunity” has presented these questions to Hammons, “What are you gonna do? Are you gonna step up or step back? Hammons’ response, “I’m stepping up.” Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero’s Journey” has been a source of inspiration for Hammons. Hammons assert that If life puts something in front of you, you can be the hero. Nobody can fight the battle for you, everyone who supports us is on the sidelines. Hammons believes there is a hero in each one of us. If we handle our challenges with positivity and have a giving back mentality, we can be victorious. The hero doesn’t pick the moment, the moment chooses him/her, the hero steps up and makes the history books. We are all rooting for you on the sidelines Hammons!

Skip Paige, Sean Teague and Humberto Vela Present:

The Ghost Notes and Friends

A Fundraiser for Mike Hammons

March 25, 2023

Big Rock Pub – Indio, CA