This Melbourne oncologist makes music with ‘love, burnout and grief all rolled into one’

Get the latest from Beat


This Melbourne oncologist makes music with ‘love, burnout and grief all rolled into one’


Meet MayhemTom, the musical moniker of Melbourne oncologist Tom John, whose work both fundraises for, and helps to express, the hope and grief of cancer treatment.

MayhemTom is the musical project of Tom John. The musician is an oncologist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, treating people dealing with cancer – literally saving lives, his music reflects many of the issues he has dealt with through his work.

‘Falling (In Reality)’ is the first single from the upcoming album The Art Of Flying While Falling, which will drop later in the year.

Stay up to date with what’s happening in and around Melbourne here.

With the help of a full band, the arrangements take on an ethereal quality with orchestral arrangements mixed with soaring vocals and tasteful guitar licks. With a background in funk music stretching back to the 90s, the recent project is a varied affair that mixes indie rock, touches of world music and straight-up indie pop.

Peter Mac will be involved, promoting the event and the gig revenue, fundraising from auction-style activity at the gig, and a per cent of all future album sales will be donated to Peter Mac.

“In terms of the single. I was listening to quite a bit of The National at that time. The song itself is a love song written about my wife,” Tom says. “It was while I was going through a period of burnout, stress, and had just lost a patient similar age to me to cancer unexpectedly.

“I think during that week I had cried with his widow and young kids in ICU and was feeling particularly vulnerable. So it is love, burnout and grief all rolled into one. I didn’t realise I was falling, I thought I was doing okay, until I took a step back and realised where I was.”

For more info, head here.