Spirit Of The West Singer John Mann’s Early Onset Alzheimer’s Focus Of New Doc

Spirit of the West’s lead singer, John Mann, may be suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s Disease, but there’s something about music that always brings him back. That’s what a new documentary, Spirit Unforgettable, explores, and it will debut this weekend at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto.

“I think what the film conveys is the amazing network of support involved in really getting someone through this,” producer Ben Murray said to The Canadian Press. “When he performs onstage now he uses an iPad to read, which is operated by one of the other band members, and they’ve found a way to insulate and work around the illness in a way to keep him performing. Because he gets such a lift from being onstage.”

Spirit of the West has been around for nearly four decades, releasing their first self-titled album back in 1984. Thirteen albums later, with their most recent being 2008’s Spirituality 1983–2008: The Consummate Compendium, have survived a number of hiatuses and revivals when, in September 2014, Mann announced his Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

Spirit of the West no longer performs live, announcing at a Vancouver show last month that it would be their last.