Preston Brust of LOCASH was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy in 2009. It’s a facial weakness condition, and he’d not had major issues with the disease until a flare-up in December of 2021. It’s a rare condition that affects about 40,000 Americans. Now, the singer is opening up more about the moment that he knew he had the condition in a new interview with People.
“I was brushing my teeth, and all of a sudden I looked in the mirror and there was toothpaste just coming out of the right side of my mouth,” he tells People. “All down my beard and onto my shirt.”
He and his musical partner, Chris Lucas, were beginning to have success at the time. He feared that the unexplained illness may derail their rise.
“My initial reaction was, ‘I can’t let anybody see me like this,'” he said. “But Chris had my back, and I didn’t want to stop working. I was like, ‘I’m letting LOCASH down if I don’t go out and work and tour.”
Doctors originally told Brust that he would recover in six weeks to three months. But he only regained about 70 percent of the strength in the right side of his face. That took six to seven months. When it returned in December of 2021, he felt like all of the progress that he’d made was lost.
“Everything I had worked to gain back, the strength, was gone,” he said. “I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ I remember waking up my wife and telling her Bell’s had hit me again. We just hugged for a few minutes and I didn’t want to let go because I knew when I did my next journey was going to begin and the only way out is through.”
LOCASH Singer Continues to Fight Bell’s Palsy
Brust continued performing, and he found ways to cover his condition. It doesn’t cause physical pain, but it’s visible. He hid behind microphones and sunglasses as the band continued on.
“I was able to hide the Bell’s the first time really well and stay out of the spotlight just enough,” he said. “But this time we had a hit song on our hands and we had to go support it and promote it. You can find yourself in a dark place. I try to tell myself, ‘Don’t look in the mirror so much. Don’t stand there so long and worry about it. Just walk away and blow it off and don’t let it win that day.'”
LOCASH is currently enjoying success with their single “Beach Boys,” a summer anthem that earned the approval of the legendary surf band.
Brust was inspired to share his story when Justin Bieber began sharing his story about his own fight with Ramsay Hunt syndrome. He felt a responsibility to let other people coping know that they aren’t alone. He’s grateful for the support of his wife and children as he continues an ongoing battle.