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The Mapes fight off cancer, set to rock


He beat cancer.

Now, Clay Heximer’s conquering his second cocktail.

“I have found out that if you have a kidney removed you get drunk w-a-a-y quicker,” The Mapes drummer notes on a recent Tuesday evening, sitting in a faux Tiki hut adorned with paintings of topless chicks and tongue-wagging totem heads in a dark corner of Frankie’s. “It makes it cheaper,” he says knowingly, finding the silver lining to renal carcinoma. “I really just planned all this cancer so that my bar tab would be lower.”

Heximer’s bandmates, sitting around him, get a good laugh out of that one while working on drinks of their own.

“He only got better because he knew The Mapes needed to go on,” singer-guitarist Kirk Kangieser says.

The Mapes have indeed found a way to go on: With Heximer surviving a recent cancer scare, the band is set to play its first gig in a year Saturday at Dive Bar.

The drummer knew precisely when he was ready to return to action.

“As soon as my doctor told me I was OK to drink, I was like, ‘All right. This seems doable,’ ” Heximer says.

And so one of Vegas’ most awesomely obnoxious, shamefully funny and in-your-face bands is back. With short, three-chord blasts of singalong raunch heavy on references to snackcakes, boobies and assorted human orifices, The Mapes are the rock ’n’ roll equivalent of Divine biting into that dog turd in “Pink Flamingos,” bad taste turned into a sticky, glitter, sweat and beer-spackled art form. Their gigs tend to escalate into glorified food fights, with bananas and various Oscar Mayer products flying through the air .

Seriously, you’ve got to see The Mapes at least once.

After that, you’ll either never, ever want to be in the same room with these dudes again or you’ll spend all of Grandma’s insulin money on hot dogs to whip at the band during its next gig.

Throughout the conversation, the foursome seldom stop smiling.

“Everything that we do, everything that we write, if we don’t laugh or make each either laugh, then it pretty much gets canned instantly,” guitarist Dave Post explains.

The band, which has been around for more than a decade now, has 10 new songs recorded for a future release, following up their self-titled 2010 debut.

They’ll get around to putting them out at some point, but for now, they’ve got a gig to do.

The day before, Heximer is scheduled for his first post-cancer checkup.

“It could be a horrible show for me,” he deadpans, depending on the news from his doctor. “But we’ll play no matter what.”

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476.