Back in the mid-1990s, Ocala neurologist Dr. Jay Rubin, who plays saxophone and bass guitar, learned there was a new doctor in town who was also a musician. Jay decided to give Dr. Ed Stewart a call to see if he’d like to join musical forces with him. Maybe they could even find a few other physician/musicians to start their own rock band.
Actually, it wasn’t as far-fetched as it might sound.
Ed, an allergist and immunologist, had just moved here from the Tampa Bay area and was a rock band veteran.
“I was playing bass, but I really wanted to get back to playing lead guitar,” he explains. “It was a perfect welcome to Ocala.”
Before long, Ed and Jay found other doctors and medical professionals who were musically inclined. They got together and played their favorite music, mostly classic rock from the ‘70s and ‘80s, as often as their hectic schedules would allow.
Dr. Ron Spencer, an OB-GYN who also had previously played in a band, was the rhythm guitarist and Dr. Doug Murphy, also an OB-GYN, was the drummer. Radiologist Dr. Rolando Prieto played keyboards. They invited singer Mary Standley, a medical researcher, to join the group. Mary asked LynnMarie Lusk, a pharmaceutical representative whom she sang with in church, to join her in singing vocals.
At first, it was mostly for fun. Then they heard about the Medical Society Talent Show in 1995 and decided to make the commitment to practice more often, expand their repertoire, and make their performance debut.
The talent show audience loved them. Soon, the band was getting requests to play at medical office openings and private parties.
“The price was right,” remembers LynnMarie. “We played for free and we brought our own equipment.”
Nite Call playing live.
Nite Call became so busy with gigs that it had to get some help. By hiring Ocala-based Thomas Michaels Productions to provide sound services and by adding roadies to help transport their heavy equipment, the docs found a way to make the music work for them.
Before long, they had to start charging for their gigs in order to pay for those services. Ed notes that it’s a good thing they all have day jobs because their fees just cover their expenses.
Nite Call’s offerings range from covers of rock classics from the ‘70s and ‘80s (think Rolling Stones, 38 Special, Santana, Bob Seger, and Eric Clapton) to covers of more contemporary groups like Smash Mouth, Jimmy Eat World, and Maroon 5. They even add in some country occasionally.
The band especially likes helping worthy non-profit groups. Among their favorite fundraisers are “Rock With the Docs” for the Boys and Girls Club and “Battle of the Bands” for the PACE Center for Girls.
Although they don’t do clubs or bars, they all have fond memories of one particular night, some years ago, when they played for overflow audiences at the former Lillian’s in downtown Ocala. LynnMarie says they performed for the appreciative crowds until well after midnight, when the local fire marshal had to tell people to leave because there were too many inside.
These days, they get the band together every week to practice. They admit there’s seldom a practice session when all of them are present because of their full calendars, but when they get together for a scheduled gig, everyone is prepared.
Members of Nite Call (L-R): Dr. Rolando Prieto, Radiology Associates of Ocala; Dr. Doug Murphy, Ocala Gynecology; Dr. Ron Spencer, retired OB-Gyn; Dr. Ed Stewart, Allergy and Asthma Care of Florida; LynnMarie Lusk, Sanofi-Aventis Pharmaceuticals; Mary Standley, Renstar Medical Research; Dr. Jay Rubin, Neurological Associates of Ocala
Fortunately, several in the group are musical chameleons. Rhythm guitarist Ron Spencer also plays harmonica, steel guitar, and slide guitar. He even does back-up vocals, as does lead guitarist and sometime-bass player Ed Stewart. Vocalist LynnMarie also plays percussion and piano and can fill in on pick-up guitar when necessary.
After all these years, they’re still having fun.
“Classic rock is the best music,” says Jay. “That’s why we like to do it so much.”
Want To Know More?
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