Guest Blogger: 6 Gynecologic Oncologists Form Rock Band NED
Posted Oct 15 2009 10:01pm
My name is Dr. Nimesh P. Nagarsheth, and I am a women’s cancer surgeon currently practicing at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City and Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in Englewood, New Jersey. In addition to my day job, I am also the drummer and percussionist for the rock band N.E.D. The band is made up of 6 gynecologic oncologists from around the country, and under the umbrella of the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation ( http://www.thegcf.org/thenedfund/ ) is helping to increase cancer awareness. In this blog I will attempt to give you the skinny on N.E.D. - a true behind-the-scenes look on where we have been, where we are now, and where we are going.
Like many rock band stories, N.E.D. was the result of a chance happening – a perfect storm if you will. I’ll never forget my conversation with Dr. G Larry Maxwell (Chief of Gynecologic Oncology at Walter Reade Medical Center) during the annual meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists that sunny day in the Spring of 2007 in San Diego, California. Dr. Maxwell approached Dr. Will Winter and myself asking about the potential of forming a rock band that could play the following year at our annual meeting in Tampa, Florida. Both Will Winter and I had worked with Dr. Maxwell in the past. Through our interactions, one thing that became clear is that each of us shared a love for music. With Dr. Maxwell in charge of organizing the details of the upcoming annual meeting and Dr. Andrew Berchuck serving as President of the Society (an avid music lover), the stage was set and the timing was right for the creation of an N.E.D.
In the following few months, Will and I began sending out e-mails to other members of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists in an effort to recruit musicians for the band. Initially, we ran into some resistance and there was little interest from our doctor colleagues in joining us in our musical adventure. However, as the Tampa meeting approached, people suddenly came out of the woodwork expressing interest in joining the band. By this time, the band had been solidified as the six-member group that you now know as N.E.D. (Doctors John Boggess, Joanie Hope, Nimesh P. Nagarsheth, Rusty Robinson, and Will Winter). As a group, we had picked approximately 20 songs (cover songs) to learn on our own prior to arriving at the Tampa meeting. Our plan was to meet the day before the scheduled performance and rehearse (for the first time as a group), and then play for our colleagues the following day.
Amazingly, everything went according to plan, and in March of 2008 N.E.D. made its first official performance for approximately 1500 people in the Tampa Convention Center. The show was a huge success, and almost immediately the band had invitations to play at venues throughout the country as well as internationally. It was actually at this time that N.E.D. (No Evidence of Disease) became the official band name. The name is actually a notation that we use in our medical charts every day when describing the best case scenario of a patient who has been diagnosed with cancer – that is someone who no longer has any evidence of cancer remaining in his or her body. We picked this name because it says it all. Powerful, inspiring, and empowering, N.E.D. stands as a symbol for hope for cancer patients everywhere.
Although N.E.D. had invitations to play throughout the country, it was the invitation to play at the Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Movement (GCAM) in Washington, D.C.(November 6th, 7th, and 8th) that became the band’s true inspiration to take this creative idea to the next level ( http://www.wcn.org/media/announcements/20090325.html ). With anticipated attendance from political leaders, advocacy groups, doctors, patients, families and loved ones, the GCAM event represents a major advance in the fight against gynecologic cancers. It became clear to us that in order to really make an impact at the GCAM event and help promote gynecologic cancer awareness through our music, we would need to start writing original songs.
Luckily, thanks to modern technology including the Internet’s and other creative forms of communication, we were able to exchange musical ideas from our homes across the country. We assembled several songs that we felt were worthy of developing into an album of original music and took this idea to Motema Music ( http://www.motema.com/artist/ned ), a record label based out of New York City. Jana Herzen, the President of Motema Music, offered the band a contract and suddenly N.E.D. was on a record label.
Motema linked us with an amazing producer and assistant producer - Mario McNulty (credits include Linkin Park, David Bowie, Ziggy Marley) and K.J. Denhert. Given the fact that the band members live in various parts of the country, rehearsals as a group were hard to come by. Navigating through the schedules of six surgeons, we were able to find three long weekends over the course of several months where we could rehearse as a group with our producers.
Through this process, we were able to put together the six songs that now appear on the debut album N.E.D., which was recorded over five days at both Bennett Studios (New Jersey) and Dubway Studios (New York City). Although staying in the studio morning to night was both stressful and tiring, it was an amazing experience that all of us felt privileged to be a part of.
In September of 2009, N.E.D. released its debut album and also a companion book entitled Music and Cancer: A Prescription For Healing ( http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/9780763779085/?AID=621 ), which has contributions from all the band members. We hope you enjoy these works that have come from our hearts, and hope you join us in helping to raise gynecologic cancer awareness. Please visit us at http:// www.nedtheband.com and http://musicandcancer.org.