Members of Doc Rock perform during a breast cancer awareness event outside the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa. Dr. Mitch Kroungold, Dr. Joe Rosin, Maryann Harman, Dr. Larry Feinman, Dr. Steven LeVine and Dr. Gerry Cosentino.
During the work week, Steven LeVine's instruments are forceps, scalpels and Metzenbaum scissors.
On Friday nights, his instruments are keyboards, saxophones and electric guitars.
LeVine, a St. Petersburg vascular surgeon, is one of the founding members of Doc Rock, a popular classic rock cover band made up almost entirely of Pinellas County doctors.
The band has been playing in local venues since 1992. LeVine said Doc Rock hit the big time a few months later, when it played a gig at Clancy's, a once-revered Pinellas club and eatery.
"We got the job by telling them 'You don't have to pay us. We'll just charge $2 at the door and we'll just take that,' " LeVine said. "We put up flyers at hospitals, and a lot of doctors and nurses came to see us. We pulled in about $800, and Clancy's told us 'We're not going to be doing it that way anymore.' "
On a recent Friday night, Doc Rock packed the house and the dance floor, at Sassy's Martini Bar in Largo. Several hundred baby boomers were on hand to hear the Docs rock through credible covers of BTO's "Takin' Care of Business," Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman" and The Eagles "Take It Easy."
Some of the hundreds of people in the crowd that night were part of the regular Sassy's crowd. But plenty more were part of the Doc Rock faithful fan base that follow the band wherever it plays.
That became obvious when the band played its theme song (and only original number), "Doc Rock."
"The story is told you'll never grow old if you play in a rock and roll band," the lyrics say. "We're doctors and we're rockers until the day we die. We heal by day and rock by night. We are Doc Rock."
On that cue, the crowd shouts out "Doc Rock!" in unison.
The song was written by Mitch Kroungold, a local psychologist and Doc Rock guitarist. The band's other members are internist-guitarist Joe Rosin, podiatrist-bassist Gerry Cosentino, and surgeon-drummer Larry Feinman. The only member who doesn't have a day job in the healing arts is singer Maryann Harman. She's a full-time performer and music teacher.
"I'm not a doctor — I just have a disease," she likes to joke.
LeVine traces the band's origins to a time when Rosin and Feinman had kids who were starting to take music lessons. That prompted them to dust off the instruments of their own youth. Soon the two doctors were taking lessons from their kids' teacher, just to brush off the musical cobwebs.
One of them idly mentioned to LeVine that they had an idea of starting a band. LeVine said he was a multi-instrumentalist himself and he wouldn't mind getting together and making some noise.
Not long after, "Doc Rock" was born. Now the doctors get together most Wednesday evenings to jam and practice for upcoming shows
The band has a largely loyal following that turns up at most of its shows, so clubs like Sassy's and Ferg's in St. Petersburg are always glad to host them.
"We could play every weekend if we wanted to," LeVine said. "Life gets in the way. We probably play twice a month."
(Doc Rock's next appearance at Sassy's is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 9. Sassy's is located as 14450 Walsingham Road in Largo.)
LeVine was encouraged that so many people showed up at Sassy's to hear them play during an October gig. Usually the band tries to publicize its shows, at least in local hospitals and clinics, but hadn't done so this time. Sill, the place was packed.
"This is the first time I haven't bothered to put up flyers," LeVine said. "I just didn't have time. And it doesn't seem to have made any difference."
The docs rock a couple of other area clubs, and they've become favorites for charity events. Because of their connections, they often end up playing charity events with a medical slant (including a recent breast cancer awareness fundraiser) but they've also done shows to raise money for homeless shelters and a variety of other causes.
They don't charge a fee when they play for charity, but band members said it's not about the money anyway. They make so little from their band gigs that they're not really worthwhile financially.
"It costs me more to pay my baby sitter than I make from doing this," LeVine said.
Some of the members of Doc Rock considered careers in music, but opted for medicine instead. They don't regret the choice, but they're happy to get a chance to get a taste of what their lives might have been like if they had made a different decision.
"I love music and I love medicine," Rosin said. "Basically, I'm living the dream."