As a teenager, Neil Ratner was an aspiring rock n’ roll drummer but ended up on the other side of the music business working as a tour manager, assistant manager and producer for groups like Edgar Winter, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Pink Floyd and T-Rex, among others. After a number of successful years working in the music biz, Neil had an epiphany and decided to pursue his other childhood dream of becoming a doctor.
Michael Jackson with Dr. Neil Ratner.
He finished college, learned Spanish, spent four years at a medical school in Mexico, completed two years of surgical training and an anesthesia residency, and helped create the new specialty of office-based anesthesia in Manhattan. In doing so, Dr. Ratner became an expert in the use of the new drug, Propofol, a drug that would play a significant role in Neil’s future in regards to his most famous patient Michael Jackson.
Although Dr. Ratner encountered many celebrities in his anesthesia practice, one would change his life… Michael Jackson. Eight years after establishing his anesthesia practice, Michael Jackson walked into an office in which Neil was the Director of Anesthesia. Neil became a trusted friend and personal physician of Michael’s from 1994 to 2002, periodically going on tour and spending time with Michael at Neverland. The experiences they shared together during that time are incredible and Neil is happy to relate them to you.
Neil’s book available from his website and Amazon.
His book Rock Doc is Neil’s remarkable journey about Rock & Roll, Michael Jackson, Nelson Mandela, a prison sentence with very unexpected results and how helping the poorest of the poor became a key part of his life.
These days “the Rock Doc” lives a busy life in Woodstock, NY working to expand upon his brand. He has created a FB page entitled Neil Ratner Rock Doc with over 26,000 fans and posts everyday about the good old days of rock and roll along with his personal experiences. In addition, he has created a YouTube channel with over 80 videos, a popular Instagram site and a twitter feed.
His mix of rock and roll history and personal experiences along with rock musician interviews and audience participation is perfect for syndication and a fitting cap to a career that’s made an impact in many areas.
He’s on his way to that goal as he’s started a weekly segment on WDST, Radio Woodstock, called This Week in Rock, also heard on iHeart Radio.
Link to Neil’s website: http://www.neilratnerrockdoc.com
Link to Neil’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/neilratnerrockdoc/
Here’s a link to some of Neil’s This Week in Rock shows: http://www.radiowoodstock.com/category/audio/this-week-in-rock-roll/
Link to a recent feature on Neil in Guitar International: http://guitarinternational.com/2019/05/02/interview-dr-neil-ratner/
Link to a YouTube interview with Interviewing the Legends: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asHz2yDeysUListen to the full episode
It was a great pleasure to bring this interview with Steve Fossen to the Better Each Day listeners. He is a founding member and original bassist for Heart. His work on the albums “Dreamboat Annie,” “Little Queen,” “Magazine,” “Dog & Butterfly,” “Bebe le Strange,” as well as several greatest hits and compilations, has been a staple of radio since their releases, selling tens of millions of copies.
In 2013, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honored the talents and contribution of the original six members of HEART: Ann and Nancy Wilson, Howard Leese, Roger Fisher, Steve Fossen and Michael Derosier. Steve and Mike are proving that they still have a lot of love left to give to the music world as they announce plans for their latest project – Heart By Heart.
Driven to recreate the songs of HEART, while bringing the essence and purity of the group back to the stage, Heart By Heart was created to offer fans the unique experience that only those who were actually in the original band could offer.
Steve Fossen, co-founder of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band Heart.
“With Mike and me at the helm, we can, once again, help bring out those musical nuances and ignite the energy within our own band that made HEART one of the most beloved rock groups of our time,” explained Fossen.
In order to play the songs the way they were conceived, Fossen and Derosier surrounded themselves with musicians who shared their philosophy for excellence. Lead vocalist Somar Macek delivers a “jaw dropping performance” with her vocal range and stage presence. Fossen and Macek had been performing as a duo for years, often times naturally weaving their way into a HEART song as if being guided by a larger force. It was during their duo days, in fact, that Fossen actually started thinking about putting the band together. The name “Heart By Heart” came from Macek who said it signified their true feelings for one another.
With the help of the legendary Randy Hansen on guitar and Seattle radio host Bob Rivers on keyboards, the band was off and running. But it wasn’t until the group was performing at a local show that they finally found what they were missing – Lizzy Daymont on guitar and vocals.
“We were amazed with her musical talents and how well she knew the songs, one week later she joined us on stage as a member of Heart by Heart. In fact, when I heard Somar and Lizzy harmonize for the first time I had to hide my face because I thought I was going to cry,” said Fossen. Though not sisters they sing together as if they were.
After the departure of Bob Rivers, Lizzy added keyboards to her duties, and 30-year veteran touring guitarist Chad Quist has joined in place of Randy Hansen.
With the lineup complete, Heart By Heart’s mission is simple – to create music that is authentic, passionate, and true to HEART’s original recordings. After all, Fossen and Derosier, who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013 as members of HEART, would never do the music any injustice.
“When I first discovered Heart By Heart, I thought they were just a HEART tribute band – a really, really great HEART tribute band. I was excited to meet two rock legends – Steve and Mike – and to hear the band in person. What I wasn¹t prepared for was how amazing this band sounded,” said Tom Moon, of Starleigh Entertainment. “It wasn’t just that they are all world class players and singers, they are, but what astounded me most was the authenticity with which they played the material. Heart By Heart is way beyond a tribute band, their performance is a real and impactful musical experience, once you hear what they do, you cannot help but be won over.”
Heart By Heart Home PageListen to the full episode
Who played a guitar with customization that included foam rubber, masking tape and glow-in-the-dark paint, watched Janis Joplin massage helicopter seats with chocolate bars and taught Frank Zappa how to shoot a handgun? Hint: Take the obvious answer.
Mark Farner turns 70 on September 29, 2018 and lives life like a rockstar. Well…he is a rockstar. He prides himself on a phenomenal career as a musician, being a family man and a person of love.
After Grand Funk initially disbanded in 1976, Farner released his first self-titled solo album in 1977, and his second, No Frills, in 1978 (both Atlantic Records). In 1981, Farner and Don Brewer launched a new Grand Funk line-up with bassist Dennis Bellinger and recorded two albums, Grand Funk Lives and What’s Funk?. Farner went solo again with 1988’s Just Another Injustice on Frontline Records. His third Frontline release was 1991’s Some Kind of Wonderful, which featured a revamped version of the Grand Funk classic of the same name. Farner enjoyed success with the John Beland composition “Isn’t it Amazing”, which earned him a Dove Award nomination and reached No. 2 on the Contemporary Christian music charts.
In the 1990s, Farner formed Lismark Communications with former Freedom Reader editor Steve Lisuk. Soon after, Farner began reissuing his solo albums on his own record label, LisMark Records.
From 1994 to 1995, Farner toured with Ringo Starr’s Allstars, which also featured Randy Bachman, John Entwistle, Felix Cavaliere, Billy Preston, and Starr’s son, Zak Starkey.
In the late 1990s, Farner reunited with Grand Funk, but left after three years to resume his solo career. He currently tours with his band, N’rG, which plays a mixture of Grand Funk songs and Farner’s solo offerings.
Farner had a pacemaker installed October 22, 2012, having struggled with heart troubles for the prior eight years.
Now he makes his way to the Historic Everett Theatre June 8th.
This episode features a newer song “Take You Out” and a 1975 release “Some Kind of Wonderful” with the shared vocals of drummer Don Brewer and Farner.Listen to the full episode
There were many legends that passed this year. Many musicians including Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Al Jarreau, Mel Tillis, J. Geils and Walter Becker. There were others but I chose Tom Petty for the final episode of 2017. He was loved and respected by many and one of my personal musical influences.Listen to the full episode