N.E.D. is a very unique band. N.E.D. (an acronym for No Evidence of Disease) is a rock band with a purpose: composed entirely of six musically talented gynecologic cancer surgeons hailing from all four corners of the U.S. The doctors are full time, practicing surgeons, researchers, and professors who moonlight as musicians in hopes that their music can improve the quality of life of patients and anyone potentially touched by women's cancers.
New York-based Motema Music spearheaded the production and recording of their album which will be released on September 8th to coincide with the first annual Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month. Producer Mario McNulty (David Bowie, Linkin Park, Ziggy Marley) worked closely with the band to create these first-class recordings. The music and lyrics are original, written by members of the band who worked together primarily through video conference.
Sonically, N.E.D.'s EP blends a wide range of folk, arena, and indie rock, and demonstrates pure female vocals likened to Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary and Christine McVie. Lyrically, the music brings a fresh and sympathetic approach to issues of life and death faced by cancer victims and their families. Net proceeds from the sale of the CD will be donated to the N.E.D. Cancer Foundation in association with the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation (GCF) to support public education about gynecologic cancers and to fund promising research projects and programs.
N.E.D is classified as rock music, but it crosses a range of genres, with a soulful sound it is perfect for large audiences. The music is nothing short of extraordinary.
N.E.D. website provides data and statistics about gynecologic cancers, album/band updates and event information. At the website you can listen, purchase and donate to N.E.D.
Interview with N.E.D.
What is the story behind the bands name? N.E.D.
: Back in March of 2008, following our first performance at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa Florida, it became clear that the six of us would be forming a more long-term band. Through a series of conference calls and e-mails we began a healthy discussion about potential band names. We were all in agreement that the name of the band needed to convey a positive message. Furthermore, we wanted a name that had the ability to speak volumes, even though it only consisted of a few words (or letters).
One afternoon at the end of a busy day in the clinic, I found myself in a moving discussion with a patient about her current state of remission during her long battle with ovarian cancer. The patient glanced over my desk and noted the letters N.E.D. written in her chart and asked me what the letters stood for. When I told her N.E.D. stands for No Evidence of Disease, I saw her face light up. It was at that time I realized this terminology that we use in our charts every day carried with it and extremely positive message that patients could relate to. I immediately put out an e-mail to the band members and the vote was unanimous; N.E.D. it is!
Explain what N.E.D. is: N.E.D.
: N.E.D. is a diagnosis that every cancer patient hopes for. N.E.D. describes a state in which cancer can be no longer found. Although N.E.D. is technically medical jargon, we have found that these few letters (or words) has become a powerful statement of hope for patients and their loved ones.
How did it feel to hear your song played? N.E.D.
: Wow, this is a difficult question. These songs were constructed from the ground up by shaping our raw emotion and energy through hours and hours of rehearsing, and of course incorporating input from our outstanding recording team including our songwriting coach and producer.
When looking back on the experience, I relate the songwriting process to what one would feel when nurturing a living thing. When the finished product is heard, you can't help but get emotional thinking about the incredible amount of energy, thought and meaning that went into shaping the songs.
Songwriting has allowed us to channel our emotions and thoughts into a productive and meaningful piece of art and expression. So when you ask how did it feel to hear your song played, the answer is "simply amazing!"
Did you have any pre-conceived ideas about the music industry? N.E.D.
: Dabbling in and out of music and bands most of our lives, we did have some pre-conceived ideas about the music industry. Like most things in life, we tend to remember the more colorful experiences that famous musicians had made public in the past. For example, you may remember how Prince had difficulty with the record industry even during his extremely successful years. Fortunately, I am happy to say that aside from the few minor bumps in the road that can be expected from any creative endeavor, we have been extremely happy with our experience in the music industry and have had a very positive experience.
Do you write your own songs? What's your inspiration? N.E.D.
: All the songs on N.E.D. debut album are original songs. Our inspiration comes from the heart, from our personal experiences. For example, the opening song on the album is "She Sings to Me." This is a very personal song written by Dr. John Boggess about the sudden loss of his sister.
Another song on the debut album is "Third Person Reality." This is a song that I wrote describing the difficult and emotional experiences that both the patient and the physician go through when dealing with the diagnosis of cancer.
All the songs have personal meaning to us. When listening to the album, we hope you will feel the inspiration as well.
What music/artists do you listen to when you are not playing your own? N.E.D.
: Personally, I am a huge fan of Rush.
Other influences for myself the other band members include U2, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, Green Day, and a slew of others.
What's next? Tour/Album/Single? N.E.D.
: We have been talking about putting together a tour at select cities around the country, especially near each of our hometowns. In late October, we will begin the tour in Portland, Oregon where one of the band members (Dr. Will Winter) is from.
On November 6th, 7th, and 8th, 2009, N.E.D. will be playing at the first Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Movement in Washington DC. This event will bring together political leaders prominent researchers, clinicians, patients, advocacy groups, and others in an event to promote gynecologic cancer awareness with the hope to unite in the fight against gynecologic cancers like never before.
In December of 2009, the band will be touring Texas, where Dr. Rusty Robinson (the band's bass player) resides.
Do you prefer performing live or recording? N.E.D.
: This is another really challenging question. Both performing live and recording are truly amazing experiences. For all of us, putting together this album was our first experience with professional high level recording. So, recording this album was truly an intense and exhilarating experience. However, performing live and having a chance to interact with an audience is truly a privilege is something we all enjoy and look forward to as musicians.
What/who was your inspiration to go into the music industry? N.E.D.
: As a group, we had something to share and we saw music as the tool to help us reach our audience. Music has the ability to touch people in an incredibly powerful way. All of us in N.E.D. share a passion for music and truly are thankful for the opportunity given to us by the music industry.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced along the way to your musical success? N.E.D.
: Our biggest challenge has been balancing the many commitments we have in our lives including our day jobs (cancer surgeons), family and friends, and our music. An added challenge for us is the fact that we live in various parts of the country making even simple rehearsals a challenge to schedule. But throughout it all, it is these challenges that make the music even more special to us (and hopefully to the listener as well).
What has been your favorite part of becoming a music artist? N.E.D.
: My favorite part of becoming a music artist has been the incredible opportunities that come with it. Aside from the therapeutic benefits that come from expressing my thoughts and feelings and communicating through music, I am looking forward to expanding the role music in the healing process. For example, I recently signed a book deal with Jones and Bartlett Publishing to write a book on Music and Cancer, which also comes out this September. During the assembly of this book, I had the opportunity to work with celebrities such as Fran Drescher, as well as leaders in the music industry including music executive Tony Martell, and one of the founders of MTV Bob Friedman.
I'm looking forward to the future and other ways to expand and collaborate as a music artist.
If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be? N.E.D.
: I would love the opportunity to collaborate with Neil Peart, the drummer and percussionist of Rush. Neil is repeatedly recognized as the world's best drummer. His ability to play complex rhythms in a manner that seems effortless it is inspiring. In addition, Neil has written incredibly thoughtful and insightful lyrics for Rush throughout the years.
Do you have a website fans can visit? N.E.D.
: www.nedthe band.org
Can you tell us 5 things required for a happy healthy & enjoyable life? N.E.D.
: This is probably the toughest question of all. I wish I had the answers on how to lead a happy, healthy and enjoyable life. Ultimately, what may be one person to answer to this question may not be another's. Suffice it to say, music and the arts (whether performing or appreciating) is probably a good place to start!
What message would you like to say to your fans? N.E.D.
: N.E.D. thanks you for your support! You are amazing.
Interview by Brooke Hunter