Tuesday, September 23, 2014
They Call Him … “Dr. God of Rock”
The Extraordinary Double Life of One ISVMA Member
by Michael Adkins
By day, Peter S. Sakas, DVM, sees patients at Niles Animal Hospital and Bird Medical Center in Niles, Illinois. But at night, when the stage is set and the baseline kicks in, Sakas trades his lab coat for a camera, covering classic rock bands for Rock Chicago Magazine — an online source for concert reviews, previews and other music-related news for the Chicagoland area.
Sakas has been a part of Rock Chicago Magazine for three years. Sakas had talked about music with a longtime client, Kevin Pollack, for a number of years, and the two shared a love for progressive rock acts from the 1970s, including Emerson, Lake & Palmer; Genesis; Yes; Renaissance; and many others. “[Pollack] decided to create an online rock magazine and asked me to be one of his writers, as he knew I loved music [and] photography and was a pretty decent writer,” Sakas explained, “I told him, ‘I can’t write rock reviews,’ as I had never done that before.”
But Pollack urged him to try. As Sakas noted, Pollack thought “this would be a great outlet for my creative side … and he was right!” Pollack offered Sakas tickets to a Greg Lake concert. Lake is perhaps best known as a longtime member of the aforementioned band Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Sakas, who described Lake as “one of my rock idols,” had purchased tickets as soon as they were available, but he agreed to cover the show anyway.
“As luck would have it, his readers loved my review; he said the readers felt they were at the concert itself through reading my review,” Sakas recalled. “So that is how it blossomed from there, as he asked me to cover more and more concerts.”
Some of the many acts Sakas has covered include Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band, Aerosmith, Bad Company, Cheap Trick, Bret Michaels, Huey Lewis, Chicago, and the Doobie Brothers, among numerous others.
Though Sakas does this for free, there are other benefits, including the free concert tickets, meeting rock legends and appealing to his clients. Sakas’ clients are “absolutely fascinated,” in his words, by the fact that their animals’ veterinarian has a double life of sorts. “Those that know this side of me will ask me which concerts I had been to when they are in with their pets for an appointment,” he said, adding that he frequently posts reviews and photos on his Facebook page. “In fact, I am now affectionately known by many of our clients as Dr. God of Rock,” he added.
One of the most memorable experiences Sakas has had as “Dr. God of Rock” was meeting “the Prince of Darkness,” Ozzy Osbourne, at a meet-and-greet event before Osbourne’s Moline concert in 2011. “Each person went up to Ozzy, and typically, he would mug with them or act a bit outrageously. When I walked up for my turn, I handed him a copy of his autobiography. As I handed him the book for him to sign, I said, ‘This is for my wife; she is the person who keeps my life in order.’ He responded with, ‘I have one of them too.’ We exchanged some pleasantries about our spouses, and as he handed the book back to me, I said, ‘Thank you very much.’ He said, ‘No, thank you very much.’ Then the next person walked up and said, ‘Hey, Ozzy — aaaarggggh!’ Ozzy then mugged back and made similar guttural sounds. But for that brief moment when I was with him, Ozzy and I were like two normal guys just talking to each other.”
Another of Sakas’ memorable experiences involved a meeting of his two worlds. Sakas explained that he was to interview Alan White, longtime drummer for the band Yes. The interview took place over the phone, and White called Sakas at the animal hospital. “When I began, I said, ‘Mr. White, I hope my questions are interesting to you. Interviewing is actually not my profession; I am actually a veterinarian.’ He said, ‘You are? That is great. What a great profession. I have three Jack Russell terriers who I love to pieces. I take them everywhere with me, even out on my boat.’ He continued to go on [about] how lucky I was to be in a profession like veterinary medicine.”
Later, at a meet-and-greet event at the concert, Sakas said, “When I was up there with the band, I introduced myself to him, and he started gushing all over the fact that I was a veterinarian, mentioning to his bandmates what a great job I had. My wife, who was with me, was flabbergasted that he was carrying on about me. I felt 10 feet tall after that experience.”
Editor’s Note: To read Sakas’ reviews and interviews, visit www.rockchicago.
net, and search for “Sakas.” If you’re interested in sharing your unique hobby
with ISVMA, please contact Debbie Lakamp at firstname.lastname@example.org or (217)