You may not know the name “Junior Doctor” yet, but you will soon... especially if your child attends Highland Middle School.
Monday, students there will have a chance to see the Florida pop punk band perform and will be able to ask band members Mark Hartman, Jarrod Kearney, Richard Peidro, and Terrence Donnelly questions about the life of a rock musician.
It’s all part of a program put together by the organization Moxie that has been helping high school newspapers, radio, & TV utilize music, videos, artist shows and visits as a part of school curriculum for almost 15 years.
In preparation for their visit to town, Junior Doctor’s lead singer Mark Hartman called Louisville.com to talk about rock, middle schools, mentors and pickpockets.
Tell me a little about the band in general.
We have this little story that is unusual… Three of us met in med school. When you get out in the world you feel like you have to make the smart decisions. We bonded over loving the same music… started jamming together and realized we had to do this. We decided to bail on med school and give this a shot. We’re just going to take it as far as it goes I guess.
So three guys bailing on med school going to talk to middle school kids about life as musicians? Are you pretty happy how this turned out?
We’re stoked about [working with] Moxie. I wasn’t a cool kid in high school. Something that helped me get through weird stages was music. I could write a song and feel like I was being heard. I could connect with kids that were into the same music. So we get to go into these schools and tell them, “We were where you are and this is what helped us get through it. These schools offer music programs. Find what does it for you.”
So you play some tunes and let kids ask you questions? What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever been asked?
Most recently, the best question was if I preferred ninjas or pirates. I told them I didn’t prefer either and was offended by the question.
So how did you make it to the point where you get to tour as an example of rock and roll?
A lot of it is luck. We’re talented guys… but there are a lot of people out there who are good musicians and write good songs. One thing led to another… Matt Goldman (producer behind bands like Cartel, Underoath and Anberlin ) was moving into a new studio and we were his guinea pigs to figure out his new room. Our stuff got into the hands of Mark from Sister Hazel and things really got going… He has been this band’s saving grace. We are doing this whole thing independent now. We’re just trying to get out there and play as many shows as we can. This whole Moxie thing is working out for us. The kids have been digging it and it is getting our name into high schools.
While you are in town, you will also be doing an in-store performance at the FYE in Jefferson Mall? (Monday at 7PM)
Yeah…Our younger demographic… sometimes it is hard to get them out to shows. And we love having them at the shows, so we’ve been trying to figure out how to reach them… Schools are one way and these Hot Topic/FYE in-stores are another way.
There are some TOUGH kids out there, though. There was a 7-year-old at one of these in stores that pick-pocketed me. What do you do in that situation? He is 7? I was like, “Hey… You think I could get that back??”
Is touring with your buddies from med school working out like you thought it would?
The hardest thing about starting a band is finding people that play instruments well. The hardest thing about BEING in a band is GETTING ALONG with people that play their instruments well. Musicians are all riddled with insecurities. We have our ups and downs but we really care about each other. For me, I feel like it is at a point where I care about these guys like brothers.
Photo courtesy of skye media