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May The Real Rock Doc Please Stand?

September 03, 2000|MICHAEL T. JARVIS

We asked Burbank guitar and amplifier repairman Steve Dikun, known on the roadie circuit as the "Rock 'n' Roll Doctor," to compare resumes with Stephen Patt, an MD who toured and recorded with the Chambers Brothers in the '60s and is also known as the "Rock 'n' Roll Doctor."


Most famous clients:

Dikun: ZZ Top, Aerosmith, Fleetwood Mac, Phish, Juice Newton, Warren Zevon, Black Crows.

Patt: Most of the high-profile actors and directors in Hollywood. I'm permanently attached to a few popular television shows, like "Just Shoot Me."


"Rock 'N' Roll Doctor" credentials:

Dikun: You get your wings only after diverting major disaster. Usually only you and the band really know how close you came.

Patt: From my role in the recording studio. I would be called in to add some flavor to a song--playing slide guitar, pedal steel or mandolin--and by 'doctoring up' the tune, got the nickname. After realizing that life on the road would probably not lead to a happy family and home, I entered the family business, which is medicine.


Greatest Rock 'N' Roll moment:

Dikun: When the lights go down in Madison Square Garden. Imagine all mouths are wide open and screaming in your direction.

Patt: As an impressionable 17-year-old, I worked at the original Woodstock Festival, and it was a solid week of madness and dirt. I was paymaster for the musicians and had the unwelcome task of handing out the checks, which everyone knew were made of pure rubber. When I tracked down a jet-lagged Jimi Hendrix and his band at their cottage, I interrupted a smoky card game with payment of Jimi's check for the gig. We chatted for a few minutes about his new album, then he walked me away from the card table, asking softly, "Is this thing any good?" I shook my head sadly, he smiled sadly, and we parted company.


What can't you cure?

Dikun: Lack of talent.

Patt: A broken heart.


Patient motto:

Dikun: When you start to think it's too loud, it's time to quit.

Patt: Live life one day at a time. Some days it's a challenge, but I've chosen every element that's present in my life, and I encourage my patients to do the same.


Got any groupies?

Dikun: Roadies have groupies. The doctor has disciples.

Patt: Our groupie days, if they ever were, are now, thankfully, long over.


Do you heal yourself?

Dikun: There is no cure for what I've got.

Patt: On some days, yes. I'm a strong believer in faith and acceptance. You might say that as a nice Jewish boy from Baltimore, I'm a good Zen Buddhist.


Musical instrument you can't live without:

Dikun: My 1966 Rickenbacker 360 12-string guitar through my Vox AC-30 amplifier. It's truly an amazing sound.

Patt: My new Danelectro double-neck baritone/six electric guitar made out of wood and Masonite.


Do you believe the Doobie Brothers song that says "music is the doctor"?

Dikun: Bands like the Doobies are gone. Now it's more like "music needs a doctor."

Patt: Yes, I'm living proof.

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