The Beatles. Jimi Hendrix. Country Joe & the Fish. Gandalf Universal Library. Gandalf who? That was the name of a 1960’s high school band formed by Jerry W. Goldberg, MD, who has worked for the past 30 years as a rheumatologist at the Marshfield Clinic in Marshfield, Wis. Back then, it seemed like everyone was either in a rock band or wanted to be in one.
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Explore This IssueOctober 2014
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Much has changed since then, but not everything: Dr. Goldberg still plays the guitar. He’s still in a band. Now at age 66, he still performs. His band, called The Pointless Brothers, mainly performs at charitable events throughout the year. Although none of their original songs have hit Billboard magazine’s chart, Dr. Goldberg doesn’t seem to mind. He enjoys practicing each week with his band, teaching other physicians to play guitar and recording songs performed by local musicians in his own recording studio.
Donkeys to Pointless Brothers
The only constant throughout Dr. Goldberg’s life has been music. After graduating from University of California, Berkeley in 1970, he worked as a Head Start teacher for three years, and then he decided to enroll in medical school. His grueling schedule meant there wasn’t any time left to practice until his residency at Baylor University in Houston.
“The nice thing about a musical instrument is you don’t need anything except a few moments [to practice] or small periods of time,” Dr. Goldberg says. “A guitar is always willing to be [played].”
Some of his bands have had seriously weird names. While at Baylor, one was called Donkeys from Mars. “It just came out of the blue,” he says. During the early 1980s, he was also a guitarist for The Apologetics. But the band had nothing to apologize for since it played steady gigs, mainly at parties and weddings throughout Houston.
In 1984, Dr. Goldberg moved to Marshfield. Through word of mouth, he formed a new band called The Pointless Brothers.
Although the band has had multiple incarnations and different band members throughout its life, the name stuck and has been used for almost 30 years, he says, adding that band members now include a lab manager, businessman and techie. Sometimes, a medical assistant joins the band as lead singer.
Dr. Goldberg is naturally gifted, having only received one guitar lesson and one voice lesson in his entire life. He considers himself a competent, semi-amateur guitarist.