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A Passion Reignited 

The Ottawa Citizen - Lynn Saxberg
31/01/10

Music was one of several things that Ron Weiss explored after dropping out of high school. He took it seriously for a couple of years, playing guitar and piano for hours each day. The instruments were put aside when he decided to go to university as a mature student.

A couple of decades later, he's now Dr. Weiss, Ottawa's renowned vasectomy doctor, proprietor of a thriving practice. But he's also rekindled his dream of bringing his own songs to life, in the studio and on stage. Recording is under way and a band has been assembled. They play Irene's tonight.

"It just kinda happened gradually and I decided this is a priority now," Weiss said during an interview in a consultation room in his clinic. "I have security and I have a day job and so I can devote a little more time for it."

And let's not dismiss this flurry of creative activity as a mid-life crisis. The 53-year-old doc admits there was a mid-life crisis, but it happened more than a decade ago.

"I would say about 13 or 14 years ago, I really felt I had to get back into music," Weiss says. "I felt there was something missing. I still had young kids so I bought an electric piano so I could put on headphones and I wouldn't wake anybody."

His first songwriting efforts resulted in Cuban-inspired instrumental pieces. More recently, he's also been working on lyrics, matching them up to breezy pop-rock melodies.

Weiss says his musical influences range from Motown to Tchaikovsky, along with ample exposure to boogie-woogie, courtesy of his grandfather's collection of 78s.

Many of Weiss's songs are inspired by his wife, Debbie, who also works in the office as a receptionist. The couple has three grown children. "I'm very in love with my wife," Weiss says. "We've been married for 30 years this year and a lot of my songs are love songs."

Last fall, Weiss performed two of his love songs at their daughter's wedding. Inspired by a dream he had one night, he sang with a gospel ensemble and a harpist. The ensemble, made up of eight members of the Big Soul Project, and the harpist, 15-year-old Natasha Chander, are also expected to join Weiss and his band at Irene's tonight.

 


The gig is a warm-up for a big year for the Doc Weiss Band. The album will come out in the spring and a CD-

release party is booked for May. While distribution and/or publishing deals would be nice, one of Weiss's immediate goals is to land a gig at Bluesfest.

Further down the road, he'd love to sell songs to other artists. "I don't think of myself as a rock star or a touring musician," he says. "If by some miracle, it happened that I would gain a wider audience, that would be wonderful but, more realistically, I would love to sell my music. I would love to have others play my songs."

As for the wisdom of trying to launch a career in the music business when one is well past their youth, Weiss had a revelation when he saw folk-rock legend James Taylor perform at Bluesfest a couple of years back.

"I just see a guy on stage who's playing and it's just this pure beautiful stuff," Weiss says.

It made him realize that his music would probably appeal to the same baby-boomer demographic. "My audience is not the 17-year-olds," he added.




Music Up Close

Skopemag.com
August/2010

...And in this friendly corner is docweissband from Ottawa, Ontario. Fronted by singer/songwriter and fingerstyle guitarist Ron Weiss, docweissband brings a James Taylor folk sound combined with some funk and Latin influences. Their new CD, Different Point Of View, is the perfect vehicle for Weiss’ original songs. He’s supported by drummer Gleb Sturov, bass man Mike Liepe, Jim Mattson on electric guitar, and backup singer Maya Ethier, who’s opened for Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and many other national acts. Weiss’ songs are sensitive and timely but with that light touch that James Taylor had. Check out his recording, Different Point Of View, that came out this year.



Greenfield's Pub Rocks 

Jeffrey Morris
...docweissband bring their blend of R & B and...rock to give Barrhaven a great show.  ...Ron Weiss brought his James Taylor-influenced style to the Greenfield's stage...

 

Local Doc Plays Local Club 
THE GLEBE REPORT 13/03/09
By Claire Biddiscombe

The first thing that leaps out at you when you walk into Ron Weiss’s living room is the grand piano. The
gleaming black Yamaha takes up one whole corner of the room, smacking you upside the head with the musicality of the house’s occupants.
Weiss plays, as do his wife and son.

But if you see him making music in public, he’s much more likely to have a guitar in his hands. Weiss, 52, is the founder and driving force of the docweissband, a group of four Ottawa professionals who got together last year to play original music written by Weiss himself. The band had their first show at Humphrey’s on Bank in December, and their next appearance is scheduled for the beginning of April.

Weiss taught himself how to play guitar at age 16. At the age of 19, he practiced classical guitar and piano seriously for a year, but realized that,
ultimately, music was not a career that would fit well with other things he aspired to in life. “On reflection, and after meeting the woman who is now my wife, Debbie, I didn’t think of music as a stable career path for somebody who really wanted a family, and my priority was having a family. So that came first,” Weiss said.

Music went on the backburner for a while, while he focused on his family and his medical practice. He moved to the Glebe from the Alta Vista area
in 1997, and set up an office in the basement of his home at the corner of Bank and Clemow. Recently, he performed his 25,000th vasectomy in that office. He has pioneered a method of performing the procedure that requires neither a needle nor a
scalpel. “Men are chickens,” he said.
“So the less scary stuff around, the better.”
The Ottawa Citizen recently dubbed him the “vasectomy king” and he says he has performed the procedure more often than anyone else in the Western world. “It became very popular very quickly,” he said. “I began as a family doctor, but
it kind of overwhelmed that practice and eventually that became most of what I do.” A few years ago, though, his wife gave him an unexpected present: an envelope containing enough money to buy a guitar. Weiss worked by himself for a while, and also attended a weekend workshop at the Cannington,


 

ON home of Canadian guitarist Don Ross. Slowly, he got up the nerve to play in front of other people,
by appearing at Rasputin’s on Bronson. “You can’t imagine a friendlier place than Rasputin’s,” he said. “You go into the place, people who have no clue who you are say ‘Hi, how are you?’ You know, engage you in conversation. And then you get up on this little stage in front of the 25 people who can fit in the place…and you play a couple of songs.” “And it terrified me. I would shake and sweat before I did it, each time. And it just took doing it over and
over and over again before I could
get comfortable.” Several years back, he made a New Year’s resolution to form a band. After some searching, the doctor found three engineers to join him in his musical endeavour: electric guitarist Jim Mattson, bassist Mike Leipe and drummer Gleb Sturov.

The quartet has been practicing intensively for the past year, committing to getting together at least once a week. They don’t perform covers, only original music written by Weiss. “We don’t play other people’s music and never wanted to,” Weiss said. He says that it can be a challenge to introduce new material and attract attention once you’re beyond a certain age, but the Internet has changed
the way music is distributed and allows artists to attract audiences from around the world. But Ottawa might be good enough for now. Docweissband will play their next show Apr. 4 at 8 p.m. at Humphrey’s on Bank. You can find them online at http:// myspace.com/docweissband





Doctor by day, composer and bandleader by night 

 
Ottawa Jewish Bulletin 08/03/10
By Benita Baker

If you are already a member of the growing legion of docweissband fans, then you are probably already humming along to the band’s catchy folk/rock original songs, written and sung by band leader Dr. Ron Weiss. Isn’t that the vasectomy doctor, you may be asking? It is indeed. The doctor who pioneered the no-scalpel vasectomy in Canada is also an accomplished singer, songwriter and musician.

We have all heard stories of struggling musicians who are forced to take a second job to support themselves. Well, here’s a twist. A dedicated classical piano and guitar player in his youth, Weiss’ back-up plan to pay the rent was to become a doctor.

The demands of medical school, marriage, a growing family (he had two children by the time he entered his final year of med school) as well as a burgeoning medical practice, left little time left for music. The would-be musician did not play an instrument for fifteen years.
“There was a gaping hole,” said Weiss about this music-less period.

That all changed when his wife Debbie, who was off to chaperone a March of the Living trip to Poland and Israel, handed Weiss an envelope of money and said, ‘Please use this to buy a guitar.’
Debbie would once again ignite his musical creativity when, in 2005, her birthday gift to her husband was a surprise trip to Cuba, a country renowned for its jazz music and high calibre musicians. In the courtyard of the historic Hotel Nacional in Havana, Weiss struck up a friendship (pre-arranged by Debbie) with a jazz guitarist and other members of his band. This led to a return visit to Cuba the following year to work with these musicians in a studio, recording some of Weiss’ Latin-inspired instrumental songs.

The docweissband formed two years ago when 53 year old Weiss hooked up with Mike Leipe (bass), Jim Mattson (electric guitar), Gleb Sturov (drums) and Maya Ethier (vocals). They only began performing publically last year, doing shows at local venues. Their set list is composed entirely of original music created by Weiss. They do not sing cover versions of songs written by other artists.
The band is set to release its first CD in May and has set its sights on performing at Bluesfest this summer. “Playing at Bluesfest means exposure for the band,” said Weiss. “It is a huge opportunity for people to hear us and for us to meet other musicians. It is also an affirmation. It is so much more meaningful to share with others what I have written.”

To prove their credibility and popularity to Bluesfest organizers, the musicians enlisted their fans to sign up on the band’s facebook page. Over 300 supporters signed up within 72 hours. That is no guarantee of a booking at the summer festival but it is a definite sign that that band has a loyal following.




 

drummer

This past fall, Weiss gave what is surely his most cherished performance when he sang two love songs at his daughter Jessica’s wedding. Although the bride and groom were aware that Weiss was intending to serenade them, what they did not expect was that he would be backed up by an 8 woman gospel choir.

“They were special women with tremendous enthusiasm who love music and who loved the idea of backing up a dad singing at his daughter’s wedding,” he said. “Jess loved the surprise.”
Weiss’ creative muse is his wife of 30 years, Debbie, who is the inspiration for his love songs. His long list of musical influences range from Aretha Franklin to Jimi Hendrix with some jazz, folk, rock, country and pop thrown in for good measure.
If he could choose one artist overall to play his songs it would be James Taylor, who Weiss not only sounds like but also looks like. That dream may not be so farfetched. Last year, one of Weiss’ songs received an ‘honourable mention’ for ‘notable songwriting achievement’ in the Songwars competition created by founding member of The Moody Blues, Mike Pinder.

So what does the future hold in store for the docweissband? Would Weiss give up his flourishing medical practice to become a rock star? “My goal is to sell my music,” said Weiss. “It would be wonderful to have other artists perform my songs.”

 


contact: ron@ronweissmusic.com

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