The Arts

Paging Doctor Rock! Stony Brook ELIH docs will rock socks at Greenport Harbor Friday

When a young Lawrence Schiff realized rock stardom was not quite in his stars, he turned to his fallback: studying medicine.

“I took up drums when I was 13 and I was a very poor, unrefined student,” he said. “I quit about 10 minutes before my drum instructor was going to fire me as a student because I wasn’t listening to him, and essentially was self taught after that … Academics [were] probably a better route than becoming a rock star drummer.”

Even after years of study and success in his profession, Dr. Schiff, now chief of emergency medicine at Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenort, refused to let his musical muscles atrophy. He and fellow ER colleague Dr. Ryan Zapata, a guitarist, have enjoyed jamming with one another ever since they met more than two decades ago as residents at Northwell Health’s Long Island Jewish Medical Center. Their band, POC — or  Products of Conception — which also includes SBELIH nurse anesthetist and vocalist John Fuzio and Andy Jepson on bass, will perform rock hits from various decades at Greenport Harbor Brewing Co.’s Peconic location Friday, April 12, at 4 p.m. The event, dubbed Rock and Brew, will raise funds for the Greenport hospital.

Their audience can expect to hear classics from Led Zeppelin, Van Halen,  Rush and Nirvana. Dr. Schiff listed “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Ace Frehley’s rendition of “New York Groove” and Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” as his favorite tunes to play live.

The Rock and Brew performance is far from POC’s first fundraising gig. They have volunteered their time and talent for various hospital fundraisers since the 2017 “Docs Who Rock” benefit for Stony Brook University Cancer Center’s bone marrow transplant unit.

“We seem to have a little cult following, mainly hospital people,” Dr. Schiff said. “This makes us feel proud and emboldened to get the band together.”

In the past, Dr. Schiff noted, the funds he and his bandmates raised have allowed SBELIH to purchase much-needed equipment. While he said he is not sure how the hospital will use the money from Friday’s concert, he said it really doesn’t matter. The doctor, who said he and Dr. Zapata never envisioned fusing their shared  passion with their medical professions, is just happy to beat his drums for a good cause.

“I like to say I play for my pleasure and other people’s sufferings. That’s how I was brought up playing drums since I was a kid,” he said. “But nowadays, almost every time we play out, it is for a community, hospital, charity event … We just show up with our stuff, we play and hopefully have a good time.”

Tickets for the Rock and Brew event to benefit Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital are available for $30 through