The doctor-patient bond can be a powerful relationship — especially when the patient is Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl and the doctor is renowned Baltimore orthopedic surgeon Lew Schon.
After Grohl broke his ankle in Sweden during the summer of 2015, Schon monitored his recovery in the States, starting with a festival at RFK Stadium. The doctor and his family spent the day getting to know Grohl and the band — and then, the rock star invited his doctor to sing with the band.
On Sunday night, Schon reprised the 2015 concert with a performance in Boston’s Fenway Park.
“The Fenway fans were exceptionally welcoming,” Schon said. “Some of them recognized me from my first performance. When I went on stage, I felt some familiarity.”
While Schon is highly regarded professionally, the 2015 performance brought media attention to his musical talents: Schon sings, plays the keyboard and blows the shofar at his synagogue. In 2015, he sang the White Stripes’ “7 Nation Army.” On Sunday, he joined the band for “Blitzkrieg Bop,” a Ramones song and a favorite of Grohl and Foo Fighters’ guitarist Pat Smear.
“I really love the Ramones,” Schon said. “They represented kind of the beginnings of the punk movement in the U.S. It’s a fun song that’s high energy.”
Four of Schon’s five sons were in Boston to see the performance. Schon’s wife and sons are all musically inclined. His father was a singing dentist, and his mother was a visual artist.
Schon’s son Jeremy, of Baltimore band Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, helped pick out “Blitzkrieg Bop” and was invited backstage for a jam session with the band and Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh. Lew Schon called it “a magical moment.”
“I knew the venue and the guys and felt comfortable with them,” he said. “It was totally a reunion. Dave has been a wonderful, supportive human being.”
Through the experience, Schon said he has been able to shine light on the diverse interests of doctors and the medical community.
“We’re not just people who care and do surgery. We have other talents,” Schon. “We’re multi-dimensional folks.”
Schon has practiced magic since he was 10 years old. Music, animation, photography and skiing are just some of Schon’s passions when he’s not mentoring local medical and bioengineering students and treating feet and ankles at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, where he performs with a hospital band The Stimulators.
Schon is also an inventor: His patents include an artificial ankle.
Although he loves performing, Schon said he wants to be remembered as a doctor. Whether it’s a plate of cookies or an invitation to rock, Schon said treating patients has always brought him good karma.
“Doing good things for patients has rewards — this might be an unusual reward — but it’s been a very fulfilling career for me,” he said. “This is just one example.”