Bandmates of slain Brigham and Women’s surgeon remember their friend with concert

Michael Davidson
Michael Davidson –Courtesy of Tildy Banker-Johnson

Between sets at the last show Dr. Michael Davidson played with his band, he went over to the parents of one of his bandmates. They’d traveled from Western Massachusetts to see their son, Tony Callini, play drums with the group. They hadn’t seen him play for years.

Davidson introduced himself and told Callini’s parents what a pleasure it was to have their son in the band before going over to his own family.

Callini didn’t think much of it at the time, but the memory has stuck with him since Davidson was killed while working at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in January.

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“That was kind of the guy Mike was,’’ Callini said. “It was the little things that he did that ended up having an impact.’’

On Saturday, September 26, Davidson’s band Off Label will perform at the Paradise Rock Club in honor of their bandmate. Two other bands that were close to Davidson — Rod the Long Bone, a band made up of Davidson’s Brigham and Women’s colleagues, and Grounds for Divorce, a band from Davidson’s town of Wellesley — also will perform at the event.

The event, “Rock Like Mike,’’ will feature live and silent auctions, with ticket sales and proceeds going to the the Dr. Michael J. Davidson Family Fund to help support Davidson’s four children and wife, Dr. Terri Halperin. WBZ anchor David Wade will emcee the evening, which begins at 7 p.m.

The name, and theme, for the night was adapted from the eulogy given for Davidson by Andrew Eisenhauer that moving forward, everyone should strive to “Be like Mike.’’

Davidson, a talented cardiac surgeon, had a range of passions from fly fishing to guitar, managing to excel at all of them.

“The message of the night is going to be do more, be more, challenge yourself, think outside the box,’’ said Dr. Shira Doron, the lead singer of Off Label and physician at Tufts Medical Center.

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Doron said planning for the musical tribute began a few months ago and that the outpouring of support so far has been amazing. Longtime friends of Davidson’s will match all donations during the evening up to $10,000.

From left: Tony Callini, Michael Davidson, and Roger Fielding. —Courtesy of Shira Doron

“Mike just absolutely loved music, and as a cardiac surgeon, you really didn’t have time to be doing it, yet he made the time,’’ Doron said.

Davidson had been with the band, which practiced Sunday evenings, about four years. He was brought in by another band member, even though the group already had a guitarist.

“Of course we fell in love with him as everybody does when they meet Mike,’’ Doron said. “He was an unbelievable guitar player, and as it turns out, had never taken a lesson. As with everything else in his life, he challenged himself, he learned it, and he excelled at it.’’

Callini, who joined the band about two and a half years ago, said for all members of the band, the Sunday night practices were a chance for everyone to step away from their busy lives and do something they all had a passion for.

Doron and Callini said Davidson would always have a way to be goofy and lighten the mood, reminding his bandmates they were there to have fun and play music.

Davidson was an inspiration for the rest of group, Callini said.

“It was just a huge hole when he left, and initially it was hard for a lot of us to pick the instruments back up,’’ he said. “But we also found that that was a way of healing as well and a way for us to remember him.’’

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Some of the songs Davidson was great at playing, or brought into the band’s repertoire, were especially tough to play. They’ll play a revamped version of John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom’’ on Saturday, one of their friend’s favorites.

But there are other songs, like Tom Petty’s “American Girl,’’ they have retired.

“That was kind of his signature song, so that’s one of the ones that we’ve decided to hang up,’’ Callini said.

Tickets and the items up for sale at the event’s silent auction are available on the event website.

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