LAKEWOOD RANCH — The two doctors and former bandmates had lost touch, but a reunion seemed inevitable.
“We’re like scar tissue — the band that links together in the organs that’s not easily removed,” Herb Pegues II says of himself and fellow East County resident Jeff Ellis, with whom he hadn’t played music for 40 years — until now.
The duo met at Grinnell College in Iowa, when Pegues jumped onto the stage, crashing a rehearsal of Ellis’ college band, The Sheratons, and started playing the saxophone.
“I forced my way in,” Pegues said.
It was the only band on campus and Pegues wanted to meet girls — a theory the family-practice doctor at Lakewood Ranch Medical Center had proved legitimate at his high school prom.
“I had no date when I performed at prom,” Pegues said. “(But) I had a few dates afterward.”
Pegues joined Ellis’ band, and they performed at bars and frat houses. The aspiring doctors needed a respite, and music provided it.
“It was a good way to treat ADHD, if such a term had existed at the time,” Pegues said.
After Grinnell, the two reconnected at University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago.
“I was walking around and I see Herb and I say, ‘What the hell are you doing here?’” said Ellis, a retired OB/GYN who still delivers babies. “I never saw him again.”
They reunited again by accident in August.
Ellis saw an ad for Pegues’ medical practice in the East County Observer.
“I saw his smiling face,” Ellis said. “He looked so damn young. I thought it was his son. They must have done some air brushing.”
Ellis, who still has his collection of 1960s instruments but had unofficially retired from music after college, Googled his old bandmate.
His wife, Joani, hatched a plan. She phoned Pegues at work.
“I’m thinking it’s a patient,” Pegues said. “I’m amazed — floored — when I hear who it is. I thought it was a prank.”
Joani Ellis invited Pegues to the Ellises’ five-year wedding anniversary dinner as a surprise guest.
More than 40 years later, Pegues crashed the scene again.
It didn’t take long for Pegues and Ellis to decide to play music together again.
Pegues, formally trained in saxophone since the age of 9, had stayed tuned in with music during his medical career, playing now and again.
He knew Steven Weinreb, a professional keyboard player, who had returned to music after retiring from a career as a podiatrist.
Pegues and Weinreb performed in 2010 in Doctor Idol, a competition at the Sarasota Hyatt Regency that requires bands to include at least one doctor.
“What’s different about us, being older, is we started doing it, and we all gave it a go and went pretty hard at it,” said Weinreb. “But then we stopped. We never had a chance to burn out. So, we’re still pumped. The only difference now is our parents aren’t outside waiting in a station wagon.”
Once a week since early October, the trio and their five bandmates, including four female singers and a drummer, have piled into a small studio at the Guitar Center at Cooper Creek. The band, known as The Adhesions, is practicing for Doctor Idol, which will take place Oct. 25.
As they rehearse, Ellis and Pegues tap their feet to songs such as “Get Ready” by The Temptations and “The Loco-Motion.”
In the background, behind the singers who dominate the room, the doctors meet eyes every so often.
“We’re thinking, ‘I can’t believe we’re doing this again,’” Ellis said.
Contact Josh Siegel at firstname.lastname@example.org