Local practitioner is the rock doc
Dr. Nathalie Boudreau doesn’t practice “Bad Medicine.”
But she does sing the Bon Jovi tune.
Five days a week Boudreau is a family practitioner at the ForeMed Clinic on Columbia Street in New Westminster.
On weekends though, she swaps out her black scrubs for black jeans and teases her hair up high as the lead singer and keyboardist for Arena, a Burnaby classic rock band that covers iconic anthems by the likes of Bon Jovi, Van Halen, Foreigner, Ratt, Ozzy Osbourne, and, of course, KISS.
“If it’s fun and it’s ever been played in an arena in the ’80’s, we play it,” says Boudreau.
“It’s about having a good time.”
It’s also about letting off a little steam and unwinding from the demands of the busy clinic, where she’s been for four years.
Growing up in a French-Canadian family, surrounded by music, Boudreau busked her way through medical school, playing everything from traditional French songs, to folk to obscure covers.
For a class project, she even wrote an album of songs based on her experiences at med school.
It was a great relief, she says, “to take a break from studying to scream and sing in my room.”
While serving her residency in Calgary, she joined a series of bands and played solo shows.
She hooked up with Arena a year ago.
The group plays at parties, weddings and casinos. On Sunday, Aug. 5, they’ll be playing a fundraiser at the Burnaby Firefighters Club for Covenant House.
In the past, they’ve helped support the Royal Canadian Legion South Burnaby Branch #83 and Progressive Housing Society.
That spirit of giving back is something members of the band gleaned from their own experiences with big-time musicians like Juno winner Big Dave McLean, Phil Collen of Def Leppard and Sammy Hagar of Van Halen.
Boudreau has traded guitar licks with Roger Daltrey, Joe Walsh, and Megadeth’s Dave Ellefson at rock ‘n roll fantasy camps in Las Vegas.
“When you connect to people musically, you feel normal,” says Boudreau. “You get to know each other, you start to relate, it becomes almost like a family.”
Most of Boudreau’s patients don’t know about her rocker alter-ego, although she doesn’t look like the stereotypical image of a doctor; she wears black, her fingers and wrist are weighed by thick, chunky jewelry, she keeps her dark prescription sunglasses on even inside. And she’s been known to cut loose with a song in the hallway between patients. The better to drown out the clinic’s soothing contemporary background music.
Tickets for Arena’s show at the Firefighters Club are $10.00. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. For more information go to www.arenaroxx.com.